This article is based on the author’s assignment in a communication campaigns class where the task was to analyze the use of communication before and after super typhoon Yolanda.
Joseph B. Pilapil
BS Development Communication IV student
Visayas State University
Visca, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines
Communication etymologically means “to make things common”, and to communicate effectively, one has to use the terminologies understood by the audience. In disaster preparedness, communication plays a vital role in information dissemination.
The typhoon Yolanda experience in Leyte is a very good example of the communication process that turned sour. Even before the landfall of the super typhoon, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had been monitoring its movement and the possible locations where the typhoon would strike. News on the nature of the typhoon, as well as safety precautions for the people to follow were broadcast on TV, radio, newspapers and online platforms and social networking sites. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the typhoon’s wrath was unprecedented that it took away too many lives and damaged properties in Leyte and Samar provinces.
It can be concluded that there was ineffective communication during that time. Warnings on the “storm surge” in Tacloban City, were found to be ineffective. It was because of the residents’ lack of understanding of the terminology used – “storm surge”. Thus, people ignored the warnings. Had PAGASA used a more common term, perhaps the adverse effects of the typhoon could have been averted. There was a buzz that if “tsunami” was used, people would have heeded the warnings and took safety precautions. Since the two terms are analogous, the more common term should have been broadcast to avoid miscommunication.
Relief distribution after the landfall was delayed and cases of pilferage were reported when relief goods were available. Since power was out for days after Yolanda’s landfall, information dissemination about relief distribution was a hard task for the local government units and the nongovernment sector. No TV, nor radio nor cell phones was working. Residents in rural areas were adversely affected by this because they could not be immediately informed when relief goods would be available for distribution.
These are some of the instances of ineffective communication during a natural disaster, from my perspective as a resident in Leyte.
This article is based on the author’s assignment in a communication campaigns class where the task was:
In its 30 May 2013 press release, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) has announced that the Philippine economy posted a 7.8% GDP growth in the first quarter of 2013. Find out if this GDP growth is felt in the rural areas by interviewing a farmer, a laborer and a housewife. Ask them questions on self-rated poverty and hunger.
BS Development Communication IV student
Visayas State University
Visca, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines
HOUSEWIFE. Mercy Orion is a mother of three. She lives in the town of Mahaplag, Leyte. Last Saturday, she came to visit her oldest daughter who is studying in college. Being a housewife is not easy, she argues.
Her family belongs to the lower middle class. In the past three months, it never happened that the whole family skipped meals because of poverty. Although she has no permanent job, she does not always depend on her husband’s income. She looks for temporary sidelines. Somehow, she could raise a little money for daily needs.
“Dili gyud mahimo nga walay kaonun. Tulo gud imong anak, ang usa naa pa gyud sa College. Maong maningkamot gyud ka ug pangita,” she says. [There is no way not to have food to eat. I have three children and one of them is a college student so I must strive to have a livelihood.]
Get to meet Jojit Eslirea, 38 years old, married and a full time laborer from Tacloban City. He works for the construction of the new VSU Library. He is married to a housewife who has three kids from her first husband. They treat him as their foster dad.
People think that being a laborer is a physically stressful job with a very low pay. But in his case, it is not. He is not rich or poor. His salary is just enough for them to eat thrice a day, he says. But he has not had a pay raise in the last eight months that he has been employed as a construction worker. According to him, he never felt the economy rising. They belong in the lower middle class, but never experienced one step higher than that.
Among the three persons I interviewed, I could say that Santos Latras, a farmer, is the least fortunate. Lolo Santos, 75 years old, is a father of ten children; seven of them are married. He is a native of Barangay Patag, Baybay, Leyte. He has been a farmer for almost 50 years, he said. But never in his life did he taste the benefits of being a senior citizen. Up to now, he is still working in order for his family to eat.
Lolo Santos stated simply and clearly, they are poor. Most of his children are married, but it never happened that they were able to rise from poverty. Just last week, they had no rice to eat. His family only depends on the profit they get from farming their private land. Yes, they had a property. But it was too small and not enough to harvest crops enough for the whole year. It always happens that for about three meals a month, they have no enough food to eat.
“Pait. Makahilak ka usahay. Pero wa na ta’y mabuhat. Ang kahilak ipangita na lang ug diskarte nga makakaon. Maayo na lang na, maka ngisi na ka sa tumoy.” [How sad. I can cry at times but there’s nothing we can do. One has to find ways to be able to have something to eat.]
Did the economy really rise? According to the housewife, the laborer and the farmer, they never experienced any improvements in their economic status. In the last eight months, none of them had an increase in their monthly income. The rich remains to be rich, middle class in the middle, and the poor remains to be poor. While the Philippines’ GDP may have increased, its benefits have not cascaded to the these ordinary citizens I have talked to. Perhaps the GDP increase may have favored only those in the urban areas, particularly the big business and construction sectors.
This article is based on the author’s BS Development Communication thesis.
Mones, Rodeza D. (2013). Visayas State University college students’ information exposure, knowledge and attitude toward plagiarism, and practices in using print and online resources. Unpublished BS Development Communication thesis. Visayas State University, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines.
Rodeza D. Mones
BS Development Communication 2013
Visayas State University
Visca, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines
Plagiarism is a form of student misconduct that has been plaguing academic institutions in recent years. With the proliferation of ready-made papers over the Internet, it has escalated into a crime that is easier to commit. This form of academic dishonesty is an issue that university and colleges need to address.
Plagiarism, or literary theft, is defined as “using someone else’s work without giving proper credit—a failure to cite adequately” (Hom, PlagiarismChecker.com, 2005-2006). According to Gibelman, Gelman and Fast (1999), it includes:
- directly copying another’s work without citation
- failure to use quotation marks where they belong
- omitting citations that provide credit for material found in someone else’s work,
- combining the work of different authors without reference to these authors, carelessness in preparing the list of references (including omissions)
- representing the ideas or work of another as your own
- failure to secure permission for the use of figures, tables, or illustrations from another document, whether or not it is published
In 2005, a study by Jones, Reid and Bartlett showed that 36.8% of the 171 students who participated in the survey had self-reported “failing to cite references [they] have consulted,” while 34.5% admitted to “copying some sentences out of a text book into an assignment without crediting the source”.
But from the simple misappropriation of texts from reference materials such as books, journals, lecture notes, and other academic sources, students have turned to the Internet in committing plagiarism, where a plethora of ready-made papers, publications and information are only a few keyboard strokes and mouse clicks away. Because of this, the Internet is credited for creating a new form of plagiarism—Internet plagiarism, also known as cut-and-paste plagiarism or cyber plagiarism (Howard, 2007).
The same study by Jones, Reid and Bartlett (2005) also revealed that a substantial number of the students surveyed (19.9%) have confessed to being guilty of “cutting and pasting material from a website into an assignment without crediting the source”. One study by Scanlon and Neumann (2002) revealed that out of the 698 students, 24.5% admitted to “cutting and pasting some text without citation”. Another study by Sewlyn (2008) indicated that out of the 1,222 undergraduate students who participated in the survey, 59% self-reported that they have “copied a few sentences from a website into an essay/assignment without citing them”; 30% admitted having “copied a few paragraphs”; 4% “copied a whole essay/assignment from a website/online source” while 3% “paid for an essay/assignment from the Internet”. Indeed, the easy access of intellectual property over the Internet has exacerbated the incidence of plagiarism among students.
But students are not the only the ones who commit literary theft. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin was accused of using passages from other books without proper attribution in her book “The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys” (King, 2002). In an article Goodwin wrote in TIME U.S. entitled “How I Caused That Story,” she explains how she failed to adequately credit author Lynne McTaggart’s work: “Though my footnotes repeatedly cited Ms. McTaggart’s work, I failed to provide quotation marks for phrases that I had taken verbatim, having assumed that these phrases, drawn from my notes, were my words, not hers” (Goodwin, 2002). In 2012, two plagiarism cases in the Philippines involving high-ranking government officials made headlines. Just recently, Senator Tito Sotto made it in the national and worldwide news for being accused of plagiarizing a part of his speech on Aug. 13, 2012. The speech, which the senator delivered to support his anti-Reproductive Health Bill stand, was said to have been lifted from several blogs, including Sarah Pope’s blog, “the Healthy Home Economist” (Tan, 2012). In an interview, the controversial senator denied the allegations, saying that he and the blogger had the same source, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, and was quoted as saying “Ba’t ko naman iko-quote ‘yung blogger? Blogger lang ‘yun?” [“Why would I quote a blogger? She’s just a blogger.”] (Sanchez, 2012). Weeks after, the senator was again accused of plagiarizing, this time translating the 1996 Day of Affirmation speech of the late US senator Robert Kennedy (Bordadora, 2012) into Filipino. The plagiarism accusations against Sotto continues to escalate, as Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late US senator and president of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, has sent a letter of complaint to Sen. Sotto (Panela, 2012). Both incidents sparked negative reactions from Filipino netizens and Sen. Sotto claims he is a victim of cyber-bullying.
Results of this study can be used to prevent and detect the plagiarism practices of students in VSU. By identifying the sources of information about plagiarism and its influence on students’ knowledge, attitude and practices of it, the university—specifically the teaching faculty—can pinpoint the root of literary theft, and address the problem accordingly. Knowing whether or not student plagiarism in the university is a deliberate or an inadvertent case, and whether the problem is stemming from unethical practices or if it is simply due to knowledge gaps determine the methods the university should take in preventing, and putting a stop to plagiarism in the academe.
Generally, this study explored college students’ knowledge and attitude toward plagiarism and their practices in using reference materials. Specifically, it aimed to:
- Determine students’ information exposure on plagiarism;
- Find out students’ knowledge and attitude toward plagiarism, their motivations for committing or not committing plagiarism and their practices in the use of printed references and online resources; and
- Determine the relationship between information exposure and knowledge and attitude towards plagiarism and motivations for committing or not committing plagiarism.
Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
The theoretical support for this study is drawn from Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), also known as the Social Learning Theory (SLT).
The Social Cognitive Theory states that there are three components that shape and control a person’s subsequent behavior: (1) the person (P) or the individual, with his cognition and other personal factors, (2) the environment (E) along with external factors, and (3) behavior itself (B)—the Triadic Reciprocal Determinism (Bandura, 1989). He explains that these three determinants interact and influence each other simultaneously, forming the later behavior of an individual.
The theory also explains that a person learns not only from first-hand, direct experience but also from vicarious experiences, termed as “vicarious learning”. A person does not rely on his trial-and-error experiences alone but also from other people’s experiences as well in a social environment (Bandura, 1989).
Furthermore, SCT also involves “observational learning,” which explains that knowledge and skills are acquired from observing other people’s behavior and learning from the consequences of other people’s behavior as well. By interacting with other people, an individual develops his own behavior patterns, judgment standards, and cognition (Bandura, 1989). Therefore, interpersonal connections are highly influential in shaping a person’s moral judgment, his perception of the world, and his behavior.
But observational learning is not just simple mimicry. By observing others, an individual develops subskills and adapts what he had learned in varying situations, therefore learning to improvise and generate new behavior that go beyond what they have observed and learned from watching others (Bandura, 1989).
Therefore, an individual learns from his own experiences and from observing others as well in his environment. By his learning, he develops his own knowledge adapted from varying circumstances, and with that knowledge, his attitude is formed. The constant interaction of the environment factors and his intrinsic factors as well as his own behavior then forms his subsequent behavior (Bandura, 1989).
Study site. This study was conducted in the Visayas State University (VSU), Visca, Baybay City, Leyte. It included college students from different year levels and courses.
Research design and sampling procedure. This study followed the one-shot survey research design. Respondents were chosen using cluster random sampling—classes were randomly picked from the list of ongoing classes during the second semester of school year 2012-2013. Professors of the classes picked were approached and their students were each administered a questionnaire. The respondents were given the option to not disclose their names on the survey questionnaire to encourage respondents to answer the survey questions freely.
Research instrument. This study used a survey questionnaire and focus group discussion guide. The survey questionnaire (patterned after the studies of Marshall and Garry (2005), “How well do students really understand plagiarism”, and Scanlon and Neumann (2002), “Internet Plagiarism Among College Students”) was prepared in English and had the following parts: (I) socio-demographic profile of the respondents; (II) respondents’ sources of information on plagiarism; (III) respondents’ understanding of plagiarism and source of information; (IV) respondents’ attitude towards plagiarism and respect for intellectual property; (V) respondents’ practices in using printed sources and online content and their behavior towards plagiarism; and (VI) motivation/s for (not) committing plagiarism. Respondents were asked a series of questions to determine their knowledge and attitude towards plagiarism and practices in using reference materials, as well as their motivations for plagiarizing.
To further explore the motivations of students for plagiarizing and validate the results of the survey, a focus group discussion (FGD) was conducted as well, wherein 8 respondents were asked to participate. The objective of the FGD was to ask respondents who committed plagiarism about their motivations for doing so, which they may be unwilling to reveal when answering the questionnaire—full discretion was given to the respondents, while for those who claimed to not have committed plagiarism were asked the reason why they did not. For effective facilitation of the FGD, an FGD guide was prepared
Questionnaire pretesting. The survey questionnaire was pretested among eight college students of the Visayas State University prior to the survey to determine if the questions were comprehensible and logically sequenced. The pretest results concluded whether the survey questionnaire is fit or if it needs modification or revision.
Respondents of the pretest were asked to answer the survey questionnaire, and were subsequently asked to give comments and suggestions about the questionnaire. Some respondents were hesitant to answer because they were afraid of getting caught; therefore, the line “Information provided will be kept confidential” was added to the heading of the questionnaire to assure respondents that their personal information (such as their names and contact numbers) will not be revealed. Feedback from respondents indicated that the questionnaire was easy enough to understand, although one respondent revealed early on that she did not know what plagiarism is. Another respondent asked if she could answer for both the “I plagiarized because..” and “I did not plagiarize because of..” statements in the motivation part of the questionnaire, reasoning that both statements apply in the instances that she chose to plagiarize and when she chose not to. Thus, changes were made to indicate that respondents can answer both statements.
Data analysis. To determine the relationship between nominal background variables (sex) and information exposure, knowledge, attitude and practice of plagiarism, the chi-square test was used. For ordinal data, the non-parametric Spearman rank correlation was used to test the relationship between the respondents’ background variables (age and year level) and information exposure and their knowledge, attitude, and practice of plagiarism. Lastly, Cronbach’s alpha was used to determine the internal consistency of the attitude and practice statements to measure each item’s reliability score.
Respondents’ information exposure. The study listed 12 information sources on plagiarism categorized into three groups: (1) media (TV, radio, print, Internet), (2) university (professors, seminars/orientations, university code, library), and (3) interpersonal contacts (classmates, friends and relatives). The top three information sources on plagiarism were TV (77.3%), professors (71.8%), and Internet (68.2%). The levels of information exposure were measured by the sum of their sources and were categorized as having low (0-4 sources), moderate (5-8) and high (9-12). More than half (54.5%) were categorized as having low, 36.4% moderate and 9.1% high information exposure.
Respondents’ knowledge of plagiarism. The study used 15 knowledge statements adapted from Marshall and Garry (2005). Results revealed that majority of the respondents were able to identify common forms of plagiarism, such as “copying a few sentences from another document” (89.0%) and “copying an illustration or a graph from another document” (76.9%); although a relatively high percentage of them seem to have difficulty in identifying severe forms of plagiarism, such as “paying for someone to write an original work and submitting it as your own” (40.7%) and “paraphrasing or suing other words, changing the sentence structure, and/or making a shorter version of a work from another source” (48.1%). Moreover, statements that refer to proper citation practices were incorrectly identified as plagiarism by a relatively high number of the respondents, such as “using quotation marks with words or sentences copied word-for-word” (52.3%) and “copying texts and referencing the source” (31.5%). In general, more than half of the respondents (60.9%) had moderate knowledge of plagiarism; 35.5% had high while only 3.6% had low knowledge of plagiarism.
Respondents’ attitude towards plagiarism. The study used 12 attitude statements measured using a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly agree, 2=agree, 3=neutral, 4=disagree, 5=strongly disagree). The reliability of the statements were tested and resulted in a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.702, making the statements acceptable. In general, results showed that more than half (52.7%) of the respondents had a neutral attitude towards plagiarism; 28.2% had negative attitude while 19.1% had positive attitudes.
Respondents’ practices in using print and online resources. The study used 15 statements that refer to plagiarism acts in using print and online references, adapted from Marshall and Garry (2005) and Scanlon and Neumann (2002), and were measured using a frequency scale (1=very frequently, 2=often, 3=sometimes, 4=rarely, 5=never). The reliability of the statements were also tested and resulted in a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.830. All of the respondents admitted to committing plagiarism, and, in general, 62.7% were categorized as having plagiarized in a moderate level, 36.4% low, 0.9% high while not one was categorized as not plagiarizing.
Respondents’ motivations for (not) committing plagiarism. To identify the reasons that prompts respondents to plagiarize and their reasons for not plagiarizing, respondents were given a list of reasons for two statements (1) “I plagiarized because of…”, and (2) “I did not plagiarize because of…”, and were asked to choose the statements that best describes their answer, and to cite other reasons that are not on the list. Their responses were then categorized: for negative motivations (“I plagiarized because of…”), were (a) social pressure, 26.8%; (b) indolence, 61.0%; (c) knowledge gap, 11.4% and (4) difficulty of task, 0.8%. On the other hand, positive motivations (“I did not plagiarize because of…” were categorized as (a) fear of punishment, 22.2%; (b) ethical reasons, 31.3%; and (c) willingness to learn, 46.5%. In general, more than half of the respondents (62.7%) were categorized as having negative motivations, while 37.3% had positive motivations.
Relationship between variables. Results of the Spearman’s rank correlation showed a positive, significant relationship between respondents’ year level and knowledge (r=202; p=.034).In general, no relationship exists between socio-demographic characteristics (age, year level, sex) and information exposure. Likewise, no relationship exists between socio-demographic characteristics (age, year level, sex) and KAP & motivations, except for year level and knowledge. Moreover, no relationship exists between information exposure and KAP & motivations. On the other hand, no relationship exists among knowledge, attitude, practice and motivations.
Results of the focus group discussion. Results revealed that participants have a general idea of what plagiarism is, and have learned about it from different sources, but lacks knowledge on what exactly constitutes it and how to not commit it. Most of it defined it simply as “copy-paste”, “copying” and “copying texts”. Almost all agreed that it is a serious offense, while one respondent concluded that it depends on the severity. However, all agreed that it is wrong to plagiarize. As for practice, all respondents admitted to being guilty of plagiarism, and majority considered their plagiarism act as a minor form of plagiarism only. As for the participants’ motivations for committing plagiarism, the top answers were “laziness” and “lack of ideas.” Lastly, all participants agreed that there is a need for them to learn the different forms of plagiarism and how not to commit it by knowing how to cite sources.
Results of this study showed that respondents’ exposure to information sources on plagiarism ranged from low to moderate, as shown in Figure 6. Moreover, results of the knowledge, attitude, practice, and motivation tests suggest that the information respondents were exposed to were insufficient.
Common plagiarism acts, or simple copying without citation, were correctly identified by more than half of the respondents, although a substantial percentage of them failed to do so. For instance, “copying few sentences from another document” had 11.0% incorrect response; “copying an assignment from a fellow classmate”, “copying an illustration or a graph from another document” and “copying text word-for-word without using quotation marks but referencing it in the footnotes” had 30.3%, 23.1% and 47.2% incorrect responses, respectively.
Moreover, statements that refer to proper citation practices were incorrectly identified as plagiarism by a relatively high number of respondents. “Using quotation marks with words copied word-for word” had 52.3% incorrect response, as well as “copying texts and referencing the source”, “citing references used” and “using the APA (American Psychology Association) or MLA (Modern Language Association) format in citing sources” (31.5%, 22.2% and 25.0% incorrect responses, respectively), as shown in Table 5. Results of the knowledge test show that respondents have moderate (60.9%) to high (35.5) knowledge of plagiarism.
These results imply that the majority of the respondents were familiar with “simple” plagiarism acts, while a substantial number of them were unfamiliar with more “severe” forms of plagiarism as well as common citation protocols. This also supports the positive, significant relationship between year level and knowledge, which indicates that the higher the year level of the respondent is, the more knowledgeable he or she is on plagiarism. This suggests that most respondents categorized as having moderate and high knowledge commit what Park (2003) defines as “intentional plagiarism”, while some could be “accidental plagiarists” as a result of a misunderstanding of the concept of plagiarism and how to use reference materials correctly. These results prove that there is a need to educate students on what exactly constitutes plagiarism, especially on severe forms of it, and ways of preventing it by observing proper citation practice.
Results of the analyses also show that more than half (53%) of the respondents fell in the neutral attitude bracket despite the fact that nearly two-thirds (62.7%) of them had a moderate level of practice of plagiarism. It seems that respondents preferred to be seen as not favoring plagiarism when despite practicing it. This apparent gap between attitude and practice could be explained by Festinger’s Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957). According to Festinger, cognitive dissonance refers to the psychologically uncomfortable existence of conflicting attitudes and behavior which pushes a person to try to reduce it to achieve balance. Individuals, according to Festinger, will seek to resolve the internal inconsistency brought by the conflict between their attitude and their behavior. Since results show that most respondents have self-reported that they had committed plagiarism and at the same time being aware that it is wrong, it has resulted in opposing attitude towards it, thus the “neutral” response was chosen by the majority of the respondents in an attempt to justify their actions and resolve their internal conflict. These results call for the need to reinforce academic honesty among the students and improve their awareness on ethics in terms of respecting intellectual property, as well as how committing plagiarism hinders them from learning.
The respondents’ motivation to plagiarize (negative) or not plagiarize (positive) gives insight into the reasons that prompt them to plagiarize or not plagiarize. Less than two-thirds (62.7%) were categorized as having negative motivations, while the remaining 37.3% had positive motivations. Of all the respondents who had negative motivations, 61% of them indicated “laziness” as their reason for plagiarizing, while 46.5% of those categorized as having positive motivations cited “willingness to learn” as their reason for not committing plagiarism. This suggests that plagiarism is considered “an easy way out” of a task by some respondents, as supported by the responses in the focus-group discussion. This also suggests that students tend to plagiarize because of their unwillingness to work; thus, instructing students to be responsible in accomplishing tasks and work assigned to them and developing their time-management skills in order to spend considerable amount of time for both leisure and working may help in preventing students from succumbing to plagiarism.
In general, the results of the study indicate that it is essential for students to learn more about plagiarism and proper citation practices in using print and online references. At the same time, there is a need to encourage students to observe ethical standards and commit to academic honesty, as well as respect other people’s intellectual property. In addition, helping students develop a positive attitude towards accomplishing tasks will also help the university minimize the incidence of plagiarism, which can be done during orientations at the start of each school year. It is also suggested that the academe should devise concise rules on using references for research papers, assignments, projects and other school works, as well as policies that aim to discourage plagiarism and the courses of action the university will take when a student is found guilty of plagiarism, depending on the severity of the case.
This article is based on the author’s BS Development Communication thesis.
Rojas, Febelle D. (2012). Information exposure and visual representation of flooding by children in selected flood-prone communities in Ormoc City, Leyte. Unpublished BS Development Communication thesis, Visayas State University, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines.
Febelle Dareene D. Rojas
BS Development Communication 2012
Visayas State University
Visca, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines
The magnitude of damages brought about by climate-induced disasters has emphasized the need for information dissemination activities that can help people manage the risks posed by these calamities. This emphasis for dissemination activities is anchored on the fact that effective communication leads people to improve their understanding of the risks, thus leading them to change their attitudes and adopt behavior that can help them reduce the impacts of these risks (Andrey & Mortsch, 2000).
The literature is replete with information showing that communication leads communities to reduce climate change risk effectively. A recent example is a socio-constructivist and experimental study for climate change education that aimed to improve students’ conception on climate change in two coastal communities in Eastern Canada with 39 students from 13-14 years of age. Results indicated that young adolescents improved their ideas about climate change’s diverse dimensions and eventually helped students to identify educational activities that improved their conception (Pruneau, Gravel, Bourque & Langis, 2009). Another example is a study conducted by Mason and Santi (2006) that investigated fifth graders’ changes of conceptions about greenhouse effects and global warming. Utilizing the socio-cognitive interaction developed in small and large group discussions in a classroom setting, results showed that the core learning activity led the children at different levels to the integration of new knowledge into their conceptions on environmental science. In addition, high positive connection was found between conceptual change and metaconceptual awareness of the changes in the representation of the examined occurrence.
Among the targets of the campaigns to reduce flood risks are children. The reason for this bias towards children is that by educating children, knowledge and consciousness can be cultivated at an early age. Not only will they be able to have better understanding on the importance of protecting our planet (Gibb, 2011), but also become better prepared for emergencies.
Haney, Russel and Bebell (2004) proposed that drawings can be a powerful technique in conducting research as the features portrayed in drawings can be coded reliably. Features shown in drawings seem to have some validity as guide of the varieties of individual’s perception. More importantly, student drawings can be involved as a form of contemplation and change far more that what is usually employed as methods in quantitative or even qualitative research (Haney et al, 2004). Drawings from young children seem to have some strength and it is a far more engaging form of inquiry for reflection and change than what are employed by other methods. To prove this, Barraza (1999) noted that children’s drawings are useful tools in providing valuable information for evaluating children’s environmental perceptions where results revealed that children manifest a deep environmental concern from their drawings (37% depicted environmental problems).
Generally, this study aimed to determine respondents’ perception of flooding vulnerability using visual representation. More specifically, it aimed to:
- Find out respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics.
- Determine the respondents’ exposure to information and knowledge of the causes and risks of flooding;
- Determine respondent’s visual representation of flooding and;
- Find out the differences in respondents’ visual representation of flooding as influenced by their age, sex, family income, and exposure to information and knowledge of the causes and risks of flooding.
This study was guided by the constructivist view to understand how elementary pupils perceive flooding. Constructivism, as defined by Guba and Lincoln (1994), is a perception where mental constructions of an individual are based on their social experiences that vary from other individuals or a groups. This theory argues that knowledge and meaning are shaped based on human’s everyday interaction and experiences around his environment. Constructivism, according to Mertens (2005), posits that the way people understand the world is socially constructed. Constructivists believe that same data can have many interpretations, and all of these interpretations are considered significant.
Qualitative research fits snugly well in a constructivist research. Researchers can use a variety of ways in gathering data where participants are given the opportunity to construct their own meaning (Creswell, 2009). In essence, research framed within the constructivist perspective enables researchers to understand and at the same time reconstruct the ideas created by an individual. It intends to have mutual understanding of an interpretation but still open to new information as it develops (Guba & Lincoln, 1994).
For Piaget’s theory, constructivism provides a strong framework for understanding how children do and think at different stages of their development (ackermann, 2001.). According to Piaget, children have their own perceptions of the world different from the adults. However, these views are still logical and considered as strong.
Locale of the study. The study was conducted in three elementary schools in Liloan, San Jose and Sabang Ormoc City, Leyte. The sites were chosen because these are prone to flooding and accessible to transportation. Likewise, these places have been reported to be orderly and peaceful.
The three barangays can be reached by a public utility jeepney. In Ormoc City, these are known as multicab. Travel time to each barangay is approximately 15 min. Farming is the dominant economic activity. Crops grown are sugar cane, vegetable and rice.
Aside from the elementary school, each study site has a church and a basketball court that serve as venue for social gatherings and barangay meetings. Most of the houses have TV antenna, indicating that families have access to television. The communities were said to be flood prone because of the nearby rivers – Bao River, Mas-in River, and Pagsangaan River) that overflow during rainy season.
Respondents. Respondents of this study were Grade 6 pupils in the elementary schools mentioned earlier. Considering the educational system in the Philippines, respondents are between 11-14 years old. According to Monhardt (2003), at this age, children can already explain what they draw.
Research design.This study applied a qualitative research approach. According Garbarino and Holland (2009), qualitative research methods are designed to offer the researcher with the respondents’ perspective through getting involved in their cultural situation and direct interaction with them. This method focused on perceptions, judgments, opinions, explaining meanings and reasons.
Data gathering and procedure. Data were gathered through a questionnaire and drawing sessions. The instrument was composed of the following parts: socio-demographic, knowledge of flooding and experience of flooding. After filling in the last part of the questionnaire, respondents was tasked to draw.
Data were analyzed based on the objectives of the study. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations and ranges was used to describe the socio-demographic characteristics (e. g., age, sex, family income, information exposure) of the respondents.
Data gathered from drawings were then compiled, arranged and categorized according to type and elements of drawings based on Mann’s (1995) procedure. The written descriptions of the drawings were analyzed using content analysis. In determining the significant differences in respondents’ visual representation of flooding as influenced by their age, sex, family income and exposure to information, the chi-square test was used.
Generally, respondents of this study had high exposure to information but had average knowledge of flooding. They experienced flooding annually.
Most of the respondents’ drawing were in preshematic stage. For most of them, rural communities are vulnerable to flooding. Most of them also blame deforestation as the culprit
Respondents’ Experience of Flooding
Almost three-fourths (74.2%) experienced flood annually.Many (91.4%) claimed that they have experienced flooding. Almost half of the respondents (48.2%) said that their latest experience of flooding was in December 2011, during rainy season. About one-third (31.8%) of the respondents reported that the flood destroyed their belongings. More than one-fifth (22.4%) said that the flood destroyed their livestock (e. g. pigs, poultry). Others the flood destroyed their house and their parents were not able to go to work (16.55% each).
Almost half of the respondents (45.3%) stated that whenever there was a flood, they cannot go to school. Almost one-fifth (19.8%) said that their facilities at school were washed out. A little less than one-fifth (18.6%) said the flood scared them and almost the same number reported that they got sick (16.3%).
As for their responses to flooding, almost half of the respondents (48.4%) said that they evacuate to safer areas. A little more than one- fifth (21.5%) said they keep their things safely. Other preparations are preparing canned goods (20.4%) flashlights and listen to radio to keep them updated (20.4%). About the same number (19.4%) said they stay at home.
As for their respective communities, almost two-thirds (64.5%) said they take their appliances to higher places. An almost the same number (60.2%) said they watch or listen to weather forecasts. More than half (53.8%) said they help unclogged their canals and a negligible few (1.1%) evacuate to higher places.
Implication and Recommendation
Respondents’ production of scribble drawings may indicate that this group of children is not yet adept at drawing. Interestingly, however, these respondents produced drawings that somehow reflect their knowledge and experience of flooding. Firstly, most of their drawings portrayed rural areas as communities vulnerable to flooding. This is understandable because: 1) they are all residing in rural areas and 2) unfortunately, they have been experiencing flooding.
In their drawings of the causes of flooding, the dominant factor identified by the respondents is forest denudation. This is interesting because even at this young age, they already know the impact of deforestation. This is good news for environmental advocates: they can tap this knowledge in drumbeating the cause of forest rehabilitation.
Most of the respondents in this study reported that they have not heard information of flooding in their classes. This is rather sad considering the need for our children to be aware of the causes and risks of flooding and be prepared for any eventuality. There is a need to examine how teachers integrate environmental messages in their classes especially information on flooding. It can be that they lack skills and knowledge of the topic or thy lack instructional materials to facilitate teaching lessons on flooding. A core, strategic intervention to develop teachers’ skills in integrating the lessons on flooding and development of instructional materials should be designed.
Recommendation for Further Study
The inability to find significant differences in the drawings could be due to the small sample size in this study. It is, therefore, recommended that a similar study with bigger sample be conducted to enrich our understanding of children’s drawings and children’s visual representation of flooding. This study involved respondents from the rural areas. Unfortunately, residents in urban centers are also victims of flooding. It is, therefore, worth exploring the differences between children in the urban and rural areas in terms of their visual representation in flooding.
Other techniques to elicit young children’s perceptions of environmental problems are also rich areas for research on visual representation. These areas may be on environmental sanitation, landslides, drought, and other environmental catastrophes. Now that some of the communication materials on natural disaster preparedness are being geared towards children, it is important that we understand clearly children’s meanings of these phenomena.
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