Title

The effect of participation in a Project WILD workshop on the attitude of preservice elementary teachers toward teaching science

Date of Award

1991

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Hampton Wiliams

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

This was an experimental design research study with random assignment of two out of five undergraduate science classes to a treatment of participation in a six-hour Project WILD workshop. The subjects were 68 preservice elementary teachers attending the University of Southern Mississippi in the summer of 1991. Subjects were pretested and posttested on attitudes toward teaching science using the instrument, Expressed Attitudes Toward Teaching Science (Haury, 1984). Following statistical treatment of the data using analysis of covariance, the researcher accepted the hypothesis that there would be significant improvement in attitudes of preservice teachers in south Mississippi toward teaching science following participation in a Project WILD workshop. Other findings related to hypotheses based on theories of attitude and attitude change supported the researcher's predictions that a persuasive message would cause the treatment group's general support of science instruction to improve, and the three components of attitude toward teaching science (support, aspiration, and anxiety) as conceptualized and operationalized by the instrument would be related. In summation, the researcher commended universities that have incorporated Project WILD and similar instructional programs in their science education curricula for preservice elementary teachers. Recommendations were made, similar to Shrigley, Koballa, & Simpson's (1988), that called for greater control of a myriad of variables possibly related to the change in attitude. Until such research is done, support for theories of attitude change will suffer from an insufficient amount of studies done with precise controls.