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Browsing by Author "Tyni, Soila"

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  • Tyni, Soila (2017)
    Primary school textbooks of geography often transmit a stereotypical image of other nations. Already children have images of other countries, although they have not visited in those. Stereotype refers to how people usually think of one characteristic that represents all members of a given group. The aim of the current research has been to investigate in 4th grader: their images and stereotypes of Finland and Finns, Sweden and Swedes, Estonia and Estonians and Russia and Russians. In addition, I have wanted to find out if children have a negative or positive attitude towards Finland and it's neighbouring countries. It was also examined if the pupils saw some of the countries as similar or different compared to Finland and discussed in terms of national identity: do pupils think of some of the countries as an object of shared identification or as being completely different from us. Data were collected from two primary schools in Nurmijärvi and the participants were from 9 to 10 years old. The questionnaire included drawing and writing tasks. In the questionnaire, pupils were supposed to draw three things that come to their minds first about these countries or their people and to describe them with three adjectives. There were altogether 46 answers: 18 boys and 28 girls. Drawings and written responses were analysed using the tools of content analysis. Data were classified and categorised based on my research questions and theoretical frame. The images of Finland emphasized Finnish nature, while Swedish and Estonian images referred to tourism and pupils' experiences. In Russia's case, images and stereotypes were very political, and many of them were about war. Pupils' attitudes towards Finland and Sweden were very positive and also Estonia was experienced positively. Most negative mentions were from Russia and Russians. Sweden and Estonia were seen as similar to Finland through the positive things, especially Estonia was seen as related. Although children gave examples for similarities in positive matters between Finland and Russia, taken into account the amount of negative adjectives and drawings from Russia, it can be said that Russia is seen as distinct from Finland, Sweden, and Estonia. It can be therefore stated that these pupils had strong stereotypes, and especially about Russia. Stereotypes can lead to prejudice and, also based on this research, should receive more attentions.