Effect(s) of traditional versus learning-styles instructional methods on seventh-grade students' achievement, attitudes, empathy and transfer of skills through a study of the Holocaust / Rhonda Dawn Farkas.
This research examined the relationships among seventh-grade students' achievement scores, attitudes toward instructional approaches, empathy scales, and transfer of skills between traditional versus multisensory instruction. The dependent variables for this investigation were gain scores on achievement and empathy posttests, scores on an attitudinal survey, and weighted average scores obtained from transfer tasks. The independent variable was the instructional methodology employed. The sample consisted of 105 heterogeneously grouped, seventh-grade students. The Learning Style Inventory (LSI) (Dunn, Dunn, & Price, 2000) was administered to determine learning-style preferences. The Control Group was taught lessons about the Holocaust using a traditional teaching method and the Experimental Group was taught the same content using multisensory instructional resources. The Semantic Differential Scale (SDS) (Pizzo, 1981) was administered to reveal attitudinal differences. The Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES) (Mehrabian, 2000) was administered to reveal empathetic differences. Finally, Form A of the Moral Judgment Interview (Kohlberg, 1987) was administered to determine transfer of skills. The traditional approach included reading from a textbook, graphic organizers, and responding to questions in small groups and independently. The multisensory approach included five instructional stations established in different sections of the classroom to permit students to learn by reading text; manipulating Flip Chutes; assembling Task Cards; using Pic-A-Holes; using Electroboards; reading a Programmed Learning Sequence; using a Contract Activity Package; and engaging in a kinesthetic Floor Game activity. Audiotapes and scripts were provided at each station and students circulated among the stations in groups of four to six. The data subjected to statistical analyses supported the implementation of a multisensory rather than a traditional approach for teaching lessons of the Holocaust. T-tests revealed a positive and statistically significant impact on achievement scores (p < .001). Significance was revealed on students' gain scores on the empathy scale when taught through a multisensory approach (p < .001). More positive attitudes were revealed when students were instructed with a multisensory approach ( p < .001) and significance was revealed on the transfer of skills when students were instructed through a multisensory instructional method (p < .001). Moderate to extremely strong effect sizes and correlation coefficients were revealed for each dependent variable.
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