Action Research Examining the Relationship between Television Content and Attention Span in 4-5 year old African American Children. Christina Oprah Gadson Research in Curriculum & Teaching Dr. Vinetta C. Jones Spring 2009
Contents Introduction: Statement of the Research Purpose Review of Literature Statement of the Hypothesis Methodology: Participants Instruments Experimental Design Procedure Data Analysis References
Statement of the Research Purpose The purpose of this study is to specifically look at the correlation between the content, being violent and non-violent programming, and attention span in early childhood education. *For this specific study, educational programming will fall under the “non-violent” category.
The topic explored in this literature search is the affects of television exposure in early childhood on the child’s subsequent attention capabilities and overall school success. This topic is an essential component in the necessary renovation for the present condition of the educational system. Review of Literature
The specific objective of this article was to test the hypothesis that early television exposure is associated with attentional problems. This research study investigated early exposure to television and the association with subsequent attentional problems. The results found that ten percent of the children had attentional problems later in their childhood. Christakis, Zimmerman, DiGiuseppe, and McCarty (2004)
This study examined 4 and 5 year old children to determine if the amount of television viewed and the content of program they are exposed to, affect their ability to attend to educational tasks. The hypothesis proposed that: Television shows that are fast paced cause children to have lower abilities to attend to tasks, spend less time on tasks, and engage in more rough and tumble play than shows that are more passive and slow paced. The research aimed to discover whether watching these television programs would affect the children’s time on task and/or time they spent engaged in an activity. The research results concluded that there is in fact a correlation between the network television program viewed and attentional problems. Geist (2000)
The articles draw a basic conclusion that children’s television viewing hinders their academic achievement by reducing certain traits that relate to school success. In closing, children who watch more television than recommended, tend to have more impulsive behavior, which may result in an eventual decrease in their academic achievement. Conclusion
Students who view non-violent television content have a greater attention span than students who view violent television content. More specifically, students who view the non-violent television content will score better on the three assessments administered than students who view the violent television content. Statement of the Hypothesis
Participants Children included in this study are part of the Howard University Early Learning Program located in Washington, DC. The children were recruited for this study based on a cluster sample. The target population for this study is African American children aged 4-5 years. The accessible population is primarily African American and Hispanic children age 4-5 years in the Pre-K and Kindergarten level. There are two mixed-age classrooms at the Howard University Early Learning Program (HUELP). *There are a total of 30 students, Group A and B have 15 students each. *There are 18 girls and 12 boys; of the 30 students 16 are 4-years-old and 14 are 5-years-old. *The students enrolled at HUELP come from middle class families. The majority of the children’s parents have received a Bachelor’s degree or above.
Instruments The effects of television content will be determined by using age appropriate videos. One of the videos will contain violent content and the other will contain non-violent content. An example of violent content is The Looney Tunes and an example of non-violent content is The Aristocats. Level of attention span will be determined by using three small tests created by the researcher. Rubrics will be developed by the teachers and researchers.
Experimental Design The sample will be a cluster sample of 30 participants. Student will be randomly placed into pairs. Each pair will participate in 2 sessions; the first session will be viewing non-violent content and the second session will be viewing violent content. The tests administered and other materials will be designed collaboratively by the researcher and the teacher.. Session A: Non-violent Content Session B: Violent Content Session A – Assessment – Session B – Assessment
Procedure The first session, Session A, will consist of viewing content that is non-violent for 15 minutes. When the video is over, the students will begin their test sessions. In order to test attention span, this study will focus on 3 main areas of attention span: recall, following direction, and problem solving. Each test will demonstrate the level to which students are able to complete tasks.
Test 1 The first test requires the students to view a model created with blocks and mimic the model. Students will be given one minute to view the model; once the model is taken down, the students will be timed as they attempt to rebuild the model. This demonstrates the student’s ability to recall.
Test 2 Test two will require student to listen to the examiner as they give directions in order to illustrate how well they are able to follow directions. Students will be provided with a piece of paper and a pencil to draw a picture. The examiner will give specific directions for the student to follow (for example: draw a circle, about the size of a quarter, at the top of the paper on the right hand side, color it in.) * Let’s try it…
Test 3 In test three, the examiner will look to see how well the children are able to problem solve. The children will receive a list of categories, (for example: birds, shapes, numbers, clothing, etc.) the students will be timed and observed as they place the different cards in the category they belong to. When students place items in the wrong category, the researcher will note the mistake and encourage the child to try again. There will be a larger amount of cards and the students will be given the option to stop whenever they choose.
Session B Once the 15 groups of students have all completed Session A, the first group will participate in Session B- viewing violent content. The other groups will follow. Session B will consist of 15 minutes viewing a video with violent content. Subsequent to the viewing, the three tests given after Session A will be administered following Session B.
* One limitation of this study is the student’s behavior and overall motivation. The assessment may not be valid if the students have little or no motivation. * Also, it is important that students are not paired with another child that may distract them. * It is also important to observe the student’s behavior prior to beginning the study in order to determine the accuracy of their participation. Limitations
Data Analysis The statistical test for significance that will be used is a t – Test for independent samples. The t – Test is a parametric test of significance that is used to determine if there is a significant difference between the means of two independent samples. I will use the average scores for each of the three tests and try to find if there is a real, significant difference between the average scores of the two groups. I will use a one– tailed test.
Certain, L., & Kahn, R. (2002, April). Prevalence, Correlates, and Trajectory of Television Viewing Among Infants and Toddlers. Pediatrics, 109(4), 634. Christakis, D., Zimmerman, F., DiGiuseppe, D., & McCarty, C. (2004). Early Television Exposure and Subsequent Attentional Problems in Children. Pediatrics, 113, 708-713. Clarke, A., & Kurtz-Costes, B. (1997, May). Television viewing, educational quality of the home environment, and school readiness. Journal of Educational Research, 90(5), 279. Crawley, A., & Anderson, D. (1999, December). Effects of repeated exposures to a single episode of the television program Blue's Clues on the Viewing Behaviors and Comprehension of Preschool Children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(4), 630. Ennemoser, M., & Schneider, W. (2007, May). Relations of Television Viewing and Reading: Findings From a 4-Year Longitudinal Study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(2), 349-368.
Geist, E. (2000). The effect of network and public television programs on four and five year olds' ability to attend to educational tasks. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 27(4), 250-262. Gortmaker, S., Salter, C., Walker, D., & Dietz Jr., W. (1990, Winter90). THE IMPACT OF TELEVISION VIEWING ON MENTAL APTITUDE AND ACHIEVEMENT: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY. Public Opinion Quarterly, 54(4), 594-604. Landhuis, C., Poulton, R., Welch, D., & Hancox, R. (2007, September). Does Childhood Television Viewing Lead to Attention Problems in Adolescence? Results From a Prospective Longitudinal Study. Pediatrics, 120(3), 532-537. Mistry, K., Minkovitz, C., Strobino, D., & Borzekowski, D. (2007, October). Children's Television Exposure and Behavioral and Social Outcomes at 5.5 Years: Does Timing of Exposure Matter?. Pediatrics, 120(4), 762-769. Plomin, R., Corley, R., DeFries, J., & Fulker, D. (1990, November). INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN TELEVISION VIEWING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD: Nature as Well as Nurture. Psychological Science, 1(6), 371-377. Sigman, A. (2007, February). Visual voodoo: the biological impact of watching TV. (Cover story). Biologist, 54(1), 12-17.
Shin, N. (2004, December). Exploring Pathways From Television Viewing to Academic Achievement in School Age Children. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 165(4), 367-381. Stevens, T., & Mulsow, M. (2006, March). There Is No Meaningful Relationship Between Television Exposure and Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Pediatrics, 117(3), 665-672. Thompson, D., & Christakis, D. (2005, October). The Association Between Television Viewing and Irregular Sleep Schedules Among Children Less Than 3 Years of Age. Pediatrics, 116(4), 851-856. Zimmerman, F., & Christakis, D. (2007, November). Associations Between Content Types of Early Media Exposure and Subsequent Attentional Problems. Pediatrics, 120(5), 986-992.