17 Key to Racial Integration

Based on Research by Elliot Aronson, Ph.D. Psychology Science Minute written by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D.

Psychology Science Minute brought to you by the School of Psychology at Florida Institute of Technology, I’m Dr. Sarah Arnett.

When Elliot Aronson was 9 years old in New York City, he was beat up repeatedly as a Jewish boy walking to school through different ethnic neighborhoods.  One day nursing a bloody lip, he thought, “Why do they hate me so when they don’t even know me!”

Aronson, became a social psychologist when he learned that psychology asks and answers this kind of real world question.  In Texas in 1963 schools were integrating, fights between black and white students broke out.  Some schools closed.  Dr. Aronson sent his grad team into classrooms. They observed children’s interactions were very competitive, unfairly setting black students up for failure. They designed an alternative teaching style putting black and white students together on teams.  For a team to be successful, all had to work well together…then their team shined.  Within 6 weeks fights on the playground reduced, relations between children improved and integration proceeded smoothly there.

How can we use this research? We humans too often treat others who are different with prejudice…not just race, but gender, religion, etc.  How can you encourage joint cooperation on common goals, bringing diverse or opposing people together?

That’s your Florida Tech Psychology Science Minute. I’m Dr. Sarah Arnett.

General References:

Aronson, E. (2010). Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist. Basic Books.

Aronson, E. & Goode, E. (1980). Training teachers to implement jigsaw learning: A manual for teachers. In S. Sharan, Hare, P. , Webb, S., Hertz-Lazarowitz, R. (Eds.). Cooperation in Education.  Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press.

Aronson, Elliot, and Osherow, Neal. Applied Social Psychology Annual, 1980 Vol 1, 1980, 163-196.

Aronson, E., Blaney, N., Stephan, C., Sikes, J. and Snappen, N. (1978).  The Jigsaw Classroom.  Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Dean, Ben, Ph.D. Interview with Elliot Aronson:   http://www.mentorcoach.com/aronson/

Specific References:

Aronson, Elliot and Osherow, Neal. (1980). Cooperation, prosocial behavior, and academic performance: Experiments in the desegregated classroom. Applied Social Psychology Annual, Vol 1, 163-196.

Suzanne Ziegler. (1981). The Effectiveness of Cooperative Learning Teams for Increasing Cross-ethnic Friendship: Additional Evidence. Human Organization, 40, 3, p. 264 – 268.

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