Synthesis of Topic

For the past four blogs I have been discussing the topic of stereotyping within the educational system and with the help of stereotypecomments 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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


11 thoughts on “Synthesis of Topic

  1. I totally agree that stereotypes are difficult to avoid and it is still an open question how to address them effectively. Avoiding them totally is not possible. I think that it was one of your earlier blogs where I commented that humans utilize schemas to make sense of their world. Schemas are mediums to aid humans to combine information with meaning. Schemas help to react fastly and effortlessly in situations, but also categorize the world and thus make people´s cognitions prone to stereotypes (Derry, 1996).

    Grant and Holmes demonstrated the connection of schemas and stereotypes (1981). Participants had to form an impression of either an Irish or a Chinese stimulus person described by two character traits. These traits were either stereotypical to the ethnic group or unrelated. In both cases the stereotypical traits were mainly used to describe the stimulus person. When that was not the case, the unrelated characteristic was integrated into the stereotypical schema of the ethnic group. These results indicate that stereotypes are widely used to generalize traits of certain groups and this can be particularly fatal in the school setting. As stereotypes being substantial in social perception it can affect teacher´s subjective perspective without him being aware of it. His resulting expectations consequently can lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy coming true.

    Derry, S. J. (1996). Cognitive schema theory in the constructivist debate. Educational Psychologist, 31(3-4), 163-174.

    Grant, P. R., & Holmes, J. G. (1981). The integration of implicit personality theory schemas and stereotype images. Social Psychology Quarterly, 107-115.

  2. Steph,
    Interesting read and as you have highlighted, it is overwhelming how much conformity can affect us in every day life.
    You mentioned that teacher’s have been found to hand out lower grades to certain stereotypes, such as student’s from lower socio-economic background. I touched upon this is in one of my blogs, whereby I explored the outcome of different parental involvement / socio-economic background may have upon grading. I found that because parents from a lower socio-economic background generally held grades with a less important value (Rosen, 1956), they were not pushing their children to achieve highly (Gonzalez & Blanco, 1991). Therefore, the student usually conformed to the same ‘level’ or ‘type’ of work their families/neighbourhood participated in, creating a cycle. This type of conformity may hold a child back from pursuing a career in want they want, rather than their families expectations.

    • In relation to Psu210 comment I agree I think we do need some sort of stereotyping and schema’s otherwise life would be a confusing place. One question that got me thinking about this topic is whether negative stereotypes apply to other parts of the world, do stereotypes affect children later in life say for example in Africa? An article by the guardian 2002 argued that the media is the reason why we have so many stereotypes for third world countries when in fact only the minority of third world countries are related to old stereotypes.

  3. Hello

    I have really enjoyed reading your blogs over thee past number of weeks and I thought you had picked a very interesting topic.

    It is true that stereotypes have a great impact on learning and I don’t think it will ever be possible to completely get rid of the effects of stereotypes in education. One possible way to reduce thee effects of stereotyping in education could be to provide specialist training for teachers. Research has found that those who undergo training to reduce stereotype bias demonstrated a reduced activation of stereotyping compared to those who had little or no training. (Kawakami, Dovidio, Moll, Hermsen, & Russin 2000)

  4. I find this idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy very interesting. Stereotyping in education may be detrimental to a someones ability to learn due to the attitudes of the teachers as you mentioned. However, I think stereotypes not only affect the children but affect the teachers attitudes of the children. It has been found that often boys are punished more than girls but not because they behave any worse but because girls are simply quieter. ( It is possible that girls are punished less because teachers believe girls to be better behaved and therefore do not notice the misbehaving. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to positive reactions. Jussim, Eccles and Madon (1996) found that teachers were not biased towards students regardless of race, gender or social class suggesting the stereotyping played no role.


    Jussim, L., Eccles, J., & Madon, S. (1996). Social perception, social stereotypes, and teacher expectations; Accuracy and the quest for the powerful self-fulfilling prophecy. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 28, 281-388.

  5. Hi I really enjoyed your blog and the content is very well written.
    From researching into your topic of stereotyping in schools, I came across the study Archer et al (1991) testing into gender perceptions of school subjects. The findings suggested that classes such as Physics and informational technology were deemed as masculine subjects whereas chemistry, biology and languages were deemed as neither. The research found that this perception of subjects significantly affected people in decision making regarding which subjects they would pick for further education. Similar results were also found by Vockell et al (1981), finding that females were stereotyped more when they studied scientific subjects.
    Archer, J., & MacRae, M. (1991). GENDER‐PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL SUBJECTS AMONG 10–11 YEAR‐OLDS. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 61(1), 99-103.
    Vockell, E. L., & Lobonc, S. (1981). Sex‐role stereotyping by high school females in science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 18(3), 209-219.

  6. I agree when you say there are so many sub topics to the idea of stereotyping in education. Have you ever thought about people being stereotyped for how they look? I thought this was quite an interesting one to explore.

    When you think about tv shows and movies the unintelligent person is usually the ‘dumb blonde’. Take “Legally Blonde” for example – everyone thought it was impossible for Elle Woods to not only get into but to succeed in Law school.

    Blondes are usually associated with both low intelligence and ability and high beauty and femininity (Gibaja & Mimran, 2006). Kyle and Mahler (1996) found that brunette ladies were rated as more capable with tasks than blonde haired ladies!! Bry, Follenfant and Meyer (2008) even showed that people’s intellectual abilities were lowered when they were primed with the dumb blonde stereotype. How mental is that?

    Of course we could relate the appearance stereotype to many other kinds of appearances too.
    Attractive people for instance, are considered more intelligent than unattractive people. Research shows that children as young as six years old perceive their attractive teachers to be more intelligent than their less attractive teachers (Goebel & Cashen, 1979).

    Even the clothes people wear can be a contributing factor to how intelligent they appear. Gray et al., (2011) reveals that people who wear less (by this I mean to the extent of just taking off your sweater..) are deemed to be LESS intelligent than people who wear more clothing.

    So yeah it’s interesting that just by how someone looks they can be deemed as less intelligent!

    Bry, C., Follenfant, A., & Meyer, T. (2008). Blonde like me: When self-construals moderate stereotype priming effects on intellectual performance.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44(3), 751-757.
    Goebel, B. L., & Cashen, V. M. (1979). Age, sex, and attractiveness factors in student ratings of
    teachers: A developmental study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 71 (5), 646-653.
    Gray, K., Knobe, J., Sheskin, M., Bloom, P., & Feldman Barrett, L. (2011). More than a body: mind perception and the nature of objectification. Journal of personality and social psychology, 101(6), 1207.

  7. Stereotypes were described my Lippmann (1997) as “the pictures in our heads” and I agree because it is our own view on the person and our expectations in which envision. This is then where we begin to categorise and label. Aronson and Steele (1995) talk about stereotypes and the way in which it can be extremely fragile to our children’s academic competence, motivation and self-concept. During their work, they found that one way in which stereotypes can influence competence is the way in which the children are treated differently because they are perceived to be different. This paper highlights the possibility that culturally-shaped stereotypes, which also suggest poor performance of certain groups, can disrupt performance of an individual who identifies with such group(s). We need a lot more work to be done on stereotyping children and the way in which it affects their academic performance. I feel it links a lot to learning disabilities also (this is what my blog topic was on) and I found that children are being labelled with a disability or developmental disorder through association. Assessments and diagnosis are a detrimental role to solving the stereotype problems we are facing in our education system.

    Aronson, J., & Steele, C. M. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of personality and social psychology, 69, 797-797.

    Lippman, W. (1997). Public opinion. New York: Macmillan

  8. Pingback: Comments | psud0a

  9. Further to the issues you raise regarding gender stereotyping, research suggests that it is not just students that are stereotyped, it can also be a problem for teachers themselves (McBride, 1990/ref 1). When teachers are negatively stereotyped it can pose a problem for the whole class, as the the attitude of a student towards their teacher can affect how well they respond and the extent to which they respect a teacher. If negative gender stereotypes were to affect how children perceived their teacher, then that teacher’s ability to educate the class would be severely impaired. This would suggest that parents play a large role in influencing whether stereotypes are present in their children’s interpretations of the world, as it is unlikely (although not impossible) that teachers themselves would reinforce such stereotypes.


  10. Pingback: week 9 blog comments | Laura's S.o.E weekly blog

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