The effect of nature documentaries on students' environmental sensitivity: a case study
Despite the potential educational value of nature documentaries, the contribution of such films to environmental education is largely unknown. In the present study, we attempt to delineate the role of nature documentaries to the environmental sensitivity of students when the films are simply introduced to the class. More specifically, the present study experimentally checks whether students who have been exposed to a nature documentary on insects develop a greater level of environmental sensitivity towards those animals compared to students who have not. Moreover, we explore whether nature documentaries of a distinct type (i.e., verbal vs. non-verbal) have a different effect on the students' sensitivity. The results suggest that traditional nature documentaries have a positive effect on students' sensitivity, while the non-verbal, less conventional documentary is more effective in the development of environmental knowledge and feelings about insects. However, the non-conventional approach is equally effective in the change in attitudes and beliefs as the verbal, 'traditional' one. Finally, the study discloses that students in general report more positive emotional reactions to insects than perceived knowledge and understanding. Although nature documentaries seem to improve all components of environmental sensitivity, they do not subvert the predominance of emotion over knowledge about insects.