Exploring the influence of sociopolitical context on environmental education field trip effectiveness for adolescent youth in the United States

dc.contributor.authorThorpe, Emily Graceen
dc.contributor.committeechairStern, Marc J.en
dc.contributor.committeememberBell, Shannon Elizabethen
dc.contributor.committeememberPowell, Robert B.en
dc.contributor.departmentForest Resources and Environmental Conservationen
dc.date.accessioned2022-05-25T08:00:46Zen
dc.date.available2022-05-25T08:00:46Zen
dc.date.issued2022-05-24en
dc.description.abstractEnvironmental education (EE) programs strive to develop an environmentally literate citizenry capable of addressing the world's environmental problems. However, environmental concerns have become increasingly politically polarizing. As middle school-age youth are developing their own identities, they are likely becoming aware of the dominant political attitudes and environmental messages within their own communities. This thesis investigates the influence of sociopolitical context on student learning outcomes following participation in EE field trips and whether particular approaches produce more positive learning outcomes for students from different contexts. We used a quantitative approach employing pre-existing databases and geographic information systems to create measures of sociopolitical context for each school in our sample based on political partisanship and socioeconomic status. I have organized my research in three chapters: Chapter 1 presents a more comprehensive introduction to the field of EE and extended literature review regarding the question this research intends to address. Chapter 2 presents a quantitative study exploring the influence of sociopolitical context on student outcomes following participation in an EE field trip. Chapter 3 presents a reflection of my graduate learning experience and what I hope to achieve in the future. Results suggest that EE field experiences lead to less positive outcomes for students from wealthier Democratic contexts. While we also found some differences in program characteristics associated with outcomes for each sociopolitical subgroup, effect sizes were small and thus warrant further investigation. We discuss potential explanations for these trends and call for further research on the influence of sociopolitical context and socioeconomic status with relation to EE.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralEnvironmental education (EE) programs strive to develop an environmentally literate future citizenry capable of addressing the world's most pressing environmental problems. However, these environmental concerns have becoming increasingly political polarized in recent decades. As adolescence is a critical period for identity development, middle school-age youth are likely aware of the political attitudes and environmental messages that dominate within their own communities. This thesis investigates the influence of sociopolitical context on student learning outcomes following participation in EE field trips and whether particular approaches to EE produce more positive learning outcomes for students from these different contexts. We used a quantitative approach employing pre-existing databases and geographic information systems to create measures of sociopolitical context for each school in our sample based on the political partisanship of a particular geographic area, as well as its interaction with socioeconomic status. Results suggest that EE field experiences lead to less positive outcomes for students from wealthier Democratic contexts; however, the authors call for further research on which approaches lead to better outcomes for students from different contexts.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
dc.format.mediumETDen
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:34426en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/110318en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/en
dc.subjectEnvironmental educationen
dc.subjectfield tripsen
dc.subjectstudent outcomesen
dc.subjectsociopolitical contexten
dc.subjectpolitical polarizationen
dc.subjectpolitical socializationen
dc.titleExploring the influence of sociopolitical context on environmental education field trip effectiveness for adolescent youth in the United Statesen
dc.typeThesisen
thesis.degree.disciplineForestryen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Scienceen
Files
Original bundle
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Name:
Thorpe_EG_T_2022.pdf
Size:
2.07 MB
Format:
Adobe Portable Document Format
Collections