The Impact of a Combined Cognitive–Affective Intervention on Pre-service Teachers’ Attitudes, Knowledge, and Anticipated Professional Behaviors regarding Homosexuality and Gay and Lesbian Issues

Jan. 15, 2011

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 201-209 .
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of the current study was to examine the effectiveness of a combined cognitive–affective intervention on female pre-service teachers’ attitudes, knowledge, and anticipated professional behaviors regarding homosexuality and gay and lesbian issues, as they relate to students and their families.

Sixty-seven female preservice teachers from a large university in the southeastern United States were randomly assigned either to a control group or an experimental group.
34 women assigned to the control group and 33 to the experimental group.

This study used an experimental pre-test–post-test control-group design.
Pre-test and post-test means were compared using paired-samples t-tests to determine the impact of the intervention.


Overall, the pre-service teachers in the sample demonstrated a considerable lack of knowledge regarding homosexuality and issues commonly facing gay and lesbian youths in the schools.

Impact of the intervention
Following a combined cognitive–affective intervention, female pre-service teachers showed improved knowledge and more positive attitudes toward gay men and lesbians.
The participants possess more accurate knowledge about homosexuality and issues facing gay and lesbian youths, and indicate more willingness to engage in supportive behaviors relating to gay and lesbian issues in the school after participating in the teaching/learning module.

Results further showed that pre-service teachers who did not participate in the teaching/learning module did not evidence any change in attitudes nor did they acquire any accurate knowledge about homosexuality or issues facing gay and lesbian youths.

Implications for practice and teacher education

The authors emphasize that teachers who are unaware of the issues that confront gay and lesbian youths in society and the schools may not recognize the urgent need to support these youths, thus contributing to the unsupportive environments and general disregard which gay and lesbian students experience in the schools.

Therefore, the results suggest that exposure to information pertaining to homosexuality and gay and lesbian issues has positive effects on attitudes, knowledge, and anticipated behaviors and should be included in all diversity courses. This evidence implies that pre-service teachers would benefit from teacher education programs that incorporate material pertaining to homosexuality and gay and lesbian issues into their curricula.

Updated: Nov. 24, 2011