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The Relationship Between Bonding with Nonhuman Animals and Students' Attitudes Toward Science

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This paper examines the relationship of bonding with nonhuman animals during an interactive, animal-in-the-wild science program (Talking Talons) and the science attitudes of 358 young children between the ages of 8 and 14 Talking Talons utilizes typically wild animals such as raptors, reptiles, and bats in a school-based educational science curriculum. Qualitative data from interviews with students in the program indicated that "bonding with animals" (BWA) and the educators (BWE) within the program were related to increased positive attitudes toward science. The program used quantitative methods to examine these dual relationships—with animals and with educators- on student attitude toward science. The program performed a step-wise multiple regression with "Attitude toward Science" as the dependent variable and "Gender," "Age," and "Bonding with Animals" as independent variables. Both "Bonding with Animals" and "Bonding with the Educator" contributed significantly to prediction of the participants' science attitudes. Altogether 28% of the variance in "Science Attitude" was predicted by both "Gender" and "Age" (10%), "Bonding with Animals" (16%) and "Bonding with Educator" (2%). Bonding with the animals had a large quantifiable relationship with student attitudes toward science.

Affiliations: 1: Independent Consultant, Leiden LLC, 34 Anne Pickard Loop, Tijeras, NM 87050, USA


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