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|Title:||Ethnic Attitudes of Elementary School Children Toward Blacks and East Indians and the Effect of a Cultural Program on These Attitudes|
|Authors:||Ijaz, Ahmed M.|
|Abstract:||<p>The study was designed to test the validity of the contact theory with elementary school children, to examine the attitudes of White Canadian fifth- and sixth-graders toward Black and East Indians, and the effect of a cultural program based on Triandis' theory of subjective culture of these attitudes. The ethnic attitudes of 180 students (boys=85; girls=85) in two high density (Hi D) and two low density (Lo D) school in Metropolitan Toronto were measured by means of the Semantic Differential Measure. Bogardus' Social Distance Scale and a contact questionnaire based on the one used by Henry (1978). High density as opposed to low density schools were defined as schools in which thirty and eleven percent respectively of the school population belonged to the black and East Indian ethnic groups. No significant differences in attitudes emerged between students in the two types of schools. Interethnic contact per se and an opportunity for such contact were not found to have any significant effect on students' attitudes toward the above minority groups, however, social interaction that involved visits to each other's homes was accompanied by feelings of less social distance. Neither the length of time of attending a Hi D school nor that of knowing a black or East Indian friend were found to be significant variables. White Canadians ranked ethnic groups in the following order: White Canadians, Canadians, French Canadians, Black Canadians, Italian Canadians, German Canadians, Indian Canadians, and Pakistani Canadians. No significant differences emerged in the evaluations of Black Canadians, Italian Canadians, and German Canadians. The order of rankings was found to be identical both on the Semantic Differential Measure and the Social Distance Scale. A cultural program consisting of nine weeky sessions of approximately seventy minutes' duration each and providing instruction or various aspects of the East Indian culture through dance, music and crafts was implemented. Two grade five and two grade six classes with each one from a Hi D and a Lo D school formed the experimental group. The control group consisted of six grade five and six grade six classes with half of each belonging to Hi D schools and the other half to Lo D schools. A significant change in attitudes in a positive direction toward Indian Canadians was noted in the experimental group (n=47) as compared to the controls (n=108) as a result of the program both on the Semantic Differential Measure and the Social Distance Scale. A generalization effect was noted for Pakistani Canadians on the Semantic Differential Measure. The effects of the program were maintained three months after the conclusion of the program. The findings are discussed in terms of the contact theory, the applicability of the theory of subjective culture to elementary school children, and implications for curriculum development. Ideas and directions for future research are also suggested.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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