London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

National identity versus a community spirit in uniting Europe among primary school pupils and their teachers

Author(s) Beata Krzywosz-Rynkiewicz  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2001  
Editor A. Ross, Learning for Democratic Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
A sense of national identity is one of the crucial elements of social identity. Our ability to differentiate between ourselves and others, our cultural roots and the feeling of distinctiveness all satisfy the natural need for security, affiliation and membership. We develop ties with our nation very early in life, and they are of great significance in how we perceive ourselves and others as members of a given community. In the current social, economic and political situation, with trends towards globalisation and the formation of inter-state unions, it is interesting to investigate the correlation between national and supranational (for example, European) identities. A separate and equally interesting problem is to determine which elements affect the development of national and supranational ties. There are many such elements, some of which may be associated with ones home/family or friends, but others may also be with school. Teachers usually enjoy respect among their pupils, especially younger ones, and they often have a profound influence on children's opinions and attitudes. This paper presents the results of investigations conducted on 70 pupils, aged 7 to 10, and their teachers. The aim was to define the feeling of European identity in children and their educators, paying particular attention to the similarities and differences in their opinions and attitudes, and to examine the nature of the influence exerted by teachers on their pupils' views.

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