Child of Many Worlds: Focus on the Problem of Ethnic Minorities

by Hanna Liberska (Volume editor) Marzanna Farnicka (Volume editor)
©2015 Edited Collection 228 Pages


The sense of isolation and even rejection is well known to people from minority groups, including ethnic minorities. When it comes to children from ethnic minorities, the quick identification of the problem by teachers is of great importance. Anyway the problem must be realised not only by the educators and parents of the children of the minority, but also by the parents representing the cultural majority. The presented approach to the problem of ethnic minorities is not only oriented towards the social exclusion of the ethnic minorities, but tries to create a comprehensive strategy for dealing with «new faces of exclusion». The authors describe ethnic minorities in the countries of the Visegrád Group and try to define their cultural and national identity from the perspective of intercultural psychology.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Part I – Wellbeing and the Socio-Cultural Adaptation of Children to their Environment
  • The Wellbeing of Children: Its Source and How It is Affected by a Sense of Exclusion and Acculturation
  • The sense of a child’s wellbeing as an indicator of social adaptation
  • Indices of wellbeing
  • Causes of wellbeing and their correlates
  • The sense of wellbeing of a child in relation to his or her functioning at school and among peers
  • Tolerance versus acceptance and adaptation
  • References
  • The Problem of Minorities as a Subject of Intercultural Psychology
  • Encounters of various sociocultural groups in the European space
  • National minorities in the Czech Republic
  • A brief historical excursion
  • National minorities in the Czech Republic and the population of the Czech Republic claiming adherence to them
  • Cultural and national identity
  • The casuistry of the student Nam
  • What are the possible solutions for the integration of national minorities into the majority society?
  • The psychological nature of prejudice. Influence of prejudice on the quality of life of the Roma
  • The psychological nature of prejudice
  • The origin and evolution of prejudice
  • The casuistry of Daniela
  • Upbringing and education as a mediator of culture and a tool for developing intercultural competences
  • Intercultural education as a path towards positive acceptance of diversity. Developing intercultural competences
  • Psychological particularities of intercultural communication
  • Two styles of communication can be differentiated
  • Creating stances and the development of value orientation as a basis for intercultural education
  • The Processional Concept of Upbringing and Education
  • The psychological particularities of upbringing (represented to a varying extent in various cultures) are determined mostly by these principles (in: Věra Kosiková , 2011)
  • The principle of respecting the pupil as a subject of upbringing
  • The principle of the global approach to upbringing
  • The principle of uniqueness, authenticity
  • The principle of empathic understanding and being acquainted with one’s own emotions
  • The Processional Concept of Upbringing and Education as a basis for developing intercultural competences based on the evolution of one’s own experience
  • References
  • The Discourse of Social Exclusion and its Benefits for the Majority
  • Stereotype, prejudice, discrimination, exclusion
  • Faith in a fair world and prejudice
  • Research
  • The influence of the discourse of exclusion on the excluded Roma
  • The discourse of exclusion among the majority workers
  • The detective mirror
  • Overcoming stereotypes – the first step towards terminating exclusion
  • References
  • National Minorities with a Focus on the Roma Problem and its Historical and Social-Psychological Aspects
  • The term “National Minority”
  • The terms “Gypsy” – “Roma”
  • The past of the Roma, historical experience
  • The situation of the Roma in the Czech Republic from the last century to today
  • Roma identity and new solutions of the so-called “Roma Question”
  • References
  • The Roma Population of Small Towns
  • Introduction
  • Method and sample
  • Ethnic affiliation of the heads of the households
  • The composition of households and characteristics of the heads of households
  • Their composition and some indicators of the households
  • The furnishings and the income situation of the households
  • Income and the income situation of the households
  • Problems and help; support systems
  • Health status
  • Summary
  • References
  • Town details – online sources
  • Crime and its Victims amongst Members of Different Nationalities
  • Looking at the problems of national minorities as a way of helping them
  • Minority members versus foreigners
  • Potential problems in the co-existence of multiple nationalities
  • Delinquency and crime as a social and psychological phenomenon
  • Tendencies of national minority members to become criminal offenders or victims – potential causes and consequences
  • The Psychology of Victims
  • The Offender’s Psychology
  • Social Conditions as a cause of Delinquency
  • The situation in the Czech Republic as a part of Central and Eastern Europe
  • Socially Excluded Localities
  • Available Statistics
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Part II – The Support of Children’s Adaptation to School for the Prevention of Social Exclusion
  • Children’s Sense of Safety under Different Forms of Care at School and Where They Live
  • References
  • Possibility, Challenge or Barrier? Tasks of Public Education: The International Outlook and the Hungarian Situation
  • Global correlations
  • The contradictions of efficiency
  • More effective change, the road to success
  • Contradictions in local integration practice
  • Selectivity of the education system and segregation
  • Lack of opportunity and equal opportunity
  • Segregation, integration
  • Inclusive education, integrating schools
  • A look at one implemented integration program
  • Summary
  • References
  • The Educational Requirements of Teachers’ Assistants Working with Roma Pupils: The Opinions of In-Service and University Teachers (a Comparison)
  • A brief theoretical, legislative and practical description of the position
  • Empirical methods
  • The aims of the research
  • Stages of the research project
  • Description of research methods
  • Description and characteristics of the research model
  • Opinions on the required knowledge and skills of teacher’s assistants with a focus on the education of Romany pupils
  • The scope of working activity of the teacher’s assistant
  • Theoretical knowledge and practical skills of teacher’s assistants
  • Specific skills and knowledge of the teacher’s assistant
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • A New Tool in the Fight against Social Exclusion: The Questionnaire of School Life (QSL)
  • Body of the scale
  • Theoretical background
  • Study
  • Objectivity and universality
  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • The stability in time
  • Analyses of correlations between scales
  • Developmental changes in pupils and their effect on the results obtained in subscales
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Creativity Training with the Use of Drawings in Counteracting Peer Rejection
  • The social mechanisms behind peer rejection
  • Why creativity training?
  • Creativity training – aspects of group work
  • Creativity training – aspects of individual work
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Art Therapy as a Method of Working with Children under the Threat of Exclusion
  • Art therapy
  • Workshop 1 – Art therapeutic games
  • Workshop 2 – Dramatic games
  • Workshop 3 – Fourland
  • Workshop 4 – Puppet theatre
  • Workshop 5 – Choreotherapy
  • Workshop 6 – Hug therapy
  • Summary
  • References
  • A Child of Many Worlds: A New Meaning of Acculturation
  • Planes of acculturation
  • Stages of acculturation
  • Adaptation and acculturation
  • Adaptation and acculturation and globalisation processes
  • Contemporary indicators of acculturation
  • Acculturation and the economy
  • Adaptation or acculturation
  • References
  • Authors

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Despite much effort directed to reach this goal, the contemporary world is not a peaceful and safe place. Certain global processes provoke in every culture responsive behaviour aimed at protecting safety and welfare or fighting for it. Although our civilisation promotes the freedom of individuals and equal opportunities, there are still barriers and limitations to the individual development of adults, children and youths and to their socio-cultural integration. The sense of isolation and even rejection is well known to people from minority groups, including ethnic minorities. In central and eastern Europe (particularly, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine) there are continuous threats to the process of acculturation and the idea of European integration, despite the attitude of most citizens, irrespective of whether they belong to an ethnic minority.

As follows from earlier studies, acculturation can generally be viewed as effective by the third generation of emigrant families. However, for some minorities even a presence for many generations in the environment of the majority does not lead to successful acculturation. Although, in general, situations threatening the harmonious coexistence of two or more cultures have a sporadic and individual character, it does happen that an accumulation of negative emotions can lead to armed conflict. In the past year such serious developments have been observed in Ukraine, where a strong conflict has developed between the Ukrainian majority and the Russian minority. On the micro-scale, phenomena dismantling the process of acculturation have been observed in Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. The arena of such phenomena is often school and their victims are children. Quick identification of such problems by teachers of children from ethnic minorities is of great importance, however, the problem must be resolved not only by educators and the parents of children from minorities, but also by the parents representing the cultural majority, local authorities and social organisations. Dealing with this problem requires special legal remedies and the preparation of programmes aimed at the integration of societies from different cultures.

In order to assess the scale of a problem that can lead to social exclusion in the countries of the Visegrad Group, the project “How to help children from families of ethnic minorities in their adaptation to school in the V4 countries?” was undertaken (ID 11410116). The project was initiated at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz (Poland) with support from Zielonogórski University, and was realised in cooperation with universities from the Czech Republic, Hungary and ← 7 | 8 → Slovakia under the coordination of Hanna Liberska. The project won the financial support of the International Fund at the Visegrad Group. One of the main tasks of the project was to propose a tool that would allow quick recognition of the first symptoms of the sense of exclusion in children belonging to a different culture from that of the majority in the school environment.

Within the framework of the project, in June 2014 an international seminar on the subject was held, attended by psychologists, pedagogues, sociologists, lawyers and linguists from the Visegrad Group countries, representing West Bohemia University in Pilzno (Czech Republic), Matej Bela University in Banska Bistrica (Slovakia), the University of Debrecen (Hungary), Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz (Poland) and Zielonogórski University (Poland). The project aroused great interest among the faculty of the Ukraine National University of Physical Exercise and Sports in Kiev which during the time of the project’s realisation experienced a conflict with ethnic connotations on the macro scale. Lectures and workshops organised within the Seminar were also attended by representatives of some of the ethnic minorities living in Poland. This monograph is a result of the ideas discussed at the Seminar.

The texts included in this monograph reflect the multifaceted character of the phenomenon of exclusion of ethnic minorities. It is divided into two parts entitled: Wellbeing and the Socio-Cultural Adaptation of Children to their Environment and The Support of Children’s Adaptation to School for the Prevention of Social Exclusion. Chapter 1 was written by Hanna Liberska, who considers the problem of a child’s adaptation to school in relation to his or her sense of wellbeing. She analyses the sources of a sense of wellbeing (its subjective and social/external manifestation), including those related to the child’s immediate developmental and educational environments. Chapter 2, prepared by Věra Kosiková and Hanna Liberska, concerns the problem of ethnic minorities from the perspective of inter-cultural psychology. Theoretical considerations are illustrated with the results of studies among young people representing ethnic minorities living in the Czech Republic. Chapter 3, written by Lajos Hüse, Erzsébet Balogh, Nóra Barnucz, Mihály Fónai and Erika Zolnai, indicates how the ethnic majority profits from the social exclusion of representatives of ethnic minorities. They show the hidden agenda of problems in the process of acculturation. Vacka Holecka and Marzanna Farnicka analyse in Chapter 4 the psychological and social aspects of studies on ethnic minorities living in different cultural circles and illustrate them with selected studies on the Roma minority. Chapter 5, written by Mihály Fónai, Erzsébet Balogh, Nóra Barnucz, Lajos Hüse and Erika Zolnai, presents a study of the Roma population from small cities in ← 8 | 9 → Hungary. They analyse the educational qualifications of the members of Roma families, the economic activity of the heads of the households, the members of the households, household furnishings and the households’ income situation. Their results confirm that primarily the mental health of members of Roma families is definitely worse compared to that of the non Roma households studied. Chapter 6, closing the first part of the monograph, has been prepared by Simona Musilová and Jana Miňhová. This chapter focuses on an analysis of the situation in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine, as regards criminality and delinquency and the perceived advantages and disadvantages of coexistence with different nationalities. The analysis of this topic is essential because there are many problems with no obvious solution in the field of social exclusion of different nationalities. Some of their problems are caused by higher local rates of crime committed by representatives of minorities and, consequently, their higher rate of victimization.

Part II of the monograph comprises seven chapters devoted to the possibilities of supporting the adaptation of children from ethnic minorities who are particularly threatened with social exclusion. Chapter 7, written by Grażyna Gajewska, deals with the problems related to a child’s sense of safety both at school and outside it. She analyses the difficulties in the socio-cultural adaptation of children and indicates the components related to the psychological condition of care providers, i.e., parents teachers, social workers and other adults from different institutions.

In Chapter 8 Erika Zolnai, Erzsébet Balogh, Nóra Barnucz, Mihály Fónai and Lajos Hüse discuss the resources for and limitations of the process of acculturation of children from ethnic minorities through the prism of public education, particularly in Hungary. These authors scrutinise the tasks of the education system and the social expectations of teachers. They analyse the international processes that determine the role of public education and its effectiveness and they highlight how globalisation processes are suitable for the performance of schools. Chapter 9, written by Bronislava Kasáčová and Soňa Kariková, concerns the educational requirements of teacher’s assistants engaged in the education of Roma children. The study sheds light on the intentions and theoretical background for the education of assistants working with children from socially disadvantaged environments. The authors present the results of a study carried out within the government project “Improving the level of socialization of the Roma community by means of educational systems for social and missionary workers and teacher’s assistants.” Their research compares the opinions of active teachers with those of university teachers with interesting results. ← 9 | 10 →

In Chapter 10, an international group of authors (Marzanna Farnicka, Hanna Liberska, Věra Kosiková, Vladimira Lovasová and Dariusz Freundenreich) presents an original tool, the Questionnaire of School Life (QSL), that allows for the quick recognition of a threat of social exclusion at school. Early identification of children threatened with exclusion in the school environment would allow effective intervention in order to restore their sense of belonging to the peer group at school, a matter which is of profound significance for a child’s adaptation at school. This chapter also presents the results of a study performed with the use of QSL in Polish schools. In Chapter 11, Urszula Gembara looks at the use of creativity training as an effective activity to combat peer rejection. The author claims that creative thinking prevents the rigidity of cognitive patterns that is connected with prejudice and dogmatism and thus counteracts peer rejection. The conditions for the effective application of creativity training for the prevention of peer-rejection are discussed in the context of both work with individual children within a group and work with the group as a whole. Chapter 12, written by Tatiana Maciejewska, presents art therapy as one of the methods of working with children threatened with exclusion. The professional experience of the author indicates how channeling children’s and adolescents’ activities, encouraging their interests, creating possibilities for creative endeavours, developing habits of spending quality time and integration serve as protection against different social threats, including that of exclusion from the peer group. The last chapter, written by Hanna Liberska and Marzanna Farnicka, presents concluding remarks on the processes of acculturation in the contemporary world. The general conclusion is that although postmodernism creates conditions for the emergence of new trouble spots for exclusion and new “faces of minorities,” it also offers new possibilities for making acculturation processes more effective.

The editors of the monograph wish to thank all the people involved in the project entitled “How to help children from families of ethnic minorities in their adaptation to school in the V4 countries?” (ID 11410116) and the authors of the texts published in this volume. The main idea behind this publication was to draw the attention of readers to the specific problems of ethnic minorities in the countries of Visegrad Group (though many of these problems can arise elsewhere under similar conditions) and to offer inspiration in the search for new ways of solving problems related to acculturation.

Our deep gratitude goes to the reviewers, Professor Pavel Prunner (Czech Republic) and Dr. Maria Abramova from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk (Russia), for their comments and recommendations that have improved the form of the work’s final presentation. ← 10 | 11 →

We would also like to thank those at the International Fund at the Visegrad Group for their appreciation of the worthiness of the project and the trust shown to the investigators. Our thanks are also due to the authorities and faculty of Kazimierz Wielki University for their financial and organisational support during realisation of the project and to the workers of Zielonogórski University for their great assistance in the preparation of special workshops and lectures within the program of the seminar. Finally, we are also most grateful to the representatives of ethnic minorities who agreed to share their experiences with us.

Scientific editors,

Hanna Liberska and Marzanna Farnicka


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (December)
ethnische Minderheiten Erzieher Eltern Visegrád-Gruppe
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 227 pp., 31 tables, 1 graph

Biographical notes

Hanna Liberska (Volume editor) Marzanna Farnicka (Volume editor)

Hanna Liberska is a Professor at the Institute of Psychology at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz (Poland). Her research concentrates on human development, identity, family and historical transformations. Marzanna Farnicka is a psychologist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Zielona Góra (Poland). Her research concentrates on conditionings of human aggression (including school and family), coping with stress (especially from family perspective) and supporting children in the education environment.


Title: Child of Many Worlds: Focus on the Problem of Ethnic Minorities
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