The general and specific effects of educational programmes aimed at promoting awareness of and respect for diversity among young children

Paul Connolly, K. Hosken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article reports the findings of a mixed-method evaluation of a pilot educational programme undertaken with 6-7 year olds in a sample of primary schools in England with the aim of increasing their awareness of and respect for diversity through theatre, workshops and related teacher-led classroom activities. The qualitative feedback from the teachers involved was extremely positive and encouraging and an analysis of the actual impact of the pilot programme on the children’s attitudes and awareness, using an experimental design, demonstrated some positive effects. In particular, the programme was found to increase the children’s general awareness of diversity and their ability to recognise instances of exclusion. While not a planned objective of the pilot programme, the evaluation also examined whether it had any effects on the children’s attitudes to specific differences, in this particular case racial differences. Interestingly, however, no evidence was found of any change in the children’s racial attitudes. With this in mind the article suggests that there is a need to distinguish between the general and specific effects of such educational programmes. The article considers the implications of this for future work in the area and also stresses the need to undertake more thorough and rigorous evaluations of such initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-126
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006

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