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Indo-Bhutan International Conference On Gross National Happiness Pages: 177-180

Vol 02, October 2013

Ecopsychology in Relationship between School Students and the Natural World M. Raja1, D. Carol, K. Mary Stella, A. Anthonyraj and M. Muthulakshmi P.G and Research Department of Advanced Zoology and Biotechnology Loyola College, Chennai - 34. 1 Corresponding author: loyo_raja2003@yahoo.co.in Abstract Ecopsychology studies the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles. The field seeks to develop and understand ways of expanding the emotional connection between individuals and the natural world, thereby assisting individuals with developing sustainable lifestyles and remedying alienation from nature. We describe specific

examples using a pedagogical framework for helping School students to engage, explore, explain, and elaborate the psychology behind nature. This approach should better prepare students with an understanding that ecological knowledge must be integrated with solutions that address psychological barriers if efforts to alter behavior related to nature world are to succeed. Keywords: Ecopsychology, School students, Natural world. 1.Introduction Ecopsychology studies the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles. The scientific study of 'mind' and behavior (mental and behavioral processes) both in individuals and in groups (B.E.S., 2009). This subfield extends beyond the traditional built environment of psychology in order to examine why people continue environmentally damaging behavior, and to develop methods of positive motivation for adopting sustainable practices. Evidence suggests that many environmentally damaging behaviors are addictive at some level, and thus are more effectively addressed through positive emotional fulfillment rather than by inflicting shame. The main premise of ecopsychology is that while today the human mind is shaped by the modern social world, it is adapted to the natural environment in which it evolved. According to the biophilia hypothesis of biologist E.O. Wilson, human beings have an innate instinct to connect emotionally with nature, particularly the aspects of nature that recall what evolutionary psychologists have International Journal of Business Intelligents (IJBI) www.ijbui.com

termed the environment of evolutionary adaptiveness, the natural conditions that the human species evolved to inhabit. Ecopsychology has been mostly a humanistic, hard to test construction of 'relations' or 'connections' to the 'natural world‘ (ConesaSevilla, 2010). When it comes to phrases that could become verifiable constructs, such as 'nature connection', or “Nature Deficit Disorder” (Louv, 2005) we enter the land of the conveniently fuzzy. This characterization may seem harsh coming from an ecopsychology sympathizer (Metzer, 1999). However, given this lack of scientific rigor, it seems that ecopsychologists are mostly content with becoming another mystical enterprise. The field seeks to develop and understand ways of expanding the emotional connection between individuals and the natural world, thereby assisting individuals with developing sustainable lifestyles and remedying alienation from nature. Psychosocial Health Factors Influencing Psychosocial Health • External Factors That Influence Psychosocial Health 177


Indo-Bhutan International Conference On Gross National Happiness Pages: 177-180 – –

Family The wider environment Social bonds

Internal Factors That Psychosocial Health – Heredity – Hormonal function – Physical fitness

Influence

Mind-Body Connection • Happiness: A Key to Well-being • Three components of subjective well-being (SWB) – Satisfaction with present life – Relative presence of positive emotions – Relative absence of negative emotions The present study is to understand the relationship between the school students and nature world among the Chennai city school students of both urban and rural background. 2.

Materials

and

Methods

Sampling

design: Questionnaire The questionnaire contained a series of 30 questions weighted to check the emotional quotient and intellectual quotient in relation to range of link to nature. Each question contains multiple choices. Type I: Yes or No Type II: Never=1, Rarely =2, Occasionally =3 and very frequently=4 Collection of sample The questions were bilingual (Tamil and English) for better understanding and comprehension. Prepared questionnaire was circulated among the school students in urban areas of Chennai city. The data was collected and analyzed using suitable statistical tools.

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Vol 02, October 2013

Analysis of data The collected data were generated and analyzed through statistical software (SPSS version 11.0) 3. Results and Discussion The results summarize strongly and emphasis that we have found positive associations between physical activity in school and children’s physical fitness, concentration, memory, behavior, and school satisfaction. The findings support and clarify relationship between the academic performance, physical activity and association with nature. Among the population of students, majority(26%-42%) had very strong to strong association with nature and they were very much linked with it by involving in various activities, viz playing in the park, rearing pet animals at home, growing plants at home, visiting their home town( grandparents home with lots of trees). Students enjoyed and were highly motivated by these activities; students demonstrated improved school attitude and achievement; and this also enhanced student bonding, teamwork, and learning opportunities. This was in correlation with Blair reviews research in the U.S. on school gardening and its relationship to children’s learning and behavior. In her review she highlighted why school gardens exist, which include providing children experiences with natural ecosystems, enhancing children’s understanding, helping children develop environmental attitudes and behaviors. (Fig,1,2)

Correlation of exposure nature and level of stress among the students 178


Indo-Bhutan International Conference On Gross National Happiness Pages: 177-180

“Coping with ADD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings,” by Andrea Faber Taylor; Frances E. Kuo; and William C. Sullivan (2001) is one of the earliest studies to explore the potential for contact with nature to have a positive effect in reducing the impact of attention deficit disorder in children. The present study also establishes the hypothesis that greener a child’s everyday environment, the more manageable they are and they experience lower level of stress in general. The results were positive.

The fig3,4 highlight the finding that 1- v. strong association,2- strong association 3.-low to negligible aasociation of Level of stress and Academic performance. A precursor to Nancy Wells’ study reported above, this research, reported in 2000, shows that proximity to, views of, and daily exposure to natural settings increases children’s ability to focus and therefore enhances cognitive abilities.

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Vol 02, October 2013

A classic 1998 study by Dr. Stephen R. Kellert of Yale University, with assistance from Victoria Derr, remains the most comprehensive research to date to examine the effects on teenage youth of participation in outdoor education, specifically wildernessbased programs. Pronounced results were found in enhanced self-esteem, selfconfidence, independence, autonomy and initiative. These impacts occurred among both the retrospective and longitudinal respondents in this study, which means, in part, that these results persisted through many years. Our results indicate that higher the exposure to nature and associated activities, higher is the intellectual and emotional quotient and lower is the level of stress. The students who had higher exposure and connectivity with nature performed well in academics and also were in peaceful co-existence with the people around them. Creativity, physical competence, social skills, environmental knowledge, confidence, and problem-solving ability are among those benefits to children’s development. While this study may be limited due to its cross-sectional 179


Indo-Bhutan International Conference On Gross National Happiness Pages: 177-180 design and focus on school-level information, it provides valuable insight into the benefits of natural views to high school students with implications to developing responsible adults. 4. Conclusion Nature is important to children’s development in every major way-intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically. Play in nature, particularly during the critical period of middle childhood, appears to be an especially important time for developing the capacities for creativity, problem-solving, and emotional and intellectual development. The study indicates optimal learning opportunities at ageappropriate times and differentiates between indirect, vicarious, and direct experiences with nature-with the latter less and less available to children. We urge designers, developers, educators, political leaders and citizens throughout society to make changes in our modern built environments to provide children with positive contact with nature-where children live, play, and learn. 5. References [1] B.E.S. 2009. About the British Ecological Society. Accessed 11 October 2010 fromhttp://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/a bout_bes/ [2] Coley, R. L.,Kuo, F. E., and Sullivan,W. C. 1997. Where does community grow? The social context created by nature in urban

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Vol 02, October 2013

public housing. Environment and Behavior, 29, 468-492. [3] Gale, F. & Vostanis, P. 2003. The Primary Mental Health Worker within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 8( 2): 227240. [4] Herrington, S. 2008. Perspectives from the ground: early childhood educators' perceptions of outdoor play spaces at child care centers. Children, Youth and Environments, 18(2), 6587. [5] Jorge Conesa-Sevilla. 2010. Evolutionary Ecopsychology Journal of Ecopsychology 1: 37-51. [6] Meltzer, H., Gatward, R., Goodman, R. & Ford, T. 2003. Mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain. International review of Psychiatry, 15, 185-187. [7] Schulman, A., & Peters, C. A. 2008. “GIS analysis of urban schoolyard landcover in three U.S. cities.” Urban ecosystems, 11(1), 65-80. [8] Stephen,R and Kellert, R. 1998. children’s contact with the outdoors and nature: a focus on educators and educational settings. Children and nature network. Yale University, pp 1-23. [9] Thompson, C. W., Aspinall, P., & Montarzino, A. 2008. “The childhood factor Adult visits to green places and the significance of childhood experience. “ Environment and behavior, 40(1), 111-143.

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Ecopsychology in Relationship between School Students and the Natural World  

Ecopsychology studies the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles. The field...

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