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Relationship Between Environmental Awareness And Intellectual Development Of School Children

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



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Page Numbers

6.844.1 - 6.844.9

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Fazal Chaudhry

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Elisabete Castellano

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3151

Relationship between Environmental Awareness and Intellectual Development of School Children

Elisabete G. Castellano, Fazal H. Chaudhry Associação de Escolas Reunidas/ University of São Paulo, São Carlos, SP, Brazil

Abstract This paper studies the environmental awareness of primary school students from two public schools in urban areas with different socioeconomic conditions in the city of São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil. One hundred students of ages between 6 and 16 were selected for the investigation employing various tests. The students were submitted to tests based on symbolic representations to determine their awareness of environmental responsibilities. The context of a watershed and water pollution was chosen for preparation of the symbolic representations. Piagetian tests were also applied to determine intellectual development of the children and to establish its relationship to their moral development. The results show that children below age 11, while undergoing intellectual development, show little awareness of environmental norms. Large majority of children above 11 present heteronomous moral attitudes in obedience to prescribed norms. No case of autonomous moral development as related to environmental questions was observed in the survey sample. It is hoped that the results obtained in this study are useful in developing ideas for environmental education of school children as well as in planning environmental science courses for engineering degree students.


Although one may argue that industrial production and technological progress have brought about the present day environmental crisis, it is the lack of social awareness and moral consciousness with regard to the environment which hold the clue. The resolution of environmental questions involves not only direct measures of political, social, scientific and technological nature but also actions dealing with the ethical and moral attitudes of individuals and the society as a whole. Environmental education is considered as an essential instrument towards creating a new universal ethic and consciousness in favor of society’s harmonious relationship with the environment. As the educational institutions and the society align themselves and embrace discussion of the problems, the environmental idea shall blend itself into the workings of the social system1.

It is generally agreed that the main objective of the educational process, besides teaching, is to prepare creative persons capable of interacting critically with the surrounding environment in spite of the variations in individuals and the environments. This evolution takes the child from a lack of norms (anomic) to submission to pre-established values (heteronomous) and lastly

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society of Engineering Education

Chaudhry, F., & Castellano, E. (2001, June), Relationship Between Environmental Awareness And Intellectual Development Of School Children Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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