Home > diversity, predjudice > Diversity In Primary Schools Promotes Harmony, Study Finds

Diversity In Primary Schools Promotes Harmony, Study Finds

For the first time, children as young as 5 have been shown to understand issues regarding integration and separation. The research confirms that the ethnic composition of primary schools has a direct impact on children’s attitudes towards those in other ethnic groups and on their ability to get on with their peers.

Obviously, starting kids at a young age on how to get along with others that are different can go a long way to making us better together.  Diversity is truly a value-added proposition.

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Categories: diversity, predjudice Tags: , ,
  1. Leroy
    September 4, 2009 at 7:44 am

    This is a subject that is very much a part of my thought process when I think of anything dealing with diversity, and the possible positive benefits it has when children are naturally in multi-ethnic circles, especially in school. This research proves a point that I have believed but haven’t seen too much recent scientific data to back it up. If you are in a minority at school and your minority is relatively low in terms of the percentage of minorities compared to the majority, then being a minority seems that much more prevelant to young kids. If the minority has above 20% total occupancy at the school, children in both the minority and the majority had higher self esteem, more friendships with people in other ethnic groups, and generally less problems. When you give children an environment where the minority isn’t a small fraction of the entire student body, they will see the benefits of having friends in multiple different ethnic groups. There is more opportunity to engage one another just because of the numbers alone. When the minority is a few students, then those students are more likely to be self aware of them being a minority, and could cause them to close themselves off at the first sign of conflict arising from ethnicity. When you take children to the park to play, they don’t automatically start grouping themselves into different factions by race, even if their parents may do so. Children like to learn about what they don’t know. Minorities also like to try to fit into the majority culture so as to feel a part of what is seem as the norm. Young children have the ability to be shaped by what goes on in the early years of schooling and if parents and the world as a whole can understand that by integrating and including, instead of segregating and excluding, a whole new generation of young people will start to get away from what has brought about so much conflict with older generations. Children by nature are curious, what that curiousity leads to is primarily up to them, but if parents understand that their child benifits from a diverse circle of playmates, whether in the majority or minority, then we can start to make sure that this generation of children doesn’t have the same prejudices as many adults have. Once that takes place then the world will have a brighter tomorrow, because these kids will feel like there is no limit, not only on what they can accomplish, but who they can accomplish it with.

  2. September 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    In this newly released study, scientists and researchers were able to show understanding of typically complex issues in students as young as five. No more spelling words out in hopes of children missing their relevance. Turns out that kids know exactly what we do: Segregation hurts. In this six month study, researchers from Kent and Sussex observed, surveyed, and experimented with 398 students, 218 of which were minorities. Among the things that they found was the fact that higher ethnic diversity promoted cohesive educational environments. Less prejudice and fewer peer related problems were some of the benefits that pupils in diverse schools enjoyed. Professor Brown, one of the leaders in the effort, found that, “high ethnic diversity had clear social benefits.” Those in schools with homogenous populations (little diversity) found that trying to fit in took its toll on student moral. Students felt the stress of trying to keep cultural beliefs while fitting in with the majority. Here at iGlobal Network, we are aware of this pattern and have developed programs aimed at creating healthy educational environments that are inclusive for all cultures. Appropriately named ” Project: Connect”, we use the latest research combined with information from the specific school we are working with to create a plan of action. Where we separate ourselves from the pack is in our approach and ultimately, our results. We use the lessons of science, specifically Complex Adaptive Systems Perspectives (CASP), to create small changes that have big effects. By allowing the children to be directly involved in the process, we create school pride and a level of commitment previously not found. The great thing about kids is that they are much more willing to change than their adult counterparts, possibly because the framework of their mind has not been hardwired yet. They are still capable of processing information in new ways. Another key aspect is that students have a personal reason for making the change. They must interact with other students everyday for several years so it makes sense to get along with everyone, providing a better educational experience.

  3. September 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    This study just goes to show that diversity is very much a part of our education from a very early age. With students being questioned at ages as young as 5 I think that truly gives an accurate understanding of how early in life we begin to make those types of personal connections.

    Coming from a small community myself, I was not exposed to much of a diverse group, mainly white middle class families. While in elementary school we did have 1,yes that’s right only 1, African American student transfer in. I can’t recall even for a minute that myself or anyone else to have an adverse reaction to this happening. Younger minds are always interested in learning and expanding knowledge of the unfamiliar. While I’m sure this student was questioned about not only his skin color but also his heritage and background, I don’t believe that it was done in a way that would make him feel uncomfortable.

    In today’s society it is becoming harder and harder for kids to not be exposed to different cultures and groups. Evidence shows that being linked to a more diverse group at a young age helps create a connection that simply didn’t exist in the past. More schools today are requiring students to learn a second language, take courses such as world history and world cultures. And those students who complete such coursework to be more open minded in their understanding of how we are all connected.

    Helping students understand their differences is what will help them identify with people beyond appearances.

    I look forward to seeing how our future generations further the effort in bridging the gap between cultures. With so much interaction with people who are “different” from themselves I think great strides will be made to create a more united world.

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