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A study of the effect of teaching method on the growth of logical thought with special reference to the teaching of history

Hallam, Roy Norman (1975) A study of the effect of teaching method on the growth of logical thought with special reference to the teaching of history. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The thesis begins with an explanation of the Piagetian background to the research together with a survey of a number of training experiments. After relating the aims and methods of the research to a simple plan of the curriculum an examination of the possible relationships between history, history as taught in schools, and the Piagetian framework is outlined. The major part of the thesis is concerned with an attempt, through empirical work in classrooms, to develop the logical thinking of primary and secondary pupils. Using criteria derived from Piaget's developmental theory of intelligence children aged 9-10 years and 13-14 years were assessed through the clinical technique on their responses to a number of questions on historical passages at the beginning and at the end of a school year. In each age range two classes were taught history for one school year by the investigator, one in a "traditional" manner and the other in an "experimental" manner. There were non-taught control classes for the two ads ranges, one for the primary and two for the secondary pupils. In order to make the numbers at each age level comparable the final samples consisted of fourteen boys and fourteen girls in each of the primary groups with thirteen boys and thirteen girls in each of the secondary groups. Each pupil was also assessed individually before and at the end of the school year on two Piagetian experiments, equilibrium in the balance and the combination of colourless liquids. Analysis of covariance was used to discover whether the teaching techniques had made any significant difference to the nature of the children's responses on the passages after the year's teaching. The stability of the level of response across the different historical passages and across the historical passages and two Piagetian experiments was also analysed. The rececrch further involved a consideration of the children's moral judgments on certain selected questions and an examination of some variables which may be associated with children's thinking in history such as reading ability (primary pupils), measured intelligence, social class and personality characteristics. Some spoken replies of the secondary pupils were analysed against written replies. Using the Osgood Differential technique an assessment was made of the secondary pupils' attitudes towards concepts associated with the teaching of history. The data obtained from these and other measures were submitted to factor analysis for each of the two age groups. The major results are as follows: (1) The primary boys in the experimental group reached significantly higher levels of thinking after a year's teaching than did the boys in the traditional and control groups on (a) the "taught" story and (b) the three stories used as criterion passages, two of which were not taught. (2) The primary girls in the experimental group reached significantly higher levels of thinking after a year's teaching than did the girls in the traditional and control groups on the "taught" story. A similar result occurred only against the girls of the control group when the average scores on the three stories were used in an analysis of covariance. (3) The only significant gains made by the secondary pupils occurred (a) when the scores of the boys in the experimental group on the "taught" story were covariated against the scores of the boys in one of the two control groups and, (b) when the average scores of the three stories for the boys in the traditionally taught group were covariated against the scores of the boys in the other of the control groups. (4) Friedman's two way analysis of variance showed that the stories presented similar levels of difficulty on the first occasion of testing; this was true for both the primary and the secondary groups. On the second occasion, however, at both age levels the subjects in the taught groups tended to answer the "taught" stories at a higher level than the two "non-taught" stories used in the initial assessment. (5) Kendall's coefficient of concordance indicated that the pupils at both age levels maintained similar positions in relation to each other more across the historical passages than when the pupils' average scores on the historical passages were analysed against scores on the two Piagetian tasks. There were, however, moderate degrees of consistency across the three measures, that is, history and the Piagetian tasks, for both the primary and tho secondary subjects. (6) The Osgood Semantic technique seemed to show that the pupils in general remained favourably disposed towards history, with a significant improvement for the boys in the traditionally taught group on "History in School" and "Visiting historic Places". The thesis concludes with a discussion of the results at the two age levels together with an examination of some possible implications of the findings for the teaching of history and further research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Education (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2010 13:40
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 10:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/975

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