Can Television Make A Difference In Humane Education?
This article summarizes a study of the affect of watching television (“The Warmblooded Sea: Mammals of the Sea”) on children’s knowledge of and attitudes toward marine animals. The results suggest that a single program can be effective in increasing knowledge about animals and changing attitudes, at least in the short term.
In this study, two classes of 9th grade science students were shown the Jacques Cousteau television documentary, “The Warmblooded Sea: Mammals of the Deep.” Three classes were taught the contents of the program by their regular science teacher, without the video. Both groups were given pre- and post-tests (one immediately after the program and another two weeks later) to assess their knowledge of the subject matter.
This study found that both classes showed significant improvement from pre- to post-tests, although on attitude questions the classes that watched the program showed significant improvement, while the others did not. This suggests that impressions created by the television program through visual images, music, etc. may have stimulated a more effective emotional response than listening to the material via the teacher.
On the delayed post test, the scores decreased for both control groups, although the positive attitudes noted immediately after the program by those who had seen the program did not manifest on this later test. The results suggest that a single program can be effective in increasing knowledge about animals and changing attitudes in the short term, but these changes may not persist.