Experimental and expository modes of instruction applied to content pertaining to the elderly: a quasi-experimental study of secondary home economics students in El Paso



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Texas Tech University


The purpose of the study was to compare the effect of the expository and experiential modes of instruction on adolescents' knowledge of and attitudes toward the elderly. The content was about aging, based on the curriculum module. Enhancing Intergenerational Contact developed by Ralston (1986). For each mode, a unit of instruction, including seven lessons, was developed by the researcher and validated by a panel of experts. The experiential unit of instruction and the instrument were pilot tested the Fall of 1990. The instrument used for the study incorporated: Kogan's Attitude toward Old People Scale; Palmore's Facts on Aging Quiz; and Ralston's Experiences with an Older Person.

The design utilized three natural groups which made up the two treatment groups and one control group. Treatment or no treatment was randomly assigned to the three groups, then the type of treatment was randomly assigned to the two treatment groups. The treatment consisted of receiving the expository or experiential mode of instruction for a unit taught by the classroom teacher for seven consecutive school days. The three groups were assessed with the pretest administered early November, 1990, and with a posttest administered mid December, 1990, immediately following instruction. The treatment groups were assessed again, in late February, 1991, at the end of the retention interval.

Three Home Economics Cooperative Education programs in El Paso, Texas, made up the sample of 121 adolescents: control 41, expository 34, and experiential 46. The groups were determined to have no significant differences on a test of variance. Therefore, the analysis of variance, two-way analysis of variance, t-test, and paired t-test were used to compare the means of the groups. The Pearson product-moment correlation was used to determine test-retest reliability of the results of each section of the instrument, as well as determine to relationships between independent and dependent variables.

The significant findings were: (1) Instruction effected knowledge; (2) Experiential instruction was superior in the acquisition and retention of knowledge; and (3) Shared experiences with the elderly effected knowledge of the elderly. The researcher recommended replication of the study with other populations.