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Effects of the unit "Indians in transition" upon the attitudes of white high school students towards Indians Lefroy, Mark Stephen

Abstract

The study examines the problem of attitude measurement, with specific reference to the effectiveness of a book Indians in Transition prescribed for use in British Columbia secondary schools. The treatment consisted of an ordered one month classroom exposure to the three sections of the book, which roughly follow the Canada Studies Foundation recommended format of: statement of the problem, roots of the problem, and possible solutions to the problem. Rationale for predicting a positive change in attitude largely derived from the writings of Hovland and Fishbeln, and demonstrable parallels between their theories and the materials in Indians in Transition. The design was a randomized intact groups assigned to experimental and control modes, post-test only format, involving a sample of some three hundred lower mainland secondary students. Control groups did not receive a related Indian-based treatment, but were engaged 1n studies of a neutral nature—the regular exploration unit of the grade 10 curriculum. This introduced a possible "Hawthorne" effect, but was unavoidable due to the absence of any other specifically attitude-oriented program dealing with Indian problems on any systemized basis. The other major problem appeared to be a lack of strict definition and control over the application of the treatment. However this problem, which derived in part from the practical, non-laboratory nature of the study, did not prevent significant findings, and thus perhaps serves to emphasize the usefulness of this material in a wide range of classroom situations. It was necessary to develop a new instrument for the study. This was a Thurstone type scale based loosely upon an earlier general scale by Remmers. It was tested for sensitivity by means of validity and reliability tests and was found satisfactory. Significant difference was found at the .05 level between experimental and control groups, and thus it was concluded that groups of students subjected to a Continuing Concerns approach unit on Canadian Indians demonstrate a more positive attitude toward Indians than do groups of students following the regular curriculum.

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