Social creativity models to build up environmental competency in physical education and sport university students

Associate Professor, PhD A.A. Nesterova1
Associate Professor, PhD L.I. Eremina1
Associate Professor, PhD O.V. Chetaykina2
1Ulyanovsk State Pedagogical University named after I.N. Ulyanov, Ulyanovsk
2Mordovian State Pedagogical Institute named after M.E. Evseviev, Saransk

Keywords: environmental awareness, environmental awareness criteria and levels, socially important volunteering.

Background. The national physical education and sport universities and departments give a special priority to the programs to cultivate social creativity, activity, active lifestyles, self-reliance and initiative in the students to facilitate their individual socializing efforts and help them realize themselves in the social and education projects, actions and reforms.

Objective of the study was to offer educatiop provisions for and test benefits of the students’ environmental awareness building model driven by the socially important ecological volunteer project activity.

Methods and structure of the study. The experiment to test benefits of the new students’ environmental awareness building model driven by the socially important ecological volunteer project activity was run in 2016 through 2018, with the USPU Physical Education and Sport Department students (n= 95) sampled for the experiment.

We applied in the above model testing educational experiment a set of criteria to rate the physical education and sport students’ environmental awareness in the following aspects: cognitive (referring to the ecological knowledge); practical (practical experience in the socially sensitive environmental projects); axiological (measure of the students’ attitudes to the environmental protection values); and deontological (rating the individual situational behavior based on the values and responsibility) aspects.

Furthermore, we applied for the study purposes the following tools: special questionnaire surveys, content analyses of the students’ theses, case studies and interviews – to rate the environmental awareness of the sample both in the qualitative and quantitative terms.

Study findings and discussion. The study data and analyzes made it possible to profile progress of the sample in the environmental awareness and values building domain. The test rates were provisionally classified into the high, average, low and poor levels, with the pre- and post-experimental test data given on Figure 1 hereunder.

Figure 1. Progress of the sample in the environmental values building domain

The pre-experimental tests found domination of the poor and low (49. 5% and 39%, respectively) environmental values rates in the sample, with only 10.5% and 1% of the sample tested with the average and high environmental values, respectively. More than 50% of the sample was tested with reluctant (neutral) attitudes to the environmental values, harmony of human life with nature and devotion to the living place.

The post-experimental tests showed progress of the sample in the environmental value rates, with the poor rates found to drop 1.5 times (from 49.5% to 29.5%); low rates 1.8 times (from 39% to 22.1%); with the average rates tested to grow 3 times (from 10.5% to 31.6%) and the high rates – as much as 16.8 times (from 1% to 16.8%).

Furthermore, we applied the Fisher angular transformation φ* ratio to rate the model benefits, and found φ*emp = 2.849 for the poor level; φ*emp = 2.55 for the low level; φ*emp = 3.68 for the average level; and φ*emp = 4.445 for the high level; with φ*cr = 2.31 (р ≤ 0.01). This means that the Fisher transformation ratios verify a significant progress of the sample in the environmental awareness and values.

The students’ environmental awareness building model was driven by the socially important ecological volunteer project activity facilitated by the following educational provisions:

  • Individual ecological-axiological sphere formation, with a special priority to the following values: human life harmonization with nature; natural values (biological, economic, gnoseological, mental, aesthetic, devotional, educational, ethical and sustainable development related ones); and devotion to the living place [2-4, 8];
  • Social creativity in the volunteer projects – reasonably designed and managed to effectively improve the social climate, interpersonal relationship and the social environment on the whole [1].

The students’ environmental awareness building model testing experiment included a social creativity building component designed based on the three-pole Gustafson model (2001), with its Self, Others, and Environment poles in the feel-of-place structure [7]. The Self pole is connected with the places full of personality important values and senses, associated with the life mission, individual history and self-identification. The Others pole refers to the environment-specific social connections, standards and rules in the context of the devotion to the living place. And the Environment pole implies the role of physical environment related factors in the devotion to living place formation process with its ecological aspects including the emotional individual attitudes to the habitual natural environment [6]. The social creativity building component offered:

  • Active contribution of the physical education and sport students to the socially important actions and events (social probe) with due ecological accents, including: charity concerts, meetings, marches; actions to disseminate promotion materials; landscaping activity on different social and environmental sites etc.; contribution to the ongoing environmental protection projects; aid to children with health impairments and disabilities and orphans; aid to war veterans, senior people, disabled old people etc. [5];
  • Implementation of the modern didactic technologies to improve the socially sensitive activity of the students including: game technologies; teamwork creativity facilitation technologies; and the modern project design technologies – to guarantee fast accumulation of a positive social service experience by the students [1].

Conclusion. The study data and analyses made it possible to identify the key educational provisions for the ecological values formation activity to help the students make progress in their attitudes to the nature and living environments and thereby change the ecological-axiological awareness of the student community. The new students’ environmental awareness building model driven by the socially important ecological volunteer project activity was tested beneficial as verified by the pre- versus post-experimental environmental awareness and ecological values tests of the physical education and sport sample.


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The study outlines and analyzes the following values critical for the environmental axiological awareness of the physical education and sport university students: harmony of human civilization and nature; natural values; and the high value of devotion to the place of origin. Special attention is given to the educational provisions to facilitate the environmental competency and sensitivity building process, with active engagement in the socially important ecological project activity on a volunteer basis. The socially important ecological project activity means herein the socially beneficial actions of high environmental value including the charity events, meetings, marches, environmental protection initiatives, environmental material dissemination campaigns, landscaping actions in different social and natural locations; assistance to children with health limitations and orphans; assistance to veterans, seniors, disabled people etc. The study analyzes findings of the empirical study that proves benefits of the new students’ environmental awareness building model driven by socially important ecological volunteer project activity.