Publication 2704

Gash H. & Gash V. (1999) Constructivism and the ethics of mutual respect. In: Lasker G. E. & Hiwaki K. (eds.) Culture of peace: Survival strategy and action programme for the third millennium. International Institute for Advanced Studies, Tecumseh Ontario: 51–58. Fulltext at
In previous papers we have examined experimental programs for children designed to reduce prejudice towards “outsiders” individuals we called “different others.” We found that initial positive and pro-social responses towards “different others” sometimes became negative as a consequence of reflecting on the “outsider” group. This was particularly surprising in control groups that merely reflected on the “other” in the context of completing a questionnaire. Moreover, a gender difference was apparent in these studies with boys having a greater tendency towards more prejudiced cognitive constructions. In this paper we focus on studies with a pre-(post) test design to assess the impact of completing questionnaires on creating constructions of others (negative and positive). This present meta-analysis of the responses of control groups towards concepts of ‘different others’ covers topics ranging from gender stereotypes to children with forms of mental handicap to children in other European nations. Classroom constructivist discussion is suggested as a means of promoting mutual respect and tolerance towards perceived ‘outsiders’ in the development of relationships.

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