Seminars & Events
Seminar: Peter A.J. Stevens – Ghent University
Teacher Racism in the Classroom: An Explorative Study of the Meaning and Perception of Teacher Racism by Ethnic Majority and Minority Students
> This study uses ethnographic data collected in a Flemish (Belgian) secondary, multicultural technical and vocational education school, to investigate how, to what extent and why students perceive their teachers to be racist. The analysis suggests that students have relatively few experience of teacher racism. Using a Symbolic Interactionist framework, this study shows that students will define particular attitudes and social actions of their teachers as indicative of teacher racism. The analysis suggests that while students consider particular forms of teacher behavior as racist, there is disagreement over the status of particular teachers as racist. Differences between students in their perceptions of teachers as racist seem to be informed by the interactions between students and teachers and the particular meaning attached to teachers’ attitudes and social actions in particular contexts. More specifically, the findings show that variability in students’ perceptions of teachers’ behavior as racist is informed by: 1) the intentionality and 2) the value attached to particular forms of teacher behavior, 3) the extent to which teachers’ racist behavior is expressed in a particular/universal way, 4) differences between teachers’ and students’ perceptions of their respective social roles in school and classroom, 5) strategies used by teachers to protect their professional status, and 6) the perceived general role performance of a teacher. The conclusions discuss the implications of this study for measuring racism in social organizations.
Peter A.J. Stevens
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