The difference between field independent and field dependent individuals in their tendencies to acquire information through observational learning

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1976

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Abstract

This study was an investigation of the difference between field independent and field dependent individuals in their tendency to acquire information through observational learning. The primary purpose was to clarify the dynamics of the influence of modeling on the learner. A second purpose was to emphasize the effectiveness of observational learning as a teacher training strategy. A third purpose was to identify those components of the modeling treatment which are most influential for a particular cognitive style, as well as, those components of the model which are least influential for a particular cognitive style. The subjects included in this study were 35 inservice teachers. These teachers were employed in the greater Houston area and enrolled in graduate courses at University of Houston. Two criterion measurement instruments were administered to each of the subjects who participated in the study. These measurement instruments were the Group Embedded Figures Test (GEFT) and a stardard rating form used inconjunction with a videotaped lesson. The GEFT was employed to measure the dimension of cognitive style identified as field independence-dependence of each subject. The standard rating form was employed to rate the degree of imitation of the videotaped lesson by each subject. Upon completion of the GEFT, each subject viewed a six minute videotaped lesson which showed a model teacher teaching a linear math concept. After viewing the videotaped lesson, the subject moved to an area organized like the environment observed on the tape. In the area like the one presented in the videotaped lesson, the subject taught the linear math concept which he had seen the model teach. The teaching of the linear math concept by the subject was according to the instructions previously given in the videotaped lesson. A panel of three raters pinpointed the behaviors presented in the videotaped lesson which each subject modeled. The difference in the performance of field dependent and field independent inservice teachers on an observational learning task was measured by a Mann Whitney U Test. The level of significance for all three questions under consideration in this study was set at .05. The results of this procedure indicated that there was a significant difference between field independent and field dependent inservice teachers in the tendency to model a videotaped lesson. Field dependent inservice teachers were rated as having modeled more than field independent inservice teachers. According to the findings of this study, field dependent inservice teachers tended to acquire more information through observational learning than the field independent inservice teacher. Field dependent inservice teachers tended to model both the auditory and visual aspects of a videotaped lesson more than field independent inservice teachers.

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