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Instructions and Empathy: Teachers’ Role in Changing Intercultural Relations in School Settings

On May 24 Lucia Bombieri took part in the "Culture matters" research seminar with the report "Instructions and Empathy: Teachers’ Role in Changing Intercultural Relations in School Settings".

This report was presented the preliminary results of a quasi-experiment performed in Italy and Russia. The main goal of this study was to investigate the teachers’ role (attitudes and behavior) in changing children’s responses toward migrant peers, in a socio-cultural and cross-cultural perspective.

The participants are teachers and students in the last year of the Primary School from different cities and regions (North of Italy and Moscow region). The methods included two sets of instructions (underlying more welcoming or disciplined common norms) and two priming tasks activating or not empathy. A fictional vignette was presented to prompt expectations about a new student coming to join each class-group shortly. Subsequently, the pupils were asked to appraise both the individual and the social groups through a questionnaire. Finally, they were asked to express their opinion on the most successful strategies for integrating the newcomer.

The results were addressed how the two manipulations acted separately and interacted with each other. Considering that the study is not completed yet, with data in Russia still not fully collated, the focus was on the longitudinal study in Italy and a partial comparison between the two countries.