International Education Journal

 

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Interethnic relations: A case study of senior students at an Australian high school


Louisa Willoughby
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University
louisa.willoughby@arts.monash.edu.au

 

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Abstract

This article provides a case study of the relevance of ethnicity in senior student's social interactions at an Australian high school where over 90 per cent of the students speak a language other than English (LOTE) at home. Drawing on ethnographic methods it explores students' own views on the role of ethnic background in shaping who they are friends with, and how these relate to their observed behaviour. It shows that several major peer groups in the school divide on broadly ethnic lines, but that shared orientation toward language and cultural maintenance, rather than common ethnic background are the glue that holds these groups together. The study also finds that relations between ethnic groups at this school are remarkably cordial and closes by reflecting on the possible reasons for this, and the steps schools can take to mitigate inter-ethnic hostility and promote a climate of tolerance and inclusion.

Interethnic relations, Multiethnic schools, identity, friendship, adolescents

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 Willoughby, L. (2007). Interethnic relations: A case study of senior students at an Australian high school. International Education Journal, 8 (1), 254-264.
http://iej.com.au

All text and graphics 1999-2007 Shannon Research Press. ISSN 1443-1475.