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The Ethnic Prejudice of Flemish Pupils: The Role of Pupils’ and Teachers’ Perceptions of Multicultural Teacher Culture


by Roselien Vervaet , Mieke Van Houtte & Peter A. J. Stevens — 2018

Background/Context: As a result of migration processes, schools in Flanders (the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium) are notably ethnically diverse. This evolution has coincided with an increasing number of studies focusing on ethnic-minority pupils’ experiences of ethnic prejudice from their ethnic majority counterparts.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: Taking into consideration the lack of research on the importance of cultural school features to students’ ethnic prejudice, this study investigates the association between a multicultural teacher culture and the ethnic prejudice of Flemish secondary school pupils. In addition, the analysis tests the mediating role of pupils’ perceptions of the multicultural educational practices of teachers and controls for individual and school characteristics that have been shown to be related to ethnic prejudice.

Population/Participants/Subject/Research Design: Multilevel analyses were carried out on data from 2,083 Flemish pupils and 636 teachers in 40 secondary schools, collected by means of a written questionnaire.

Findings/Results: The main finding of this study is that a more multicultural teacher culture is associated with reduced ethnic prejudice among Flemish pupils. However, the association between a multicultural teacher culture and pupils’ ethnic prejudice is mediated by pupils’ perceptions of multicultural teaching.

Conclusions/Recommendations: These findings highlight the importance of including macro factors, individual variables, and their interdependence when explaining ethnic prejudice. The findings also show that what matters most for reducing prejudice among pupils is not what teachers claim they do in terms of multicultural teaching, but pupils’ perceptions of what their teachers do in practice.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 120 Number 5, 2018, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22083, Date Accessed: 9/24/2017 10:29:47 PM

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About the Author
  • Roselien Vervaet
    Ghent University
    E-mail Author
    ROSELIEN VERVAET is a Ph.D. student working for the research team Cultural Diversity: Opportunities and Socialisation (CuDOS) at the Department of Sociology at Ghent University (Belgium). Her research interests cover Turkish, Moroccan, and Eastern European minority students' experiences with racism, in Flemish society in general and at their school in particular. Moreover, the determinants of ethnic prejudice among Flemish teachers and pupils are her core topic. She has published in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.
  • Mieke Van Houtte
    Ghent University
    E-mail Author
    MIEKE VAN HOUTTE is professor of sociology and head of the research team CuDOS at the Department of Sociology at Ghent University. Her research interests cover diverse topics within the sociology of education, particularly the effects of structural and compositional school features on several outcomes for students and teachers, with a focus on equal opportunities. In addition, she supervises research on sexual minorities. She has published in journals including Sociology of Education, American Educational Research Journal, Acta Sociologica, and Sex Roles. In 2015 she became a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.
  • Peter A. J. Stevens
    Ghent University
    E-mail Author
    PETER A. J. STEVENS is Associate Professor in Qualitative Research Methodology at Ghent University, Department of Sociology. His research is situated within the fields of sociology of education and race and ethnic relations. He is editor (with Gary Dworkin, Houston University) of the Palgrave Handbook of Race and Ethnic Inequalities in Education (2014) and has published his research in leading journals in his field of interest, including Review of Educational Research, Sociology of Education, and Ethnic and Racial Studies.
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