Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diversity In Primary Schools Promotes Harmony, Study Finds

Date:
July 26, 2008
Source:
Economic & Social Research Council
Summary:
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.

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.

Related Articles


The research was a year long longitudinal study with three sets of interviews approximately 6 monthly intervals at 20 schools in Sussex and Kent. Teachers also participated by completing questionnaires. In all, 398 children took part in the study, 218 of these children were from ethnic minorities of whom the majority were of Indian origin. The ethnic minority composition of the schools ranged between 2% and 63%.

Highlighting the challenges faced by immigrant children, the study also showed that those attending schools characterised by higher ethnic diversity experienced fewer peer problems and less prejudice than those attending schools that are more homogeneous.

Researchers from the Universities of Sussex and Kent interviewed children from ethnic minority groups about their attitudes towards themselves, their heritage, culture and their relationships with their peers.

The interviews revealed that the vast majority of children from immigrant backgrounds wanted to keep their ethnic identity including their language and religious customs but, at the same time, they were keen to adopt as many of the practices and values of the host society as possible. This preference, known as an integrationist orientation, was already clear in children as young as five years old but was even more marked in the older age groups (8 -- 11 years).

The research showed that having this integrationist attitude helped children both emotionally and socially: At the start of the study, the researchers found that minority children, particularly 1st generation immigrants, generally had lower self-esteem and were less well accepted by their peers than their white English classmates. But, when interviewed 6 and 12 months later, children with an integrationist orientation showed significant improvements in both these measures.

On the other hand, the researchers also found some evidence suggesting that constantly balancing the demands of their heritage culture with those of the host society took its toll. Professor Rupert Brown, who led the study, said: "Teachers observations revealed that children with an integrationist outlook, particularly those who were 1st generation immigrants, were more likely to be 'teary' and show other symptoms of social anxiety than children who were solely focused on their own heritage. These children also reported more incidences of racial discrimination".

These adverse effects were less common in immigrant children attending schools with a relatively high level of ethnic diversity than in those attending schools with a lower proportion of pupils from ethnic minorities. Indeed, according to Professor Brown, schools characterised by high ethnic diversity had clear social benefits for children regardless of their ethnic background:

"We found that, when the proportion of ethnic minority children in a school is at least 20%, both ethnic minority children and majority children tended to have higher self esteem, children had more friendships with children from other ethnic groups, and there were fewer problems with peer relationships such as bullying".

Professor Brown concludes: "Our findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the more contact children have with other ethnic groups, the more cross-group friendships they will have and the less prejudiced they will be". This argues against policies leading to reductions in school diversity such as the promotion of single faith schools.

Methodology: This was a 12-month longitudinal study with data collected in three sets of interviews approximately six months apart at 20 schools in Sussex and Kent. The interview data was supplemented by data from a questionnaire completed by the children's teachers. In all, 398 children took part in the study, 218 of these children were from ethnic minorities of whom the majority were of Indian origin. The ethnic minority composition of the schools ranged between 2% and 63%.

The paper, Identities in Transition: A longitudinal Study of Immigrant Children, was authored by Professor Rupert Brown at the University of Sussex together with Professor Adam Rutland and Dr Charles Watters from the University of Kent. This research forms part of the Identities and Social Action programme in the U.K. The research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Economic & Social Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Economic & Social Research Council. "Diversity In Primary Schools Promotes Harmony, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080724064835.htm>.
Economic & Social Research Council. (2008, July 26). Diversity In Primary Schools Promotes Harmony, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080724064835.htm
Economic & Social Research Council. "Diversity In Primary Schools Promotes Harmony, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080724064835.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins