The relation between bilingual education and children's intergroup attitudes
Ashley Morgan Weibel
May 7, 2019
Department or Program
I investigated the relationship between bilingual education and children’s intergroup attitudes in order to better understand the potential prejudice-reduction value of bilingual education programs. I predicted that White children in bilingual classrooms would demonstrate more positive attitudes toward both contacted and non-contacted outgroups than would White children in English-only classrooms. Thirty-nine White fourth- and fifth-grade students completed a photograph activity and a self-report survey measuring their attitudes toward an ingroup, other White children, a contacted outgroup, Latino/a children, and a non-contacted outgroup, Asian-heritage children. Attitudes were operationalized as scores on four submeasures: ingroup/outgroup evaluation, friendship preference, perceived similarity, and acceptance. Analyses indicated that children in bilingual classrooms did not demonstrate elevated friendship preferences, perceived similarity, or acceptance toward the target outgroups, and classroom type did not interact with a target’s ethnicity to determine attitude. However, analyses indicated that children in bilingual classrooms demonstrated elevated evaluation of the three target groups of children as compared to children in English-only classrooms, suggesting that bilingual education promotes positive intergroup attitudes to a greater extent than do English-only classrooms. Overall, results point toward the importance of classroom type and the language of instruction when designing anti-prejudice programs in schools. Keywords: bilingual education, intergroup attitudes, intergroup contact, secondary transfer effect.