Impact of Exposure to a Counter-Stereotypical STEM Television Program on Children’s Gender-and Race-Based STEM Occupational Schema

Fashina Aladé*, Alexis Re Lauricella, Yannik Kumar, Ellen Wartella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gender and racial diversity in STEM has been deemed an essential need for a sustainable future, but girls and children from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds continue to show less interest in STEM than their White and male counterparts. Media has been shown to reflect children’s occupational schema from an early age, and therefore might be used to help broaden children’s beliefs about who participates in STEM. In this field-based pre/post-experimental study, children in kindergarten and first grades (N = 48, 62.5% female, Mage = 6.57) viewed episodes of a STEM-focused educational television series that features a diverse group of protagonists two to three times a week for eight weeks. Their occupational schema were measured before and after exposure. Results suggest there was no quantifiable change in their attitudes. However, qualitative analysis of their open-ended responses sheds light on how children’s beliefs about who participates in STEM are shaped, i.e., by both mediated and real-world exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5631
JournalSustainability
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2022

Keywords

  • children’s television
  • gender
  • occupational attitudes
  • race
  • STEM identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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