High school students’ attitudes towards diverse cultures and ethnicities

(1) Basis Flagstaff Highschool, (2) Northern Arizona University

Cover photo for High school students’ attitudes towards diverse cultures and ethnicities

As the world becomes more diversified and globalized, it is important to better understand how diversity affects our understanding and perceptions of people around us. Despite the continual increase of diversity within the United States, ethnic groups are still severely segregated in public schools, and this segregation is often accompanied by feelings of dislike and/or fear amongst students. With the rapid growth in number of minorities in K-12 education in mind, we investigated how high school students’ ethnic and individual backgrounds affect their attitudes towards the integration of diverse cultures and ethnicities in their learning at school. We also examined their social relationships with others of such diverse backgrounds. Sixty-seven 9th and 10th grade students participated in a survey that took about 15 minutes to complete. Their ethnic and racial background included White (24 students), Native American (Navajo) (15 students), Hispanic (14 students), and Mixed races (14 students). We performed inferential statistics for mean comparisons and correlational analyses. Results showed that although students generally perceived other cultures and ethnic groups positively (70-80%), Hispanic students felt judged by their peers in class due to their ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. Moreover, 20-30% of the students reported their culture not being well-embraced by their school or their friends (especially Native American) and expressed their ‘dislike’ for some ethnic groups. Positive correlations emerged between the number of multi-cultural friends and students’ positive cultural attitudes. These findings have practical implications for curriculum development and educational planning in a global community.

Download Full Article as PDF

This article has been tagged with: