“There is no escaping it”: Graduate Student Conceptions of Environment and their Implications for Learning Motivation and Public Health Curricula

Main Article Content

Katherine L Cheesman
Emily Q Ahonen

Abstract

This manuscript stems from observations the authors made while teaching an environmental health course, which is part of a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. Observations of student attitudes and patterns in course feedback prompted questions about how to pique interest in the course.  Since research on motivation has shown that adult learners build new knowledge from what they believe they already know, we first sought to better understand this basis for learning. On the first day of class, students were administered an assignment prompting them to "define environment" in their own words; data were analyzed for content. Results characterize student conceptions of environment as being (1) beyond human influence and (2) individually-focused. The implications of these "alternative conceptions" of environmental public health for educators seeking to motivate adult learners are discussed. Restructuring coursework to reflect Transformative Learning Theory (TLT) is identified as a potential solution to student amotivation.

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How to Cite
Cheesman, K., & Ahonen, E. (2019). “There is no escaping it”: Graduate Student Conceptions of Environment and their Implications for Learning Motivation and Public Health Curricula. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v19i2.23970
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Articles
Author Biographies

Katherine L Cheesman, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University

Master of Public Health Student, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Emily Q Ahonen, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University

Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health Science and Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences