Impact of a dissonance-based intervention strategy upon teacher's attitudes toward equal opportunity of education for Mexican American students

Date

1979

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Abstract

This study presented and tested the effectiveness of an intervention strategy expressly designed to bring about change in teacher attitudes toward education opportunities for bilingual students. The intervention strategy employed dissonance procedures. The purpose of the study was to determine whether attitudes toward equal opportunities for education of bilingual.students could be altered as a consequence of revealing to the teachers inconsistencies in their own attitudes and values, of which they presumably were unaware. A preliminary instrumentation study was conducted at the University of Houston, College of Education, with 161 education students serving as subjects. For this study, a normative attitude scale was developed to assess teachers' opinions regarding various perspectives of education provided for Mexican American students. This was accomplished by modifying a scale employed by Baty (1972) so that it would better agree with psychometric principles, and be adaptable to the population under study in this research. Next, the similarity between the Rokeach Terminal Value Scale, an ipsative measure, and the modified attitude scale was determined by establishing the mutual information afforded by both the attitude scale and the Rokeach Terminal Value Scale. At the outset, it was expected that a serious design flaw in the experiments of Rokeach, notably that of confounding instrumentation assessing the dependent variable with procedures he had employed to operationalize the independent variable, could be averted if the degree to which the normative attitude scale was interchangeable with the ipsative value instrumentation employed by Rokeach could be determined. At the conclusion of the preliminary study, it was determined that the two instruments were not associated with one another. The subjects for the intervention strategy study were 104 certified elementary teachers. The purpose of this study was to measure the attitude change of teachers toward Mexican American students for each of two groups, one receiving the intervention strategy, and the other receiving no intervention. The dependent variables were measures of change in teachers' attitudes for each of seven subscales identified in the attitude scale. Essentially, the intervention strategy study examined the impact of the intervention strategy on attitudinal change. A discriminant analysis was conducted between the two groups comparing the changes that occurred in the seven attitudinal subscales. The two groups were distinguishable in terms of changes on only two of the seven attitudinal subscales. The results showed that the intervention strategy group was significantly differentiated from the non-intervention group in that "Favorable School Practices Regarding Mexican American Students," and "Teacher Beliefs Concerning the Control of Education for Mexican American Students," exhibited attitude change. Mean differences on "Favorable School Practices Regarding Mexican American Students," were in the direction anticipated; the group receiving intervention exhibited significantly more favorable attitude change than the non-intervention group. Thus, the intervention strategy appeared to have increased the attitude when compared, to the control. On "Teacher Control of Education for Mexican American Students," the mean change was negative for the experimental group, and positive for the control group. The intervention strategy, in this case,, appeared to have decreased the attitude of "Teacher Control of Education for Mexican American Students;" that is, teachers undergoing the intervention are more desirable of parental and other outside influence in the education of Mexican American students.

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Keywords

Mexican Americans, Students, Bilingual, Biases

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