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Parent, teacher and student attitudes toward boundary-crossing teachers

Shahar Gindi (Faculties of Arts and Education, Beit Berl College, Kfar Sava, Israel)
Yitzhak Gilat (Research, Evaluation and Development Authority, Levinsky College of Education, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
Rachel Sagee (Research, Evaluation and Development Authority, Levinsky College of Education, Tel-Aviv, Israel)

Journal for Multicultural Education

ISSN: 2053-535X

Article publication date: 20 November 2020

Issue publication date: 11 December 2020




Minority teachers is a growing phenomenon that is encouraged as part of a quest to diversify teaching staff. Among minority teachers, there exists a group of boundary-crossing teachers whose “otherness” contrasts with the different student population and/or staffroom composition. The study aims to examine parent, teacher and student attitudes toward teachers crossing two types of “borders” that are central to Israeli society: the Jewish-Arab rift and the religious-secular rift.


A representative sample of 182 Jewish Israeli parents, 201 Jewish Israeli students grades 10–12 and 101 Jewish Israeli teachers completed questionnaires regarding their attitudes toward boundary-crossing teachers.


The overall attitudes toward cross-boundary teaching were positive. Attitudes were found to be associated with political affiliation, religiosity and age. The more left-wing participants were, the less religious and older the more they supported boundary-crossing teaching. Students were significantly less supportive of teachers crossing the Jewish-Arab divide compared with adults. The attitudes toward boundary-crossing ultra-orthodox teachers in a secular school showed a distinct pattern, as it received support from all divides of the research participants.

Social implications

The findings point to the vicious cycle of segregation in Israeli society whereby the lack of contact between Jews and Arabs leads to intergroup anxiety which in turns leads to less support in further contact through boundary-crossing teaching, especially among high school students.


The minority teachers’ literature often refers to the need to diversify the teaching staff or examines teachers and their relations with students. This study if the first to examine how other stakeholders’ view the idea of minority teachers.



This research was supported by Levinsky College of Education


Gindi, S., Gilat, Y. and Sagee, R. (2020), "Parent, teacher and student attitudes toward boundary-crossing teachers", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 14 No. 3/4, pp. 281-294.



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