Petra Bezeljak


Environmental Education in Austrian Middle Schools: Analyzing students' environmental interest, attitudes, knowledge and connectednes with nature

PhD Student
Advisor: Andrea Möller

AECC Biology 


Studies demonstrated that direct nature experiences have a positive influence on preadolescences’ pro-environmental behavior. However, most studies conducted in the school context describe only effects of short-term interventions. This study explored the possible impact of a 3-year teaching intervention with direct nature experience on middle school students. We investigated 1) how environmental attitudes, interests and knowledge possibly progress, 2) whether there is a correlation between environmental knowledge, interests and attitudes and if yes, how they influence each other and 3) whether personal background, such as parents' education and cultural background impact the development of environmental attitudes, interests and progress of environmental knowledge. The intervention study with 4 data collection points (T0-T3) was conducted with 370 middle school students starting grade 6. The questionnaire included items from known scales, i. e. the “Major Environmental Values-2-Model”, “Inclusion of Nature in One Self (INS)”, and “Children’s Environmental Attitudes Knowledge Scale (CHEAKS) (CHEAKS)”. Results of the pre-test (T0) show positive attitudes toward nature but lack of general environmental knowledge. Results of T1 already indicates significant changes, depending on several factors. Data (T0-T4) will be presented in detail at the Seminar and discussed in reference to environmental education programs.