This video project,
unlike the others, had a certain remit requested by the class teacher, that the
children record some material about the Botanical and Zoological Gardens which
were a feature of the locality 150 years ago. These gardens had already been the
subject of a project by the children in class, and the teacher felt it would be
useful to have the video tape as a resource to show to children in subsequent
years. The requirement did not affect the aims of the present study, however,
since the coverage of the historical site was simply recorded as we went around
the area in a manner which was otherwise comparable to the other projects.
This group were
the second youngest, aged between seven and nine. Interviewed in the first week,
the children demonstrated that they had studied the local area, with a particular
focus on local history, but had not covered the environment in terms of environmental
problems, or the global environment. Their collective knowledge
about the history of the old gardens was impressive, however.
Asked to list environmental
problems, the children came up with litter, pollution, toxic waste, and endangered
wildlife, but few others, letting their nominations wander on to somewhat more
general (but not inappropriate) choices such as earthquakes, volcanoes and war
- and, eventually, traffic, which was seen as both dangerous and polluting. However,
the children did not apparently know about the ozone layer, and were vague about
agreed that they were generally concerned about environmental problems,
and could each name a concern, mostly about endangered animals and hunting. It
later emerged that three of the six children were vegetarians, stemming from a
belief that animals should not be killed to be eaten - one had made this choice
three years previously (his parents weren't), whilst the other two had vegetarian
parents, but said that they would stay that way by choice now anyway.
Making the video
around and about in the Hyde Park residential area, the children were very enthusiastic,
and were eager to fit a great deal of filming into the available time. They showed
some awareness of the potential structure of the video when edited, for example
by recording first the material with the maps in the classroom, and appearing
to understand that this could be mixed with their location work later in the process.
when the group interviewed each other in the final week, showed the children talking
much more comfortably about 'the environment' than they had at first. This could
simply be because they by then knew what was meant by the term when questions
were asked about it, but their ability to connect abstract knowledge about anti-environmental
factors to their own neighbourhood did seem to have been enhanced.
of the whole group meant that all contributed something, and children whose first
language was not English were able to display their abilities to the full in this
non-written form. The video project appeared to bring the subject of the environment
'alive' for the children concerned.