London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Promoting tolerance for other cultures at school: an example of an experimental class and a test of its effectiveness

Author(s) Beata Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz and Malgorzata Zielinska  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2001  
Editor A. Ross, Learning for Democratic Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
Despite the fact that Poland is not a multicultural country, the question of our tolerance for other cultures and religious systems is more and more widely discussed. Many scientific publications raise the question of prejudice and of the stereotypes which influence both adults and children in their perception of representatives of other nations. Our research (Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz et al. 1999) indicates that Polish teachers, including those working with the youngest children, find this problem important and are willing to introduce knowledge about other cultures into the school curriculum. They also emphasise the role of psychological education, which may help to promote attitudes of tolerance among children. This paper presents a program of school studies for younger pupils (aged 7 ? 11). The program consists of two parts, aimed at developing both the child's awareness of being a member of a given nation and a sense of tolerance and of the need for harmonious co-existence with others. Selected sections of this program were introduced experimentally to a primary school in Olsztyn, in a class of 9-year-old children. The pupils' opinions on other cultures were analysed before and after its introduction, and the changes in opinions that were observed are interesting.

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