Assessing Ethnic Beliefs Beforehand


  • John H. Murphy

    1. University of Southern Colorado
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      John H. Murphy (Ed.D., University of Northern Colorado) is Associate Professor of German at the University of Southern Colorado; Pueblo, CO


ABSTRACT To achieve the behavioral objective of developing positive attitudes toward an ethnic group, the instructor must first ascertain what entry beliefs his students have. This study sought to create an easy method for establishing the rank order of beliefs about Germans. Forty-nine high school subjects, using selfreport, generated a final scale of twenty-three statements.

Two themes dominated the scale: forgiveness of the past German generation and tolerance for the present one. Some old stereotypes disappeared. Follow-up analysis of individual beliefs revealed inaccurate cultural and historical in formation and prejudice among subjects. Implications for instruction are that German teachers need to address the strong interest in the history of the Nazi period and to update political misconceptions about Germany.