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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


RANCICH, Ana María; FERRARINI, Stella Ofelia  and  PALMA, Néstor Hornero. A teaching-learning experiment: the change of beliefs and conduct in the treatment of drinking-water. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1989, vol.23, n.3, pp.183-188. ISSN 1518-8787.

It was studied a change in the children's beliefs and behaviour with regard to their handling of drinking-water by using a teaching-learning experience by means of microscopic observation of polluted water. A structured pre-test and a post-test on problem-solving were administered to 63 6th and 7th grade elementary school children (28 boys and 35 girls). An of these children came from an underprivileged population in the north of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their average age was of 12 years 8 months and SD = 1 year 1 month. Each adequate aspect of their behaviour scored one point: hygiene and protection of containers for collection and storage, water treatment (boiling or the addition of chlorine) and the conservation period. The best beliefs ("to avoid the water contamination that produces illness") scored two points. The number of pupils that changed their beliefs and behaviour in the post-test was established and the significant difference was found by means of Chi square test (X2). The children did not, in general, improve their behaviour or beliefs. They maintained adequate hygienic behaviour, but did not put into practice the protection of the containers used for the collection. Behaviour regarding storage was still inadequate. The pupils did acquire correct behaviour as regards treatment by the boiling of water or the addition of chlorine (P < 0.01). However, the beliefs involved did not change. Thirty percent of the pupils showed all the correct steps in the handling of drinking-water and 18% only failed to refer to the protection of the container in the post-test. The next educational actions must reinforce adequate hygienic behaviour and the addition of chlorine and change the inadequate behaviour regarding the protection of containers and the conservation period and sustain these procedures, with regard to contamination in general.

Keywords : Health education; Knowledge [attitudes, practice]; Water.

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