London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Greek students’ attitudes towards their immigrant peers: Have their minds changed at all?

Author(s) Dimakos, I., Spinthourakis, J-A. & Tasiopoulou, K.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2011  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Europe's Future: Citizenship in a Changing World  
Age group -  
Greek society has undergone tremendous changes over the past twenty years. A sudden increase in the number of immigrants was followed by a number of changes. Schools have accepted at all levels a large number of students from other countries, and in some cases, foreign students make up the majority of students in the classrooms. Therefore, the investigation of students, teachers, administrators and their attitudes towards foreigners is of great importance for the benefit of the entire school community. Past research has shown that immigrants and foreigners are viewed suspiciously and are often blamed for problems in the schools and in society. The present study replicates our own investigation of 2001, which attempted to investigate the attitudes of Greek middle school students towards their immigrant peers (Dimakos & Tasiopoulou, 2003). Using the same materials and procedures as the original study, in the present report, students from various middle schools answered questions about immigrants on a brief, Likert-type scale and completed an open-ended question about immigrants. Results suggested that the students’ attitudes may not have changed for better over this past decade and still remain somewhat negatively biased towards immigrants. The implications from the present study are numerous. Given the already negative approach towards specific foreign minorities and the difficult economic climate in Greece, schools should attempt to bridge differences either by presenting a more diverse curriculum or by introducing aspects of other cultures in the Greek mainstream education. In addition, the need for specific and focused psychological and counselling services for immigrant students should be addressed. Keywords: Immigrants, Greece, Middle school

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