Children’s Understanding of Racial Diversity through Role-Play: A Case Study of Kindergarteners in South Korea

Su-Jeong Wee, So Jung Kim,Kyoung Jin Kim
page. 125~149 / 2016 Vol.10 No.2


In spite of the emphases on multicultural education and role-playing activities in early childhoodclassrooms in South Korea, there has been a startling paucity of studies examining the effectiveness ofrole-play in teaching kindergarteners multiracial and ethnic awareness. This qualitative case studyexamines how South Korean kindergarteners develop their perception and understanding of racial andcultural diversity through role-plays. 25 five year-old children and their parents and teacher wereparticipated. The data were collected in a metropolitan city in Korea for three months throughparticipatory observations, interviews with the participants, and written materials. We found that roleplayactivities functioned as a medium to foster the children’s emergent understanding of racial diversity,equality, and social justice, and to reduce their racial prejudice toward different racial groups. Thefindings of the study suggest how teachers should prepare and what they should provide and implementin order to help young children develop unbiased attitudes toward different races and cultures.

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