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Title: Understandings of "respect for diversity" within primary schools in Northern Ireland
Author: Burns, Stephanie Louise.
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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The term 'respect' has gained prominence in Northern Irish government policies aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion, and the primary school curriculum reflects its perceived central role in relation to personal development and mutual understanding. Using interview methods and thematic analysis, this research firstly explored understandings of 'respect for diversity' amongst pupils (age 7-11 years old), teachers, and parents; the methods used to teach it; and the socialisation processes used by parents to embed it. Common in the understandings of respect was: curiosity and knowledge-building; an acceptance of the value and existence of difference; and a commitment to treating others equally. Adults included self-respect in their understandings, and children specifically mentioned acting in solidarity with those who were discriminated against. Parents mentioned the role of respect in aiding more harmonious interpersonal relations, but teachers spoke the language of inclusion and pluralism rather than conflict transformation. Empathy was viewed as the key motivating factor behind respect. Common to the socialisation and teaching strategies used to embed respect for diversity were those which stretched children's empathic range and which challenged their cognitive reasoning skills. The thesis also considers the implications of the findings for: models of acculturation; curriculum development; and the promotion of respect for diversity on the whole-school and classroom-levels in a conflict-affected and increasingly diverse society. Rooted in the understandings articulated, a measurement tool of respect for diversity (for use with children in classrooms) was also developed and piloted. This addressed a gap in the tools available for the teaching of respect for diversity. The measure was administered to 246 children of age 7-11, and its validity was confirmed using exploratory factor analysis, convergent and discriminant validity checks, and face validity checks with educational policymakers. Cronbach's alpha revealed that the final 18-item measure had an acceptable level of internal reliability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available