Kids can show prejudice and teachers can show them another path

Adam Heaton

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    Children are shaped by what they see and hear around them at home and at school. This can include race-related discourse that posits some members of society above others. The 12-14 year old children in two Australian Grade 8 classes were not exempt. Although previously they had very minimal interaction with Aboriginal Australians, all 47 students in these two classes had come to believe derogative stereotypes about Aboriginal people. But things began to change as they engaged in a program of learning designed in consultation with an Aboriginal educator to present a positive discourse to counter the deficit discourse about Aboriginal people prevalent in Australia. In the drivers’ seat of their learning, students began to appreciate past and present cultures of Aboriginal people and their resilience and achievements amidst racial oppression. Through a lens of empathy, students not only formed more positive perspectives about Aboriginal people, but realised the need to not judge any group of people. Aspects of the design and outcomes of this study may be applied to other anti-prejudice and pro-social educational initiatives.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)940-952
    Number of pages13
    JournalIssues in Educational Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2018


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