Past Seminars and Events 2017

REI Energy Policy Seminar: Motivating Teacher and Student Engagement with Environment through Renewable Energy Education
Friday, February 10, 2017, 10:45am - 11:45am
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Speaker Nirav Patel, Rutgers, Research Scholar, Honors College

Short Bio:Dr. Nirav S. Patel is a Research Scholar at the Honors College who is
responsible for advancing the scholarly mission of the Honors College. In
addition to conducting independent research to advance interdisciplinary
approaches to sustainability teaching, education, research, and problem
solving, he teaches first year students within the Honors College. He is
trained as a natural scientist and a social scientist and his research focuses
on coupled natural-human systems. His current research and teaching focuses on
interdisciplinary teaching and learning approaches to human-environment
interactions within social-ecological systems. He earned his Ph.D. in Natural
Resources from Cornell University where he was also awarded teaching award and
emerging faculty teaching award which exemplifies teaching excellence,
character, service, and advocacy for students enrolled in the core biology
instructional program at Cornell University.Abstract:Environmental and energy education is focused on fostering environmental
behavior. This study investigates empirically if education leads to changes in
environmental attitudes and subsequent environmentally significant behavior
(ESB). The study contextualizes teachers’ and students’ motivation to engage in
ESB within an environmental educational training framework.  The results
of structured questionnaires administered in Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and
Midwestern K-12 schools (n=214 for teachers and n=1498 for students) reveal
that environmental attitudes are not a good predictor of teaching behavior but
they do predict students’ intent towards ESB. Teachers’ energy attitudes are a
better predictor in motivating them to teach while students are most responsive
to their affective attitudes. The study finds that education does not play a
significant role in changing environmental or energy attitudes of teachers and
students. The study also advances a methodological tool for data collection
that can expand the reach of evaluation instruments and measure learning across
formal and informal audiences. It highlights how interactional technology can
be readily utilized for future research and outreach in classrooms, nature
learning centers, professional training programs, and museums. Overall, the
work advances social-psychological understanding of how adults and youth
respond to educational programming. It highlights the need to go beyond the
cognitive shifts in affecting behavior. Curriculum based on environment might
be necessary but is often not sufficient for changing environmental values.
Finally, information and knowledge acquired must motivate the teachers’ and
students’ desire and ability to conscientiously act, wherever necessary.

Sponsored jointly by the Rutgers Energy Institute and the Human Ecology Department

Location Rutgers, Cook, DMCS, Alampi Room
Sponsored jointly by the Rutgers Energy Institute and the Human Ecology Department

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