Environmental education for air quality: evaluation for best practice
Baudains, C. and Sommerford, K. (2007) Environmental education for air quality: evaluation for best practice. In: 14th IUAPPA World Congress, 9 - 13 September, Brisbane, Queensland.
As recognition of air quality as a global problem continues to grow, so too does the importance of education as an air quality management tool. A range of environmental education programs exist which aim to address air quality issues, raise awareness and influence behaviour, yet best practice in this field has not yet been clearly defined. A range of key elements that contribute to effective environmental education with a focus on air quality education programs can be identified in the literature. These elements are considered in the context of a case study evaluation of the Department of Environment and Conservation (WA) AirWatch program. A mixed qualitative and quantitative methodology is used to examine the effectiveness of this long running air quality education program for primary and secondary schools. Pre-program survey data highlights a very low knowledge of air quality issues in both primary and secondary students despite very positive attitudes. Preliminary results indicate the program achieves an increase in the use of carpooling and public transport, and participants benefit from being involved in practical and hands-on learning relevant to everyday real world issues. However, the results also identify that clearer links between the program goals and the education strategies used would benefit the achievement of positive knowledge, attitude and behavioural outcomes. This has implications for the development and implementation of education as an air quality management tool. Definition of best practice, including effective ongoing evaluation practices has the potential to contribute to protection of air quality values.
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|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Environmental Science|
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