Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
James P. Shaver
Purpose of the Study
This study sought to determine if teacher education students in two institutions of higher education were more authoritarian or closed minded than students in other fields of study . In addition, the study was designed to explore the relationship of other variables--sex, religious affiliation, church attendance, and city size and state of child residency-- to open-closed mindedness.
Methods and Procedures
Participating in this study were 1049 junior and senior students from Utah State University and 837 subjects from Weber State College. Subjects were primarily from a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) subculture. All subjects were administered the F Scale and Rokeach's D Scale as instruments for measuring authoritarianism and dogmatism, respectively.
Two major hypotheses and 17 minor hypotheses concerning three general types of variables--personal characteristics , demographic background data, and educational characteristics---were tested.
Analysis of covariance, simple and factorial, was used to analyze the data. The analyses were computed by the general least squares solution, which permitted adjustment for unequal cell frequencies . Differences between pairs of means were tested for significance using linear comparisons.
Findings and Conclusions
Differences among the mean D and F Scale scores for the various academic areas were found to be significant. Students majoring in academic areas generally considered to be humanistically oriented tended to be significantly less authoritarian than those students in academic areas organized around skills or "thingism" (e.g. , social science majors were less closed minded than engineering, business and math-science majors). In addition, in analyses using only students planning to receive secondary certificates, significant differences were found among the academic majors for both the D and F scales at USU, but not at WSC.
When all students planning to teach--regardless of subject area--were categorized as one major--education--they were generally no more closed minded than any other major. Also, when prospective secondary education teachers were compared with their non-teaching counterparts in the same academic major, the differences were generally not significant.
The study considered the relationship of certain variables to the D and F Scale scores. Sex was found to be related to the D and F Scale scores. Differences between males and females were significant (p<.OOl) at both institutions and for both scales. However, elementary or secondary males did not differ from their female counterparts at USU on either scale, although at WSC, male elementary and male secondary subjects were significantly more dogmatic than their female counterparts.
City size and the state of residency in which subjects grew up, as well as church attendance, were significantly related to D and F Scale scores at USU . However, these factors were generally not significant for WSC subjects. In addition, church attendance and religious preference interactions were significant for the USU subjects.
The results of this study suggest that education majors are not more closed minded than students in other college fields. In addition, the findings indicate that D and F Scale scores are not independent of such variables as sex, major, religion, church attendance, geographical location of childhood residency--city size and state--and even the institution of higher education attended, and these variables should be taken into account in research designs. The factorial analysis of covariance using a general least squares solution seems particularly appropriate because it also allows adjustments for unequal frequencies which frequently occur in sampling studies such as this one.
Taking into account in research and statistical design the variables used in this study would help to eliminate inconsistent, uninterpretable findings and build a cumulative body of knowledge about the open-closed mindedness of teachers .
Low, W. Blair, "Open-Closed Mindedness of Students in Teacher Education and in Other College Fields" (1971). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 3024.
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