Sunday, April 14, 2013

Daily Assignment #131: Pygmalion Effect

A teacher asked me if I had written a blog on the Pygmalion Effect.  In checking my archives, I discovered this Daily Assignment in drafts.  I hope I'm not repeating myself. 

Often teachers have an expectation, and a belief, as to how students will perform or behave.  It is called the Pygmalion effect, named after a Cypriot sculptor from Greek mythology, who fell in love with a female statue he had carved out of ivory, also known as the Rosenthal effect, after  psychologist Robert Rosenthal who studied this phenomenon and published a report in the 1968.
The Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling believe/perception, by a teacher, whether negative or positive, which impacts student performance.  
In Rosenthal's study he predicted that when given information that certain students had higher IQs than others, teachers may unconsciously behave in ways that facilitate and encourage the students' success and the inverse for lower IQs.
In the study, a number of teachers were informed that certain students in their class had scored higher on academic and intelligence tests.  The teachers were asked to track the progress of those students through the school year.  Not surprisingly, those students performed at higher academic levels. 
There was one snag in the experiment: The students that Rosenthal had said were academically gifted actually weren't any different from the rest of the students in the class. 
James Rhem, executive editor for the online National Teaching and Learning Forum, commented:  "When teachers expect students to do well and show intellectual growth, they do; when teachers do not have such expectations, performance and growth are not so encouraged and may in fact be discouraged in a variety of ways." 

Teachers send expectations and their beliefs about student learning through their words, actions, lessons/assignments, body language, attitude and responses to students' answers and questions.  Teachers must be vigilant in regard in all these areas and some I haven't mentioned. Please refer to Daily Assignment #97.  
  1.  Rosenthal, Robert; Jacobson, Lenore (1992). Pygmalion in the classroom.
  2. ^ "Pygmalion In The Classroom". Retrieved 18-Oct-2010.
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Best Effort,

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