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Higher Education

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 243–262 | Cite as

Intercultural learning in graduate studies at an Israeli college of education: Attitudes toward multiculturalism among Jewish and Arab students

  • Lilach Lev Ari
  • Dina Laron
Article

Abstract

The purpose of the present study is to investigate the factors which affect attitudes towards multiculturalism among Jewish and Arab graduate students who experience intercultural learning in an Israeli-Jewish academic college of education. In Israeli society, it is in higher education institutions where young people from different ethnic groups first encounter the ‘others’. This is due to the structure of the Israeli elementary and secondary education system, which is divided into Jewish and Arab segregated sub-systems. In contrast, the country’s higher education institutions are open to everyone. The research population was composed of first and second year graduate students, all of whom were practicing teachers or involved in other educational work. Participants completed questionnaires and a smaller sample was also interviewed. All of the students are practicing teachers or involved in other educational work. Everyone perceived the college’s socio-cultural climate as an open and multicultural one in both years of study. However, these positive feelings characterized Jewish students to a larger extent than Arab students, while the socio-cultural aspect as well as the quality of the academic experience had a positive impact on multicultural attitudes primarily among Arab students. Thus, a multicultural climate is not enough to effect a positive change in entrenched attitudes toward multiculturalism. Multicultural education policy should also be reinforced through a formal academic curriculum, so as to set an example for ongoing social change which will further encourage graduate students—majority and minority alike—to implement their multicultural positive experiences in their own schools in the future.

Keywords

Intercultural learning Multicultural education Encounter with ‘others’ Jewish and Arab students Pluralist Multi cultured societies 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oranim, Academic College of EducationKiryat TivonIsrael
  2. 2.Bar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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