10 SES 01 C, Exploring Teachers' Perceptions and Attitudes
Social positions of Romani population are quite different in Central and Eastern Europe than Western Europe. During the communist era the most part of the Romani population began to assimilate in the Central and Eastern European countries. When the regime changed the Romani people got to disadvantageous positon, not just in Hungary but in Romania, in Czech and in Slovak Republic, in Bulgaria, etc. This is similar to situation of some immigrants in Western Europe: they are members of minority and it is marked and visible.
Nowadays this issue has two main aspects: human rights and education. The role (sometimes the mission) of the education is the social integration. To do so, it would be fundamental that teachers should not be prejudiced. An international research (EDUMIGROM) pointed out that the policy often “goes off” the resistance of the majority –which can be personal or institutional.
This research explores the thoughts of future-to-be teachers about Romani children. Do they have prejudices towards them? Do they think that Romani children are “less” in any way than members of majority? Do they learn about Romani people during their training (about culture, social status, etc.)?
Do they able to help the integration of Romani children or become the resistant ones?
Results of an earlier Hungarian quantitative research has shown that students in teacher training think that they are not prepared to teach Romani children. Half of the questioned students said that they would not be able to teach in a classroom if the 10-30 percent of pupils would be Romani. If the ratio of Romani pupils higher than 50 percent, only the 13 percent of students answered that they could teach in that class. I expected similar outcomes; but I wanted to explore the reasons behind these opinions. I expected that students had previous experiences (from their own childhood) which led to prejudices and their training did not help to overcome these prejudices. I assumed that they did not learn about Romani culture or social status.
There was one more important topic: Romani Colleges for Advanced Studies. These special institutes were founded in 2011 and 2012 in Hungary. Most of them are managed by a Church, but a few of them connected to a University directly. The Faculty of Child and Adult Education has a Romani College for Advanced Studies. This is a totally different campus than the Faculty of Arts and Literature; they are 15 km from each other. Kindergarten teacher training takes place at the Faculty of Child and Adult Education, while teacher training at the Faculty of Arts and Literature. I assumed that there was some institutional impact, and therefore students in kindergarten teacher training would learn more about Romani College for Advanced Studies than students in teacher training; and this knowledge would reduce their prejudices.
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