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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of a cultural program in the visual arts on students' ethnic attitudes Cipywnyk, Raissa Sonia


The purpose, of this research study was to attempt to discover if a unit of study on aspects of the visual arts of the people of India and Indo-Canadians could result in positive attitude change toward this target group. The basic premise upon which the program was developed was that improved ethnic attitudes could be generated by focussing on similarities in beliefs and practices among the cultures of India, Indo-Canadians, and mainstream Canadians as reflected in their aesthetic products. The research design used was a nonequivalent control group design. Three intact sixth grade classes in a large suburban school district comprised the sample. Two classes participated in the program while the third class was used as a control group. All three groups were pre- and posttested on measures indicating their attitudes towards Indo-Canadians. A Semantic Differential Measure and a Bogardus Social Distance Scale were the major instruments. This experimental design was complemented by the observation of the two treatment groups throughout the implementation period. The results of the posttest indicate that a significant positive change in students' attitudes took place as a result of the treatment. The exploration of cultures and cross-cultural similarities in beliefs and practices through the visual arts would therefore appear to be a promising means of improving attitudes towards ethnic groups.

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