Anne Frank programme important in challenging prejudice

New research by University psychologists has shown that a school programme to teach young people about the life of Anne Frank can help them learn to challenge prejudice.

The research found that, after completing a schools programme run by the Anne Frank Trust UK, over 97% of students felt more open and positive about at least one other group in society who are different to themselves. These groups included Muslims, Jews and homeless people.

The study also found that after completing the programme, young people were less likely to ignore incidents of hate-related bullying and felt more confident in reacting to it. They also reported a significant increase in their knowledge about prejudice.

The Anne Frank Trust UK schools programme teaches young people about the life of Anne Frank against the backdrop of the Holocaust. It has been delivered to over 800 schools nationally to help young people to learn about the dangers of prejudice and discrimination.

Supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, researcher Katie Goodbun from the University’s School of Psychology analysed evidence of the views of over 300 school students in 31 schools that had completed the programme, both before they started it and again after finishing.

Professor Dominic Abrams, also of the School of Psychology, who supervised the research for the Trust, said: ‘We found that the programme’s focus on the Jewish experience of Anne Frank and the Holocaust does not limit its impact to attitudes towards Jewish people. On the contrary, this focus provides the basis for improved attitudes towards a wide range of other social groups who are typically targets of prejudice or discrimination. It is clear that the programme acts as a route to generalised prejudice reduction.’

Measurement of the impact of the Anne Frank Trust’s work will continue in an ongoing research partnership with the School of Psychology.