Promoting Cultural Awareness and the Acceptance of Diversity through the Implementation of Cross-Cultural Activities.Report as inadecuate

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An action research project implemented a program for developing tolerance through increased cultural awareness. Targeted population consisted of third grade and high school students in a rural, middle class community in western Illinois. The problem of lack of cultural awareness was documented through standardized test scores and student and teacher survey data. Analysis of probable cause data revealed that students were not exposed to teachers or students from different ethnic backgrounds. Faculty reported not being provided with proper training or curriculum materials to prepare them to deal with multicultural education. A review of solution strategies suggested by knowledgeable others, combined with analysis of the problem setting, resulted in a two-part intervention focusing on integrating multicultural materials, information, and activities into the curriculum, combined with providing a climate that promoted tolerance. The interventions appeared to modify student perceptions about culture and created a sense of tolerance. The study concluded that the impact of school interventions does not always overlap with home, and it is easier to change values at a younger age than when students' attitudes are already formed. Both elementary and high school students were more readily able to identify differences rather than similarities among cultures. The implication for teaching is that educators must shift the focus from accentuating the distinctions among cultures to the similarities found among all people. Appended are cultural awareness surveys for teachers, third-grade students, high school students, and an activity survey. (Contains 11 tables and 29 references.) (Author/BT)

Descriptors: Action Research, Attitude Change, Change Strategies, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Pluralism, Grade 3, High School Students, High Schools, Intervention, Primary Education, Rural Areas, Student Surveys, Teacher Surveys

Author: Keime, Susan; Landes, Melissa; Rickertsen, Gwenn; Wescott, Nicol



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