Attitudes to Diversity: A Cross-Cultural Study of Education Students in Spain, England and the United States

Countries: 
Published: 
Aug. 01, 2010

Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 33, No. 3, August 2010, 245–264
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study investigates how notions of human diversity and difference are understood by education students in Spain, England and the United States.

The study set out to examine the following hypotheses:
(a) the universal properties of the pattern of attitudes would be demonstrated if similar and common patterns in the beliefs and attitudes of the respondents about people who differ were found;

(b) that group properties would be demonstrated if statistically significant differences in views about difference were found between the respondents from each country; and

(c) that individual properties would be demonstrated if we observed differences in the personal points of view (more or less relativistic/ethnocentric) about difference.

Method

Sample The sample consisted of 310 teacher education students who enrolled at the University of Alicante, Spain, the University of Cambridge, UK, and Texas A&M University, USA.

Survey instrument
The authors developed the Beliefs and Attitudes Toward Difference Scale (BATD).
This instrument was constructed using nine dimensions of diversity thought to have significant implications for education: culture/ethnic origin, language, socioeconomic status/social class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political ideology, disability and giftedness/special talents.
These dimensions became the variables of interest in this study.

Discussion

The results of this study supported the three hypotheses.
The data suggest that attitudes toward people who differ include etic (universal), emic (cultural), and individual properties.

These findings have at least two important implications for the cross-cultural study of attitudes toward diversity:
(a) understanding its etic, emic, and individual properties; and
(b) the approach, purpose and use of cross-cultural data.

Updated: Nov. 20, 2012
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