The research was undertaken to analyse and evaluate the nature and quality of interactions in multicultural primary school classrooms. Special attention was focused on the influence 25 independent variables had on the dependent variable, namely group membership. Literature indicates that warm and nurturant relationships within the family help the child to achieve independence and promote social adjustment outside the home. Literature also reveals that self-acceptance and acceptance of others are dependent on the self-concept, and that acceptability in peer groups is enhanced by characteristics such as friendliness, cooperation, emotional stability and intellectual ability. It is essential to mention that some researchers claim that within multicultural classrooms, pupils often interact in racially and culturally segregated patterns. Others maintain that no racial and cultural discrimination is evident in the choice of friends in multicultural classrooms. The empirical research was undertal<.en by administering four measuring instruments, namely own designed questionnaire, the sociogram, the self-concept scale for primary school pupils and the children's personality questionnaire to 121 standard five pupils in multicultural primary schools. The administering of these instruments was aimed at determining the influence of the independent variables on the dependent variable. The stepwise discriminant analysis method revealed that of the 25 independent variables, only six, namely family background, friendship skills, gender, scholastic achievement and personality factors E (submissive versus dominant) and Q3 (undisciplined versus controlled) contributed to the variance in group membership. The multiple discriminant function was used to determine how close the individual scores of children were, in a given friendship group. The general pattern obtained, indicated that children choose each other on the basis of similar characteristics. A point that clearly came to light, is that race and language/culture do not contribute to the variance in group membership. Children formed various friendship groups across racial and cultural lines. In view of the aforementioned findings, the researcher made recommendations on ways in which parents and teachers can create suitable teaching and learning environments for children from diverse cultural milieus.Psychology of EducationD.Ed. (Psychology of Education
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