Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

BA CEC Graduate receives top marks for dissertation

8 July 2007 |

A recent graduate from the BA Childhood, Education and Culture course has been commended on her dissertation by tutor Mary Chambers for being one of the best dissertations she has ever read.

The dissertation, submitted by Jane Reas, explored the understanding of interracial difference by primary age children from an all-white rural village school. The children involved were chosen randomly from students aged between 5-9 years – reception through to year 5.

Jane explained, "Part of my research included asking participants to look at a set of 11 photographs of different children and choose an image of a child who they would like to play with or be friends with - all chose images of white children. Asked to choose a child they would not like to play with or be friends with, almost half the sample chose black or Chinese children with 9 of the 14 choosing the image of the same black boy. None, however, gave colour as a reason why, but neither was there a recurring or consistent reason for their choices."

Jane found that worrying attitudes towards people of other races did appear to exist in even very young children adding, “Today’s children are tomorrow’s adults and as research has shown, interracial awareness begins at a very early age. Milner argues that “attitudes are made, not born” (Milner, 1983) and my small study appeared to reveal that some uncomfortable attitudes are being ‘made’ by very young white children in rural environments.”

Jane now plans to continue her interest in the broad area of ‘childhood’ and has applied to follow the MA in Social Research at Leeds with a view to PhD studies.

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