Gatarek, B. D. (2018). Animals Are Us: Applying the Common Ingroup Identity Model to Humane Education. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Windsor.
This study explored the applicability of the Common Ingroup Identity Model (CIIM), used widely for combating racism, to Humane Education. It credits social categorization with both reducing and creating intergroup bias. It postulates decategorization and recategorization as factors changing ingroup boundaries, so former outgroup members can be seen as current ingroup members. The study aimed at gauging the effect of decategorization and recategorization on graduate student teachers’ attitudes toward animals and on their willingness to include animal-centered humane themes in their instruction. This study used exploratory mixed-methods design, in which the qualitative phase followed and explained the quantitative quasi-experimental phase. Two intact groups of graduate student teachers were randomly assigned to either the Experimental or to the Control Group. Animal Attitude Scale (AAS) (Herzog, Betchart, & Pittman, 1991) and Animal-Centered Instruction Scale (A-CIS) were administered to both groups preand post-intervention. A-CIS, designed for the purpose of this study, is a Likert-type selfreporting measure containing 28 items. One week after administering these instruments and obtaining participants’ demographics information, the Experimental Group was given a 90-minute-long training in decategorization and recategorization focused on human versus animal categories. The Control Group was engaged in the 90-minute-long classroom activities unrelated to the CIIM. One week later, both groups were readministered the two instruments. The pre- and post-intervention composite scores on both scales were compared using a paired-samples t-test. The quantitative analysis reflected 2 conditions (experimental, control) x 2 times (pre-test, post-test). The results were contrary to the expectations as there were no significant differences between the two groups on the intervention check. No effects of the intervention on attitudes towards animals, measured on AAS, were found. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between results stemming from the A-CIS that measured teachers’ attitudes towards including animal themes in their instruction. However, the subsequent analysis of disaggregated data rendered the significant results showing that such factors as being female, having children, and identifying as politically liberal, correlate with higher scores on the AAS. Based on the A-CIS data, seven composite variables were analyzed with the paired-samples t-test. In the Experimental Group, there were statistically significant increases on two composite variables: Using Animals in Science, Education, and Research and Using Animals in Entertainment. Farm Animals and Companion Animals increased after the intervention, though not significantly, while Wildlife did not change. Both Humane Education and Non-animal Related composite variable decreased after the intervention. The qualitative analysis revealed that although teachers expressed their interest in Humane Education and saw its many benefits, they also listed several obstacles to being able to apply it in their everyday practice. The obstacles included lack of expertise, work overload, and administrative and parental approval. Implications of findings to teachers’ preparation programs are discussed. The new A-CIS may prove to be a useful data collection tool after adjustments and additional testing are done on larger samples.