Essay Example on Hidden curriculum is that of The self fulfilling Prophecy

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Further to the issue of the hidden curriculum is that of The self fulfilling prophecy which is conceptually linked to the Thomas Theorem after its author W I Thomas that holds If you believe things are real they are real in their consequences University discoveries 2009 Thomas 1909 argued that if people define social situations as real they become real in there consequences now known as the self fulfilling prophecy It suggests that the process of labelling and stereotyping of individuals by others is taken on board and becomes internalised resulting in the given label becoming true Subsequently teacher expectations can have a real effect on how students achieve Those students who have been told they are no good at something are more likely to down tools and therefore underachieve As a result tutors spend more time with those high achievers or those that the tutor believes will succeed The evidence presented in Brown v Board of Education 1954 suggested that black children brought up in a society that held them to be inferior learned to feel and act inferior Harber and Meighan 2007 p 167 Babad et al 1982 cited in Jussim and Harber 2005 found no differences in athletic accomplishments between high and low expectancy students performance among low bias teachers In contrast they did find that the high expectancy students performed more highly than the low expectancy students among high bias teachers 



The most famous research into teacher expectation and labelling was that of Rosenthal Jacobson 1968 study of a California Primary School Pygmalion in the classroom Commonly known as the Pygmalion effect Teachers were told pupils were high achievers based on previous results This was incorrect the pupils were chosen at random However one year late the same pupils were achieving high grades Teachers were spending greater interest in them as they believed they were high achievers and as a result the pupils become more motivated and their confidence grew For over four decades since the classic Rosenthal and Jacobson 1968 study the voluminous research on teacher expectations has shown in both experimental and correlational studies that the self fulfilling prophecy effect does exist in classrooms Rubie Davies et al 2014 p 181 Indeed a growing body of research suggests that expectations a teacher sets for an individual student can significantly affect the student s performance These expectation may be based on student characteristics such as ethnicity family income or indicators of past performance THE PROGRESS OF Education Reform 2012 p 1

The consequence of this is that teachers consciously or subconsciously set lower standards for some students provide minimal feedback on student errors and minimal feedback on correct answers As a result the action can negatively impact student performance and effectively perpetuate the achievement gaps seen in the classroom Too often educators assume that the child who exhibits academic talent can learn in any environment and therefore they conform the environment and teaching to those students most in need of help Gentry et al 2001 cited in Gates 2010 p 204 and those students who need the most assistance are relegated to a remedial education whereas those who have the highest potential either work alone or in an environment that does not stimulate them and meet their needs Gallagher et al 1997 cited in Gates 2010 p 204 This strategy of teaching is based entirely on the student s label and not on an assessment of their educational social or emotional needs Subconsciously or not we as educators are constructing stereotypes and accordingly labels construct pupil identities influencing both how teachers come to see and treat pupils and how consequently pupils come to see themselves Moore 2004 p 28 However for the expectations of teachers to have an impact on students they must be expressed in some way as stated by Brophy 1983 cited in Rubie Davies et al 2014 p 184

Some researchers have argued that the effects of teacher expectations on student achievement outcomes are small on average resulting in a 5 10 difference in student achievement whereas other researchers have reported much larger effects It is apparent that doubt still remains over teacher expectation effects Firstly it's not clear how frequent this effect occurs Secondly it is not clear whether it affects some aspects of interaction for example grading praising or blaming Thirdly it is not clear how significant teacher expectations are they may be minor rather than a major feature Harber and Meighan 2007 What is clear as Gates 2010 p 204 points out we need to understand that students are multifaceted individuals with many different skills abilities and challenges and teacher expectation and labelling does have some effect DeWitt 2013 concludes that we can all learn from self fulfilling prophecies We can learn to change the ones we have about our students staff and even ourselves We can also try to change the larger conversation about how educational institutions are failing because the majority of them are not We can strive to become less bias in our labelling and formulate strategies which enhance the positive aspect of the hidden curriculum


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