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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Effects of a cultural curriculum in changing children's inter-ethnic attitudes Neaman, Evelyn

Abstract

Multicultural education is a nebulous term steeped in cultural assumptions and perhaps political rhetoric. Over time, it has been repeatedly addressed through policy statements and learning materials. In order to move beyond mere rhetoric, the awareness generated from studies and research must be effectively implemented through carefully designed educational programs. Such programs may assume a variety of approaches, however the literature suggests appreciation for cultural diversity is most likely to be achieved through presentation of cultural similarities, insider perspectives, primary materials and cross cultural contact. To this end, Spotlight On Jewish Canadians was designed to foster cross cultural communication and to generate appreciation for living in a multicultural society. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a curriculum premised on the afore-mentioned principles and to report on its findings. A quasi-experimental research design involving four teachers and ninety-six students was developed and implemented. Four methods were used to collect data. Two pencil and paper tests, classroom observations and teacher evaluations were analyzed to see what effect, if any, the unit had on the students involved. The results of the pencil and paper tests indicated that there was as a significant increase in students pride in heritage as a result of the unit, but no significant increase in students preference for to social diversity was evident. It should be noted that the unit focussed on Jewish Canadians but the measure assessed acceptance of social diversity in general. However classroom observations and teacher evaluations contradicted the findings of the preference for social diversity measure. In general the teachers found the unit to be helpful in making their students more accepting of social diversity as well as increasing pride towards students own cultures.

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