Page: 198-219 Author: KVASNIČÁK, R. Key words: teaching experience in field, knowledge, retention tests, ecosystem, biotic environmental components, abiotic environmental components, relationships of food
The research project presented was intended to find out how experimental teaching in the field affects pupils’ knowledge of the ecosystem. Most studies on this thematic area have investigated the relatively long-term effects of informal education on ideas and knowledge. By contrast, our research project seeks to discover how short-term experience (five days) affects pupils’ knowledge of ecology. The durability, structure and depth of understanding of ecological knowledge in selected experimental groups of pupils were tested by various measuring tools (conceptual assignment, two-level test, and a test with free answer) that are highly reliable (Cronbach alpha > 0.8). Unlike other research projects, our research included retention tests of the knowledge of ecology conducted two and four months after the learning experience in the field. The sample respondents were the pupils of an experimental group (n1 = 227) participating in experimental teaching, and the pupils of a control group (n2 = 263) whose knowledge of the eco-system was only acquired at school. The knowledge as measured in the post-tests and the retention tests differed significantly between the two groups. The location of the schools in the town out he countryside also turned out to make a significant difference. The research results clearly indicate the formation of a short-term effect on pupils’ knowledge of the ecosystem gained on the basis of their own experiences in the conditions of nature.
PaedDr. Radoslav Kvasničák, Ph.D., Trnava University in Trnava, Faculty of Education, Department of Biology, Priemyselná 4, P. O. Box 9, 918 43 Trnava, Slovak Republic; e-mail: email@example.com