In order to understand the development of multi ethnic friendships, this study focused on the relationships which form between second grade students from different cultures. Because of the nature and complexity of the study, the qualitative inquiry approach was utilized. Students in a rural, multiethnic elementary school in the Pacific Northwest were observed for a period of 2 1/2 months. In addition, a series of interviews were conducted.
In response to the question, "What factors are important in the formation of friendships in a multiethnic classroom and what roles do they play in this process?" three factors were identified. In the formation of multiethnic friendships, language, migration and self-concept/self-esteem all play important roles.
The more general question, "How are friendships formed in a multiethnic classroom?" provided some very interesting conclusions. Through academic abilities and interests, group work and seat assignments, free time, and second language development, students have the opportunity to develop friendships with children from a different culture.
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