Group Feedback in the Classroom Promotes Home Energy Conservation
Christopher, Jenny L.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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Pro-environmental behavior is considered one of the most immediate and effective solutions humans possess to solve our current environmental crisis. Pro-environmental behavior that seeks to minimize the negative impact of ones actions on the environment has been identified as evidence of effective environmental education. However environmental curricula have been relatively unsuccessful in generating these behavioral outcomes. Abundant research in the field of environmental psychology characterize efficacy as a predictor of human action, however limited research exists connecting efficacy beliefs of adolescents and their environmental behaviors. Efficacy helps explain whether a group or individual believes in their capacity to accomplish a task. Using feedback as a means to reduce energy consumption is substantiated by numerous intervention studies finding significant reductions in energy use when applying a feedback treatment. This research investigates how an energy education program targeting sixth to ninth graders can promote home energy conservation. In a quasi-experiment, using student data from an energy activity implemented in 27 middle school and 4 high school classrooms via a convenience sample, the relationship between efficacy and student home energy behaviors was measured after a group feedback intervention. Results from an ANCOVA test revealed that students who received feedback completed more energy-related behaviors than those who did not receive any feedback, F (1, 403) = 5.4, p = .02. Although feedback encouraged more action, student efficacy was unaffected by feedback. In addition, qualitative observations inside the classroom found that four emergent factors supported the feedback process, Student Household Behaviors Expressed by Teacher, Teacher Influencing, We Language, and Teacher Inquiry. This study suggests that using group feedback in a classroom environment has important implications for interventions promoting adolescent pro-environmental behavior.