For the past four blogs I have been discussing the topic of stereotyping within the educational system and with the help of comments each week I have learned about new sub topics and interesting facts and opinions about stereotyping. So this week I am going to summarise and condense all of the 4 blogs along with some new research to make a synthesis of this topic.
In my first blog (https://stephk91.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/stereotypes-in-education-gender-issues-social-class-and-environment-factors/) I wrote about what stereotyping was and how it affects individuals and the society. I found some research by Ambady, Shih, Kim & Pittinsky (2001) that found that positive stereotypes in schools actually facilitate cognitive performance whereas negative stereotypes hinder cognitive stereotypes. Then I also found an article by the telegraph that found children from poorer background were marked down due to the attitudes and stereotypes the teachers had of these children. Another piece of research from the same article argued that the teachers traditional stereotype about boys behaving worse than girls in fact holds back boys educational abilities in school. For the final part of this first blog I briefly discussed the psychological effects of stereotyping and the effect reinforcement and conformity has on children. This first blog taught me what a huge impact stereotyping has on children, we all have heard of different stereotypes but I did not know to what extent these stereotypes could have on individuals.
My second blog (https://stephk91.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/stereotyping-and-the-self-fulfilling-prophecy/) was actually inspired by a particular comment made on my first blog. This comment suggested how the self fulfilling prophecy could be a major issue related to stereotyping. Before I wrote this second blog I did not know very much about the self fulfilling prophecy apart from the basics of what it was so I got to research and review some studies about this particular sub topic without having any pre conceptions. I found several research papers that supported the self fulfilling prophecy such as Pedersen, Faucher & Eaton (1978) who found that children’s success in adult life was significantly affected by a teachers attitude in school. These children ended up carrying out the behaviour of the self fulfilling prophecy. I also found that it was suggested that stereotypes are often made unconsciously to make everyday life simpler and it is a natural aspect within human behaviour.
For my third blog ( https://stephk91.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/the-effects-of-grouping-children-according-to-their-ability-in-primary-schools/) I branched off to discuss the issue of ability grouping within primary schools as this issue popped up time and time again whilst researching stereotypes and the self fulfilling prophecy. After looking at previous research it was suggested that once children reach the age of seven, one in six children are separated into ability level classes. There was also a lot of research that argued the issue of grouping children into levels of ability at such a young age and some of the problems were that children were then stuck in that group sometimes for all subjects. An article by the guardian (2013) found that summer born children were much more likely to be placed into the bottom group compared to autumn born children due to ability grouping at such a young age. There are negative effects of being placed into ability groups such as the self fulfilling prophecy coming true due to more stereotypes being made about lower level students.
For my final and forth blog ( https://stephk91.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/does-biology-explain-gender-stereotypes/) on stereotyping I went back to research in more depth whether biology in linked to gender stereotypes and the issue of biology playing a part in where stereotypes come from has been an interest of mine throughout these blogs. Research by JHCC (1998) and APA (2000) both found evidence to suggest that genetic are linked to character traits and it is these traits that could determine an outcome for an individual. IQ levels have also been linked to genetic as APA (2000) also found that ”70% of the variation in IQ can be attributed to genes.” Although there was research to suggest that biology can provide an explanation to where these stereotypes may have originated it is also suggested that they do not determine our destiny. Also Fausto-Sterling argued that social class and our environment also play are factor.
Thus, to conclude I have learned an a lot about the topic of stereotypes and found the comments extremely helpful in guiding through what topics to discuss. When I started out discussing stereotypes I thought there would of been a simple answer to solve stereotypes in schools but I have learned through research of my own and the comments that people have made on these blogs that there is much more to stereotyping than I originally thought. However, this topic has also taught me what huge affect stereotyping in schools has on us in later life. After writing all of these blog it leaves me thinking what could be done to avoid the self fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping. A blog written by Amy (2010) suggested that in order to stop the self fulfilling prophecy coming true one must find evidence to suggest that such stereotypes are true and not myths. Another technique is to tackle the problem head on, for example if a child from a poorer area was struggling in maths rather than give up and assume it’s because they are from a lower social class than their peers they must ask for help and stick with it.
I have learnt a lot over the past few weeks but there are so many sub topics to research regarding this area that I could have looked into and so many more research papers out there to discuss and each one providing a new perspective. Maybe one day a solution into how to avoid negative stereotypes affecting children’s abilities could be put into place or maybe it is just inevitable…
Pedersen. E., Faucher. T. A., & Eaton. W. W., (1978) A New Perspective on the Effects of First-Grade Teachers on Children’s Subsequent Adult Status. Harvard Educational Review, 48 (1) 1-31. Retrieved from http://her.hepg.org/content/t6612555444420vg/