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Observer Secretly Watched Soc Rell Sections in Fall Term Study


Students in eight sections of Social Relations 1a were under the scrutiny of two unseen observers this past term. From behind a one-way screen the observers watched and recorded the reactions of students to different methods of teaching.

Gordon W. Allport '19, professor of Social Relations, is conducting the study. The purpose, he says, is to find out the best teaching techniques. The results should be tabulated by April.

Allport looks for these techniques by comparing two ways of teaching. In four of the sections, students discussed any topic they wanted to, as long as it was related to the course. The instructors sat at a table with the students and often doffed their coats.

In the other four classes, the students talked only about topics chosen by the instructor; the instructors sat at a desk and always wore a suit.

Students were only told about the study if they asked why the classroom was screened. At the end of the term, Allport spoke of the study in a lecture.

"Projective Tests," given at the final section meeting, asked each student to interpret a picture. Interpretations will be studied for reactions to the method of instruction.

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