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Knowing the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest in childhood: a contribution of the theory of multiple intelligence for environmental education

Keywords: Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest , environmental knowledge

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Abstract:

This study is grounded in the cognitive sciences and represents a comprehensive inquiry into children's environmental knowledge. It started with an investigation of a specific situation: studying an urban population – stigmatized by a history of local environmental destruction, unconsciously wrought upon an area that is nowadays acknowledged as a natural biodiversity hotspot, the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. Based on the Multiple Intelligence Theory (MIT), that describes the presence of several intelligences in human beings, including a naturalist intelligence, this study aimed at improving the understanding of abilities related to environmental knowledge and the differentiation of such abilities from other ways of knowing usually valued in mainstream education. Forty-five (45) students of a primary school located in south Bahia, Brazil, their teachers, and their parents participated in this investigation between 2002 to 2004. Results suggest that the cognitive domains which are subjacent to environmental knowledge are place specific and need to be stimulated in primary schools by formulating more attractive, efficient, and innovative environmental educational methodologies.

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