Professional Competence of Student Teachers to Implement Species Identification in Schools – A Case Study from Germany
This study investigates how well prepared student teachers are to implement species identification in school. Data were collected with the help of a questionnaire and a PowerPoint presentation in which local plant and animal species were presented. Participants (n = 357) correctly identified, on average, 23% of the plants and 44% of the animals. They identified plants mainly by flower characteristics and leaves, and animals mainly by shape and colour. Family and school were key sources of participants’ knowledge of species. The self-estimated competence of participants to identify species was positively correlated with their taxonomic knowledge and the amount of time they had spent on species identification during their own schooldays. The number of correctly identified plant and animal species increased with interest in identifying species and participation in species identification courses. Participants considered learner-centred education and experience-based learning, and the use of living organisms to be most important when identifying species in school.
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