Associate Professor, PhD I.V. Astrakhantseva1
Postgraduate A.I. Kolensnik1
Dr.Hab., Associate Professor A.V. Nazarenko1
1Ulyanovsk State Pedagogical University named after I.N. Ulyanov, Ulyanovsk
Keywords: ecological and physical education, interrelation, educational experiment.
Background. As demonstrated by theoretical analyses, the modern ecological education is closely interrelated with the physical education since high physical working capacity, good mental/ emotional health and reasonable coping strategies are required for success in the modern environmental activity [1-6].
Objective of the study was to test benefits of the ecological and physical education synergizing model for the academic educational system.
Methods and design of the study. We tested benefits of the ecological and physical education synergizing model by an educational experiment, with the 1-3-year Pedagogical University students (n=63) sampled for the study and split up into Experimental (EG, n=33) and Reference (RG, n=30) Groups. The RG was trained as required by the standard ecological education curriculum; and the EG ecological education was complemented by the environmental-service-specific physical trainings including trekking tours, obstacle races, cross-country race sessions and other specific training tools designed to develop special endurance, service-specific dexterity, vision and accuracy, plus muscle groups centered physical fitness.
The pre-experimental physical fitness of the sample was tested by the 3х10m shuttle sprint (s); 100m sprint (s); 6min race (m); standing long jump (m); and pull-ups on a horizontal bar (count) tests.
Progress of the sample in practical ecological service competences and skills was rated on a 5-point scale by an expert team composed of the academic personnel in the following domains: environmental site monitoring plan drafting skills; and site reclamation project drafting skills, with the following test scores: 5 points for an excellent environmental site monitoring plan spelling up every aspect of the site condition; 4 points for a good environmental site monitoring plan with the key aspects of the site condition; 3 points for a satisfactory environmental site monitoring plan giving an incomplete outline of the site condition; 2 points for a poorly drafted environmental site monitoring plan; and 1 point for a failure to draft an environmental site monitoring plan without assistance from the educator. The site reclamation project design skills were scored as follows: 5 points for an excellent project; 4 points for a good project in need of clarifications in some key details; 3 points for a loose project draft in need of many further details; 2 points for a partially developed or poor project giving no full picture; and 1 point for a fragmented site reclamation project giving no idea of the actual site condition.
The EG education was complemented by the self-reliant physical practices with an emphasis on the persistent physical conditioning goals, with the practices designed to secure progress in the key motor/ coordination skills on a harmonized basis. The group training sessions included multiple game/ competitive elements to create good mental/ emotional climate and encourage friendly cooperation; and to help the EG master the emotional fatigue control techniques to maintain high physical and intellectual working capacity.
The EG trainings widely applied the cross-country trekking, racing and walking styles in surveys of the environmental sites; with the long-distance trekking tours with obstacle races used to explore the distant natural locations on the weekends and holidays. The high and habitual physical activity was maintained by a reasonable combination of the academic and off-class self-reliant training formats designed and managed under supervision from the relevant academic ecology specialist.
Results and discussion. The post- versus pre-experimental physical fitness test showed progress in both groups, with the EG tested with a higher progress than the RG. Thus in the 6min race test, the RG made progress from 1378±63.8m to 1386±42.5m (р>0.05) versus the EG progress from 1379±54.8m to 1393±33.1m (р<0.05). In the standing long jump test, the RG made progress from 188.7±15.3cm to 191±18.8cm (р>0.05) versus the EG progress from 189.7±13.8cm to 197±15.4cm (р<0.05). The 3x10m shuttle sprint test showed progress of the RG from 8.40±0.53s to 8.37±0.68s (р>0.05) versus the EG progress from 8.41±0.34s to 8.33±0.53s (р>0.05); with the test data array being indicative of the higher physical fitness building rates in the EG.
The ecological competence and skills were rated, as had been mentioned before, by the environmental site monitoring plan drafting skills and the site reclamation project drafting skills rated on a 5-point scale. The pre-experimental ecological skills tests showed virtually no intergroup difference (р>0.05), whilst the post-experimental tests showed a higher progress in the EG. Thus the pre- versus post-experimental environmental site monitoring plan drafting skills in the RG were tested to make progress from 2.93±0.19 to 3.19±0.19 points (р>0.05) versus the EG progress from 2.89±0.21 to 3.75±0.24 points (р<0.05). And the site reclamation project drafting skills in the RG were tested to make progress from 2.44±0.18 to 2.58±0.23 points (р>0.05); versus the EG progress from 2.41±0.20 to 3.04±0.27 points (р<0.05).
We believe that the good physical fitness and working capacity and, hence, wider versatility of the site survey skills helped the EG make a higher progress in the environmental site reclamation project drafting skills supported by good competency in the material/ technical/ human resource cost estimates for the projects. The physical trainings synergized with the ecological education were found to facilitate progress of the EG.
Conclusion. The educational experiment showed benefits of the ecological and physical education synergizing model for the academic educational system – explainable by the fact that the personality development process is naturally multisided and implies a harmony and synergy of every progress aspect including intellectual, mental, ethical, aesthetical, physical and the service-specific (ecological) aspects. When some of these aspects is marginalized, underestimated or underdeveloped, it may be of detrimental effect to the ecological education quality on the whole and the environmental outlook/ sensitivity in particular. A high efficiency of the modern ecological education service may be secured by due synergy of the ecological and physical education components with a sound health improvement and physical activity encouragement agenda. The ecological and physical education synergizing model may be recommended for application in the national academic education system.
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The study demonstrates close interrelations of the ecological and physical education components in the academic education service since a high physical working capacity, good mental/ emotional health and reasonable coping strategies are required for success in the modern environmental activity. The academic physical education service secures good motor coordination, volitional and intellectual qualities critical for ecological project activity and, hence, contributes to the ecological education. The interrelations of the modern ecological and physical education are analyzed in the context of the ecological specialist job-specific responsibilities including the high functional/ physical fitness and intellectual resource. The educational experiment showed that the students tested with high endurance, muscular strength, agility and some other physical qualities and skills are better fit for the modern ecological service in the environmental protection projects.