"Me Us Them. Ethnic Prejudices among Youth and Alternative Methods of Education"
Year of publication: 2003
Publishing House Universitas
A socio-statistical study on ethnic prejudice. The subject of the study is Polish youth. The author's efforts concentrate also on presenting alternative teaching methods that would counteract attitudes of aversion to national minorities among young people.
The book is addressed particularly to social scientists, teachers, students of teaching-related faculties, politicians influencing the profile of primary and secondary education, as well as NGO workers. Learning and understanding the attitudes of the young Poles towards foreigners and ethnic minorities may be of interest to any individual committed to the development of friendly relations with Others.
The book seeks not only to determine the levels of different social attitudes, but also to identify the factors that influence them to a considerable extent. The attempted diagnosis of the levels of ethnocentrism and anti-Semitism among youth is important, considering the possible hazard of the increase in prejudice and discrimination during periods of increased social unrest. The main research hypothesis, namely that there exist ethnocentric and anti-Semitic attitudes among Polish youth, has been proved by the respective surveys described in the book, just as have been the majority of specific hypotheses concerning the causes of negative stereotypes as well as the conditions for reducing prejudice. The level of prejudice against the Others proved to be dependent, in the first place, on the overall degree of acceptance of other people in an individual, but also on the type of school attended by the individual, the frequency of his/her contacts with foreigners and minorities, his/her knowledge about them, the size of a dwelling place, and his/her sense of being accepted by his/her mother.
As described in the book, the evaluation of three selected alternative teaching programs devised as part of a quasi-experimental plan of longitudinal research confronting quantitative and qualitative research methods, enabled tracking of dynamics of the attitude change over a time span of two years during an individual's secondary education. The results of the evaluation point to original teaching programs as potentially effective tools in counteracting xenophobia and intolerance, on the condition, however, that they be carried out by teachers who are creative and truly committed to their work.