EVALUATION, ATTITUDES, AND RETENTION OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FOLLOWING EXPOSURE TO A PHYSICALLY STIGMATIZED COMMUNICATOR

DENISE JOYCE MANGUS-PRISTAS, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated student attitudes, evaluations of lessons, learning and retention following exposure to disabled versus non-disabled communicator/teachers. It was presumed that disabled communicators would be viewed differently thereby effecting student learning.^ Subjects consisted of 180 male and female students enrolled in 10th grade health education classes from three suburban high schools. Subjects were exposed to a film and lesson on cigarette smoking presented by a communicator who either simulated a physical disability or appeared disability-free. He appeared as an arm amputee in one school, a wheelchair-bound individual in a second school, and a non-disabled individual in a third school. Following the film and lesson, subjects rated the communicator (Attitude Toward Communicator Scale) and lesson (Evaluation of Lesson Content Scale). On the following day, subjects were given a learning achievement test (Cigarette Information Learning Achievement Test) based on the film and lesson. Two weeks later, subjects were retested for retention achievement (Cigarette Information Retention Achievement Test).^ Results indicated that students exposed to the wheelchair-bound communicator had more positive attitudes (p < .05) toward the communicator than students exposed to the non-disabled communicator. Amputee exposure groups demonstrated attitudes which were in a more positive direction, although not significant. There were no significant sex differences in attitude ratings. Communicator lesson ratings were not significantly different between conditions or sexes. However, there was a significant sex x condition interaction (p < .05) wherein females gave more positive lesson ratings to non-disabled as opposed to disabled communicators. The Attitude Toward Communicator Scale correlated positively (p < .05) with the Evaluation of Lesson Content Scale except for wheelchair condition females wherein no relationship was found between the scales. Cigarette Information Learning Achievement scores were not significantly different between conditions or sexes.^ In terms of retention, amputee condition groups retained a significantly higher level (p < .05) of information than wheelchair or disability-free exposure groups. Cigarette Information Learning Achievement was significantly higher (p < .05) than Cigarette Information Retention Achievement.^ Findings suggested that physically disabled teachers may promote sustained learning as well as foster positive student attitudes. It was recommended that more disabled teachers, especially arm or leg amputees, be hired within the educational system. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

MANGUS-PRISTAS, DENISE JOYCE, "EVALUATION, ATTITUDES, AND RETENTION OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FOLLOWING EXPOSURE TO A PHYSICALLY STIGMATIZED COMMUNICATOR" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8308482.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8308482

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