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Mapping School Children’s perceptions of Environment: A case of elementary schools in Nakuru District, Kenya.

Mutesi, Lena (2009) Mapping School Children’s perceptions of Environment: A case of elementary schools in Nakuru District, Kenya.

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Abstract:The aim of this study was to investigate schoolchildren’s perceptions of environment to see if a mapping culture can be introduced in elementary schools. Participatory mapping was used to derive schoolchildren’s knowledge about the environment in Nakuru District, Kenya. Children’s perceptions of environment were extracted from sketch maps of good and bad environments. These were used to investigate schoolchildren’s perceptions of environment in relation to the environmental problems in the area. The Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used to determine whether or not there are differences between schoolchildren’s environmental perceptions from the different schools. The children’s environmental perceptions extracted from their sketch maps reflect an interaction between children’s mental representations and the environments to which they are exposed. The test statistic (Ws) from Wilcoxon rank-sum test resulted into rural group obtaining the smaller summed rank (Ws=754.7). The environmental perceptions based on sketch maps of a bad environment provided the urban group with the smaller summed rank (Ws=570.5). Basing on the sketch maps, schoolchildren’s perceptions show a relation to some environmental problems that are located near their schools, homes and in areas outside the study area. Some of these problems can be differentiated among schoolchildren from different schools but some positive environmental perceptions are common to all. This research indicates that participatory mapping has the potential of being an integral part of teaching, particularly for the environmental educators. Knowledge about the environment based on schoolchildren’s maps can be analyzed and even monitored by the environmental educators in search for children’s progress on understanding the environment. Key words: Environment, environmental education, schoolchildren, perceptions, participatory mapping, elementary schools.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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