Journal of Technology Education


JTE Editor: Mark Sanders

Volume 3, Number 1
Fall 1991


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Perceptions and Practices of Technology Student Association Advisors on
Implementation Strategies and Teaching Methods
 
                       V. William  DeLuca
                     William J. Haynie, III
 
               Two of the most significant impacts on
          the industrial arts profession since the
          1960s have been the gradual evolution of the
          technology education movement and the inte-
          gration of the co-curricular student
          organization: the Technology Student Associ-
          ation (TSA). TSA began as the American Indus-
          trial Arts Student Association (AIASA) and
          has recently changed its name to reflect the
          new curricular emphasis on technology.  In
          1981, less than one-third of one percent of
          the students in industrial arts courses actu-
          ally joined AIASA (Haynie, 1983). There were
          about 7 million industrial arts students, but
          only 21,600 were members of the student or-
          ganization (Applegate, 1981). Currently there
          are about 6 million students in technology
          education courses of which 65,000 (about 1%)
          are members of TSA.  These data indicate that
          TSA membership has tripled during the 1980s.
          This student organization is becoming an im-
          portant facet of the technology education
          movement.
               Research efforts on extracurricular ac-
          tivities have focused on the relationship of
          participation with students' emotional and
          academic development.  Haensly, Lupkowski,
          and Edling (1986) studied the role of extra-
          curricular activities as they relate to per-
          sonal and social development, and to academic
          achievement.  They concluded that extracur-
          ricular activities provide an important con-
          text for social, emotional and academic
          development. The positive effect of student
          organizations on academic performance was
          also supported by Camp (1987) who found that
          participation in vocational student organiza-
          tions produced a positive contribution to
          student achievement.
               Social and personal development is also
          enhanced by participation in extracurricular
          activities. Carter & Neason (1984) and
          Townsend (1981) found a relationship between
          vocational student organization participation
          and results on scales of personal develop-
          ment. Students who participated in vocational
          student organizations often had a higher
          socioeconomic status and higher self-esteem
          (Collins, 1977). Other research has shown
          that school activities are positively related
          to enhanced self-concept (Yarworth &
          Gauthier, 1978), increased social status
          among peers (Spady, 1970), and greater satis-
          faction with school (Nover, 1981).
               These studies focused on determining the
          effect of student organizations on students'
          achievement and socialization. They clearly
          describe the positive effect of student or-
          ganizations in this realm, however, no
          studies were found which examined the effect
          of student organizations on teacher-student
          interaction in a laboratory environment. With
          technology education in its infancy, it is
          important to determine the effects of co-
          curricular and extra-curricular activities
          and organizations on the total technology ed-
          ucation program. This study sought to iden-
          tify characteristics of technology education
          programs with a TSA component and the re-
          lationship between participation by a teach-
          er's classes in co-curricular organizations
          and the teaching methods used by technology
          teachers.
 
                           METHODOLOGY
          SAMPLE
               The sample for this study consisted of
          TSA advisors in attendance at the 1989 Na-
          tional Technology Education Student Associ-
          ation Leadership Conference in Winston-Salem,
          North Carolina, June 19 - 25, 1989. Each
          school attending the conference was required
          to have at least one advisor in attendance.
          Though some schools brought more than one ad-
          visor, only one was required to complete the
          registration process for the entire school.
          The survey was conducted during registration
          while advisors waited in line. This approach
          insured maximum participation and resulted in
          the receipt of 102 usable response forms.
 
          INSTRUMENTATION
               A 33 item questionnaire was developed by
          the researchers for this study. Responses
          were recorded on mark-sense answer sheets.
          The first 9 items were designed to measure
          the characteristics of participant's technol-
          ogy education program and the ways in which
          they implement their student organization
          chapters. Specifically, items asked when and
          where TSA functions were conducted and as-
          sessed TSA advisors' perceptions of the
          change to technology education. Item 9 re-
          quired advisors to select the term which best
          described the type of lab in which they teach
          from 6 choices.
               The remaining 24 items were used to
          identify frequently used teaching methods and
          differences in methodologies as a function of
          implementation of the co-curricular approach.
          These items used a five point Likert scale:
          most frequently (A) to never (E).  Missing
          responses were ignored in all cases except in
          Item 9 which used "no response" to indicate
          that the program was housed in an "integrated
          general (multipurpose) laboratory".
 
          DATA ANALYSIS
               The collected data were analyzed with
          SAS (Statistical Analysis System) software.
          Frequency and percent tables were generated
          for each item and correlations were conducted
          when there were apparent reasons to investi-
          gate relationships. For each item requiring a
          Likert response, numeric values from 5 (most
          frequently) to 1 (never) were assigned to the
          responses and a mean score was determined.
          These means were rank ordered for further in-
          vestigation.
               Two items were used as the basis of a
          second analysis to see if those teachers who
          had not originally favored the name change or
          those who teach in traditional (unit shop)
          labs used different methods and strategies
          more often than those who did favor name
          change or who teach in more contemporary
          (conceptually oriented) labs.
 
                            FINDINGS
               Results of the survey were analyzed to
          describe the characteristics of technology
          education programs with a TSA component, de-
          scribe and classify teaching methods, and de-
          termine if there were differences in the
          teaching methods used in programs which em-
          ployed a co-curricular approach vs. those
          which implemented TSA on an extra-curricular
          basis.
 
          CHARACTERISTICS OF TE/TSA PROGRAMS
               The responses to Items 1 through 8 are
          shown in Table 1.  All respondents claimed to
          have an active TSA chapter--which is also in-
          dicated by their attendance at the national
          TSA conference.
               In Item 2, 72% of the advisors indicated
          that meetings and activities were held after
          school. Activity periods during the school
          day were used by 53% (Item 3), indicating
          that some teachers conduct TSA
          activities/meetings at both times.
 
          TABLE 1
          RESPONSES TO ITEMS 1 THROUGH 8
          -------------------------------------------------------
                                     Yes         No        N A...
          Item #    Stem             #   %       #  %      #   %
          -------------------------------------------------------
 
          1    Active TSA chapter    102 100     0 --      0  --
 
          2    Chapter meetings      74  72.5   27 26.5    1 1.0
 
          3    Meetings in activity
               periods               54  52.9   40 39.2    8 7.9
 
          4    Co-curricular approach
                                     36  35.3   62 60.8    4 3.9
 
          5    State adopted/
               approved course names 90  88.2    8  7.8    4 3.9 

          6    State adopted
               curriculum            86  84.3   11 10.8    5 4.9
 
          7    Favored name change
               5 years ago           68  66.7   30 29.4    4 3.9
 
          8    Like new name now     92  90.2    7  6.9    3 2.9
 
          ---------------------------------------------
          NOTE:  Percentage values rounded to one decimal place.
 
               Most of the advisors (88%) teach courses
          which are named in state adopted curriculum
          guides (Item 5).  Additionally, 84% indicated
          that their curricula closely follow the state
          guidelines (Item 6).
               Two items (7 and 8) asked about teach-
          ers' attitudes toward the name change to
          technology education. Item 7 asked if teach-
          ers favored the new name five years prior to
          the survey and Item 8 asked if they are now
          pleased with the change.  Only 67% of the
          teachers favored the change in 1984, but 90%
          of them are currently satisfied that the new
          name represents our programs well. Chi-square
          testing found a significant difference: X2(5,
          N = 102) = 18.04,  P < .01.  This indicates
          that a change in attitudes toward the new
          name had occurred over the five year period.
               Unit laboratories (woods, metals, draw-
          ing, etc.) are still in use by half of the
          teachers. Ten percent of the teachers re-
          ported they use "manufacturing" labs, and an-
          other 12% use "communication" labs. Only 2%
          use "construction" labs and 1% use "transpor-
          tation" labs. Other than unit labs, the most
          often used are multi-purpose labs, which were
          reported by 25% of the teachers.
 
          TEACHING METHODS
               The remaining items concerned implemen-
          tation of various teaching strategies.  A
          five point Likert scale was used to determine
          the relative frequency of use for each tech-
          nique.  Results on these 24 items appear in
          Table 2.  The methods and strategies are rank
          ordered in the table by their mean scores--
          the first items listed were reported by the
          most teachers. Results were analyzed to iden-
          tify frequently used teaching methods. In
          many instances, when implementing technology
          education activities,
          several teaching methods are used. Therefore,
          data were analyzed to identify teaching
          method clusters.
 
          TABLE 2
          RESPONSES TO ITEMS 10 THROUGH 33
          ------------------------------------------------------------
                              Weighted           Responses
          Ranking  Stem       Mean   A     B     C     D     E     NA
          (Item #)
          ------------------------------------------------------------
          1    Demonstrations 4.32   42    53    6     0     1
          (12)                       41.2% 52.0% 5.9   --    1.0%
 
          2    Lecture-       4.07   29    53    16    3     0     1
          (13) demonstrations        28.4% 52.0% 15.7% 2.9%  --    1.0%
 
          3    Individual     4.05   33    42    26    1
          (17) instruction           32.4% 41.2% 25.5% 1.0%
 
          4    Individual     3.92   30    41    21    7     1     2
          (24) projects              29.4% 40.2% 20.6% 6.9%  1.0%  2.0%
 
          5    Lectures of 10 3.67   21    30    43    4     1     3
          (10) to 25 minutes         20.6% 29.4% 42.2% 3.9%  1.0%  3.0%
 
          6    Group projects 3.64   18    42    32    7     3
          (22)                       17.6% 41.2% 31.4% 6.9%  2.9%
 
          7    Lab experiments3.61   21    35    32   11     2     1
          (21)                       20.6% 34.3% 31.4%10.8%  2.0%  1.0%
 
          8    Discussion     3.55   16    35    42    7     2
          (14) (teacher led)         15.7% 34.3% 41.2% 6.9%  2.0%
 
          9    Student        3.46   15     31   41    13    1     1
          (26) designed or selected  14.7%  30.4%40.2  12.7% 1.0%  1.0%
               (free choice) project
 
          10   Teacher        3.38   9      40   35    14    3     1
          (25) designed or assigned  8.8%   39.2%34.3% 13.7% 2.9%  1.0%
               assigned projects
 
          11   Computers used 3.38   23     33   19    9     16    2
          (31) by students in lab.   22.5%  32.4%18.6% 8.8%  15.7% 2.0%
 
          12   Computers used 3.32   26     29   14    11    19    3
          (32) to prepare materials  25.5%  28.4%13.7  10.8% 18.6% 2.9%
 
          13   Small group    3.21   7      29   47    14    4     1
          (18) discussion            6.9%   28.4%46.1% 3.7%  3.9%  1.0%
 
          14   Computers for  3.21   24     21   20    13    18    6
          (33) clerical chores       23.5%  20.6%19.6% 12.7% 17.6% 5.9%
 
          15   Group designed 3.19   7      33   35    22    3     2
          (27) /selected projects    6.9%   32.4%34.3% 21.6% 2.9%  2.0%
 
          16   Student peer   3.12   6      27   46    19    4
          (20) tutors                5.9%   26.5%45.1% 18.6% 3.9%
 
          17   Mass production3.12   9      29   38    17    9
          (23) project (Line         8.8%   28.4%37.3% 16.7% 8.8%
               production)
 
          18   Traditional    3.10   4      23   55    15    3     2
          (16) media                 3.9%   22.5%53.9% 14.7% 2.9%  2.0%
 
          19   Computers for  3.08   12     33   22    17    16    2
          (29) presenting information11.8%  32.4%21.6% 16.7% 15.7% 2.0%
 
          20   Computers for  3.01   12     31   22    16    19    2
          (30) demonstrations        11.8%  30.4%21.6% 15.7% 18.6% 2.0%
 
          21   Discovery      2.93   8      21   37    24    10    2
          (28) method                7.8%   20.6%36.3% 23.5% 9.8%  2.0%
 
          22   Lectures of    2.68   6      15   32    38    11
          (11) over 30 minutes       5.9%   14.7%31.4% 37.3  10.8%
 
          23   Seminar        2.55   3      13   32    43    11
          (15) (student led)         2.9%   12.7%31.4% 42.2% 10.8%
 
          24   Role Playing   2.45   4      11   31    34    20    2
          (19)                       3.9%   10.8%30.4% 33.3% 19.6% 2.0%
          ------------------------------------------------------------
 
               Demonstrations are still very popular
          methods of teaching as shown by the high per-
          centage (93%) of teachers who use them fre-
          quently or most frequently.
 
          "Lecture-demonstrations" are also used by 80%
          of the teachers. There was a correlation of R
          = .38, P < .0001 between Items 12 and 13
          (ranked 1st and 2nd).
               The third highest ranking was received
          by Item 17, which found that individualized
          instruction was used frequently or more often
          by 74% of the teachers and nearly all of them
          (99%) use it at least sometimes.  There was a
          correlation of R = .32, P < .001, between
          Items 20 (student peer tutors) and 17, which
          indicates that many of the same teachers who
          use individualized instruction also use peer
          tutors.
               Items 10 and 11 (ranked 5th and 22nd)
          show that lectures, when used, tend to be
          short in length. In Item 14, most teachers
          reported that they use "discussion (teacher
          led, class participatory)" to some extent.
          The ranking for this item was 8th and it
          found that only 16% use discussion "most fre-
          quently," but a total of 91% use it at least
          "sometimes".
               Small group discussions (Item 18) were
          used sometimes or more frequently by 82% of
          the teachers and ranked 13th. Role playing is
          used frequently by only 15% of the teachers,
          but an additional 30% use it sometimes (Item
          19--ranked last at 24th). A correlation of R
          = .52, P < .0001, was found between Items 18
          and 19, so many of the same teachers use both
          small group discussions and role playing ac-
          tivities.
               Individual projects (Item 24) are still
          used frequently by 70% of the teachers and at
          least sometimes by 91%. In fact, 30% of the
          teachers use individual projects most fre-
          quently, so their popularity overall has
          waned little, if any. Individual projects
          ranked 4th in this survey; however, there
          were negative correlations between this item
          and two others: Item 23, mass production
          projects (R = -.26, P < .009), and Item 15,
          seminar (R = -.31, P < .0015). The highest
          positive correlation between this item and
          any others on the survey was a correlation of
          R = .30, P < .002 with Item 2 (teacher
          designed/assigned projects). Of those teach-
          ers whose programs are housed in unit labs,
          41% use individual projects most frequently,
          but only 19% of the teachers in conceptually
          oriented labs choose this approach most fre-
          quently.
               Group projects, promoted by most new
          curriculum efforts, have been used by many
          teachers as shown by their 6th place ranking
          (Item 22).  A total of 90% of the teachers
          reported using group projects at least some-
          times; 59% use them frequently. This item
          correlated positively with Item 23, mass pro-
          duction projects (R =  .59, P < .0001); and
          Item 27, group designed/selected projects (R
          = .32, P < .0009).
               Laboratory experiments (Item 21) ranked
          7th and were used frequently by over half of
          the teachers. There were positive corre-
          lations between this item and first ranked
          Item 12, demonstrations (R = .33, P < .0008);
          Item 13 (ranked 2nd), lecture-demonstrations
          (R = .35, P < .0003); and Item 28 (ranked
          21), discovery method (R = .33, P < .0008).
          Small group discussions and class discussions
          were also found to have a slight positive
          correlation with laboratory experiments.
               Item 25 (ranked 10th) found that about
          half of the teachers (49%) use teacher
          designed/assigned projects frequently and a
          total of 83% use them sometimes. Student
          designed/selected (free choice) projects were
          reported to be used frequently by 45% of the
          teachers and ranked 9th in the survey (Item
          26). In Item 27, 39% of the teachers reported
          that they use group designed/selected
          projects frequently to yield a ranking of
          15th. There was a positive correlation of R =
          .47, P < .0001 between Items 26 and 27. Item
          27 also correlated with Item 23, mass pro-
          duction (R = .38, P < .0001), and Item 22,
          group projects (R = .32, P < .0009).
               Mass production (line production)
          projects (Item 23--ranked 17th) are used fre-
          quently by 37% of teachers and at least some-
          times by 74%. Positive correlations were
          found between this item and five others: Item
          14, discussion (R = .34, P < .0005); Item 18,
          small group discussions (R = .39, P < .0001);
          Item 19, role playing (R = .44, P < .0001);
          Item 22, group projects (see above); and Item
          27, group designed/selected projects (R =
          .38, P < .0001). There was also a slight neg-
          ative correlation between this item and Item
          24, individual projects (R = -.26, P < .009),
          which indicates that teachers who have
          adopted this learning activity are somewhat
          turning their backs on the traditionally pop-
          ular individual project.
               The discovery method (Item 28--ranked
          21st) was used frequently by 28% of teachers
          and sometimes by a total of 65%. The highest
          correlation found with this item was with
          Item 21, lab experiments (R = .33, P <
          .0008).
 
          TABLE 3
          CORRELATIONS BETWEEN ITEMS 29 THROUGH 33
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          Item
          No.    Stem (abbreviated)            29   30   31   32  33
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          29     Computers for presenting info --  .91  .81  .73 .60
          30     Computers for demonstrations       --  .85  .78 .61
          31     Computers by students                   --  .84 .56
          32     Computers to prepare materials              --  .77
          33     Computers for clerical chores                    --
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          NOTES: All values rounded to two decimal places.  All
          values significant beyond the .0001 level.
 
               The last five items on the questionnaire
          concerned uses of computers in technology ed-
          ucation.  In Item 29 (ranked 19th), 44% of
          teachers claimed to use computers frequently
          for presenting information. In Item 30, 42%
          used computers frequently for demonstrations
          (rank = 20). Computers were used frequently
          by students for lab activities in the classes
          of 55% of the teachers (Item 31--ranked 11).
          Item 32 found that 54% of the teachers use
          computers frequently to prepare materials
          (rank = 12).  In Item 33, nearly half of the
          teachers (44%) said they use computers for
          clerical chores, resulting in a ranking of
          14th. There were several high positive corre-
          lations among this set of related items, and
          these are presented in Table 3. These
          findings indicate that roughly half of the
          technology education teachers have become
          very involved with computers, those who use
          computers employ them for multiple uses, and
          the rest of the teachers are generally not
          using computers for any of the applications
          studied here. No significant correlations
          were found between any form of computer
          utilization and any other factor or teaching
          strategies on this questionnaire.
 
          CO-CURRICULAR DIFFERENCES
               Item 4 asked teachers if they used a co-
          curricular approach to implement their TSA
          organization.  The co-curricular (in-class)
          approach was employed by only 35% of the re-
          spondents overall.  Thus, the remaining 65%
          employ TSA on an extra-curricular (after
          school or activity period) basis only. This
          item showed some difference on the two de-
          rived subsets: among those who taught in mod-
          ern labs, 41% used the co-curricular
          approach, but only 29% of those in tradi-
          tional unit labs did. Of those who favored
          the name change 5 years prior to the survey
          42% used this approach, but only 21% of those
          who opposed the name change use the co-
          curricular approach.
               The answers to this item were also used
          to identify subgroups for comparison of
          teaching methods used by teachers incorporat-
          ing the co-curricular approach and those that
          did not. Teachers who used the co-curricular
          approach showed differences on the use of six
          teaching methods. The co-curricular group
          used the short lecture (10 to 25 min.) more
          frequently than the extra curricular group
          X2(8, N 105) = 22.46, P < .013, and they used
          individual projects less frequently X2(8, N =
          105) = 21.89, P < .016. Seminar X2(8, N =
          105) = 16.02, P < .042; Role play X2(8, N =
          105) = 17.34, P < .027; and Lab experiments
          X2(8, N = 105) = 17.72, P < .01 all showed a
          significant increase in frequency with teach-
          ers who employed the co-curricular approach.
 
                           DISCUSSION
               The characteristics of technology educa-
          tion programs reflect the curricular transi-
          tion of our profession.  Although about
          one-third of the teachers had opposed chang-
          ing the name of industrial arts to technology
          education, currently 90% are pleased with the
          new name.  The significant Chi-square value
          found indicates there has been a shift in at-
          titudes since 1984.  Half of the teachers re-
          ported their programs are housed in
          traditional unit labs (woods, metals, draft-
          ing, etc.). These labs are not as effective
          for implementation of technology based cur-
          ricula as multipurpose and conceptually de-
          fined labs (manufacturing, communications,
          etc.). However, the most often reported con-
          ceptually defined labs were communications
          labs, which were only claimed by 12% of the
          teachers, and manufacturing labs used by less
          than 10%.  Where they exist, construction and
          transportation courses must currently be
          housed in general purpose labs or force-fit
          into other sorts of labs because special con-
          struction and transportation labs were re-
          ported by only 2% and 1% of the teachers
          respectively. It is possible that the lack of
          appropriate facilities is making the curric-
          ular shift toward technology difficult. Even
          so, over 80% of the teachers reported that
          they teach courses named in state adopted
          curriculum guides and that their curricula
          closely follow those guides. So, despite fa-
          cilities which may be inadequate in some
          ways, many teachers are trying to implement
          technology education in some fashion.
               Typical teaching methods include demon-
          strations, lecture-demonstrations, and dis-
          cussion. Individualized instruction is used
          frequently by over 74% of the teachers and
          sometimes by nearly all of them. Information
          is frequently presented via computers by al-
          most half of the teachers (44%).
               Student laboratory activities frequently
          employed include individual projects (70%),
          group projects (58%), lab experiments (55%),
          computer use by students (55%), and mass pro-
          duction projects (37%).
               Though other vocational student organ-
          izations (i.e., FFA, VICA, and others) gener-
          ally use the co-curricular (in class)
          approach, it is not universally accepted in
          technology education classes for TSA. There
          was evidence that teachers in unit labs and
          those who initially opposed the name change
          to technology education were less likely than
          their peers to use this technique. Even among
          the group of teachers who have seen the ad-
          vantages of TSA for their students, and who
          advise active TSA chapters, only a little
          over a third use the co-curricular approach
          that has been so successful for other student
          organizations.
               The results showed that the co-
          curricular approach altered the character-
          istics of the program over a number of items.
          Forty-one percent of the programs were housed
          in modern labs. Teachers implementing the co-
          curricular approach used short lectures more
          frequently and incorporated seminar, role
          play and lab experiments more frequently.
          Correlation analysis showed that these items
          were associated with small group discussion,
          class discussion, and discovery method among
          others.
               The function of this difference is a
          change in the learning environment. Methods
          such as role play and seminar shift the em-
          phasis of discourse from teacher-to-student
          to student-to-student interaction.  According
          to Sternberg & Martin (1988, p. 569) student
          interaction is a necessary transition for de-
          veloping problem solving skill. Costa (1984)
          associates methods such as seminar and role
          play with techniques that promote the devel-
          opment of thinking skills.
               As facilities and curricula evolve in
          the 1990s, there will be many forces that
          will mold technology education. TSA organiza-
          tions will certainly be one of those forces.
          This study characterized technology education
          programs with a TSA component and showed the
          effect of co-curricular organizations on the
          classroom environment. The influence that
          student organizations have on curricula and
          teaching methods should not be overlooked.
          When co-curricular TSA organizations are im-
          plemented, the organization becomes part of
          the education system and has the potential to
          alter the learning environment.
               The relationship demonstrated here em-
          phasizes the importance of developing a re-
          search paradigm to study the effect of TSA on
          technology education programs.  Specifically,
          norms that define the characteristics of
          technology education programs with a TSA com-
          ponent should be established using this study
          as a base. Then, TSA variables (i.e. goals,
          activities, competitive events) should be an-
          alyzed to determine their effect on normed
          characteristics.
 
 
          ----------------
          V. William DeLuca and William J. Haynie are
          Assistant Professors, Technology Education,
          North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.
 
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Journal of Technology Education   Volume 3, Number 1       Fall 1991

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