Committee Chair

Bernard, Hinsdale

Committee Member

Miller, Ted L.; Rausch, David; Wilson, Thomas P.

Department

Dept. of Education

College

College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

The impact of transformational leadership, experiential learning, and reflective journaling on the conservation ethic of non-science majors in a general education survey course was investigated. The main research questions were: (1) Is the Conservation of Biodiversity professor a transformational leader? (2) Is there a difference in the conservation ethic of non-science majors at the beginning of the semester versus the end, within and between lecture and field groups? During fall 2012, students could attend lecture and take a traditional final or attend lecture, assist with a real-life amphibian monitoring project, and in lieu of the traditional final, keep a reflective journal. A pre-test/post-test survey designed to measure strength of conservation ethic and empathy was utilized. Using paired-samples t-tests, it was determined that for the lecture-only group the mean total ethic score after the lecture experience was not significantly greater than the mean total ethic score before the lecture experience, nor was empathy. However, for the lecture-field group, the mean total ethic score after the lecture -field experience was greater than the mean total ethic score before the lecture-field experience. The lecture-field group also reported a significant increase in empathy for salamanders, the only amphibian listed on the survey, while the lecture-only group did not. Using an independent-samples t-test on a stratified sample, it was also determined that there was no significant difference in conservation ethic between the lecture-only group and the lecture-field group at the end of the Conservation of Biodiversity experience. Analysis of the journals revealed 22 students had reflected critically, 14 had reflected, and 6 had not reflected. Recurring journal themes included confronting fear, recognition of life’s interconnectedness, the importance of small changes, the importance of educating others, and evidence of true empathy. During structured interviews, it was determined that transformational leadership and experiential learning did impact student conservation ethic. Students reported that reflective journaling had a lesser impact. It appears that transformational leadership and experiential learning in conjunction with reflective journaling are powerful tools that environmental educators may be able to use to positively impact student conservation ethic.

Degree

Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.

Date

12-2013

Subject

Experiential learning; Active learning; Diaries -- Authorship

Discipline

Educational Leadership

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations

Extent

xii, 161 leaves

Language

English

Rights

Under copyright.

License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

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