Radboud Reflects: Diversity in the Classroom – Befriend the Other

Lecture and conversation by developmental psychologist Sandra Graham
Radboud Reflects

Should our classrooms be more diverse? And how can we give all children the same educational opportunities? American and Dutch classrooms do not reflect wider society. Students typically share the same ethnic background and come from the same social class, even when their schools are located in a diverse neighborhood. Is this problematic? And would children benefit from a diverse set of peers? Come and listen on October 16th to developmental psychologist Sandra Graham and social scientist Eddie Denessen on diversity in classrooms.

Segregated schools in a diverse country

While the United States of America is ethnically more diverse than ever, schools are increasingly segregated. In her research, developmental psychologist Sandra Graham has shown that this school segregation has a negative impact on children. Students in diverse schools have more positive attitudes towards peers of other ethnicities and, moreover, are less likely to bully each other. Why is this the case?

Dutch classrooms

In the Netherlands also, classrooms are not always representative of the neighborhood they are located in. Social scientist Eddie Denessen investigates the association between education and social inequality. He concludes that children do not get the same opportunities. There is a strong correlation between parents’ level of education and the educational career of their children. Furthermore, teachers’ expectations affect students’ performance – a phenomenon that especially disadvantages children of Moroccan and Turkish descent.

Sandra Graham and Eddie Denessen will lecture on diversity and education in the USA and the Netherlands. After that, they will be interviewed and you will have the opportunity to ask your own questions.

This program will be in English.

About the speakers

Sandra Graham is a Distinguished Professor of Education at University of California, Los Angeles. She investigates ethnic diversity in schools, students’ academic and social motivation, and bullying. Graham will receive an honorary doctorate from Radboud University on October 17, 2023.

Eddie Denessen is a professor in orthopedagogics at Radboud University. He investigates the relation between social inequality and education.


Participation costs € 7,50 | RU employees, Alumni Benefits Card-holders pay € 5,-  | Students and pupils and Radboud Reflects-subscribers have free admittance.

This is a program of Radboud Reflects and the Faculty of Social Sciences at Radboud University.

In honour of its centenary, Radboud University will award seven honorary doctorates in 2023. Sandra Graham will receive her honorary degree on behalf of the Faculty of Social Sciences during the annual Dies Natalis celebration on 17 October 2023.