Evaluating the Socio-Emotional Effects of Outdoor Learning: Gender Differentials
Faculty Mentor: Diana Ngo, Economics Department
Funding: Walter C. and Patricia Harris Mack Undergraduate Summer Research Fund
Multiple studies indicate that outdoor learning programs that consist of hands-on experiential activities in a natural environment have many positive socio-emotional and behavioral effects. However, few studies examine how these effects differ across males and females. This study evaluates the gender differentials in the socio-emotional effects of an outdoor learning program for fourth through sixth grade students in a large urban school district. Students completed a survey before and after camp and indicated, on a scale of one to five, how strongly they agree or disagree with socio-emotional statements that pertain to social connectedness, self-esteem, and social behavioral feelings and attitudes. In this study I will quantify the survey responses for each statement and examine the difference in means between the percent of students who agree before camp and after camp. I will then regress this on gender. After regressing the socio-emotional effects of camp on three different areas, social connectedness, self-esteem, and social behavior, I find that there are no significant gender differentials in the socio-emotional effects in any of the three areas. I also find that the camp’s effects are overall positive in each socio-emotional area, and that both males and females benefit from the program.
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