The global understanding of selected elementary education majors: A study of the effects of preservice education on knowledge, attitudes, and teacher practice
This study employed a quasi-experimental, post-test only, control group design to investigate the effects of pre-service education on the global understanding of elementary education majors, and the attitudes and classroom practice of selected elementary teachers. The study required the use of two samples. The first consisted of senior elementary education majors. Forty-four in the experimental group were randomly selected from four institutions which have infused global education into their required curriculum and forty-eight in the control group from institutions which require no global education. The second sample was drawn from among graduates of the same institutions who are currently teaching in grades one through six. This convenience sample was divided into an experimental group of twenty-three and a control group of thirty-one. Their global understanding was assessed using Measures of Global Understanding distributed by the Educational Testing Service. Analysis using one-tailed t-tests at.05 alpha revealed no statistically significant differences between the scores of those in the experimental and control groups. It is not clear that the infusion of global education into the pre-service curriculum has any effect on participants' global understanding, but what is apparent is that these elementary education majors know little about international affairs. The researcher also sought to determine if the global content of the undergraduate program affected graduates' attitudes toward global education and its inclusion in their teaching. A comparison of the mean scores of the experimental and control groups on a researcher-designed measure of their opinions concerning the importance of including global education in elementary classrooms revealed important differences in attitudes. Those teachers who had studied global education as undergraduates felt more positively about including it in the curriculum. However, an examination of teachers' reports of their classroom practice uncovered no such difference in the behavior of the two groups. Finally, multiple regression analysis was used to determine the strength of the relationship between teachers' global understanding and their attitudes toward, and inclusion of, global education in their own teaching. Both global education attitudes and practice are positively correlated to global understanding.