The Ethnic Prejudice of Flemish Pupils: The Role of Pupilsí and Teachersí Perceptions of Multicultural Teacher Culture
by Roselien Vervaet , Mieke Van Houtte & Peter A. J. Stevens ó 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 pupilsí 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 studentsí 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 pupilsí 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 pupilsí ethnic prejudice is mediated by pupilsí 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 pupilsí perceptions of what their teachers do in practice.
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