Teachers need to be aware of racially biased expectations

According to research (Sirota 2009), independent of teacher’s skin color, both black and white teachers perceive white students more positively than minority students. There is one word that contributes to this difference:  “Expectation”. Expectation influences the perception and perception effects grading. On the basis of expectation is the experience which involves perception. In this circle of perception-experience-expectation-perception what gets structured is a belief. When a belief gets established, every perception is colored by a related expectation.

Expectations can also favor minorities; Asian American students are expected to be model minority students. (Wong, 1980, p.236) Teachers hold higher standards and have higher expectations for them than to white students.

Hispanic students are expected to do worse than white students (McComs, Gay, 2001), independent of their actual IQ or the way they dress or what socio-economic system level they represent.

Research seems to support that the learning environment is not entirely equal, as black and hispanic students are expected to do worse than white students, and Asian American students are held to a higher standard.

Different expectations can contribute to students’ poor performance on academic tests. (Sirota, 2009) If positive expectations are developed, that can influence the students’ performance and test results.  (Greatschools, 2012) The expectations should be kept within reason to keep school pleasurable unlike in South Korea. High expectations can create great results, but lower the self-esteem if all reference points in the environment are high. (Linnakylä, 2009)

The speculative solution for the problem is to create an environment, where all students, independent of their race and other factors, are expected to do well in school, while building students’ self-esteem for higher achievement.

Eero Tunkelo

GreatSchools. “Lessons from South Korea – Academic Skills | GreatSchools.” GreatSchools – Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community. Web. 16 May 2012. <http://www.greatschools.org/students/academic-skills/2427-South-Korean-schools.gs?page=all>.

Linnakylä, Pirjo. “HIGH EXPECTATIONS – HIGH ACHIEVEMENT ON LITERACY “WHAT SHALL WE DO IN THIS HANGMAN’S HOUR”” Literacy.org. INTERNATIONAL LITERACY INSTITUTE, n.d. Web. <http://literacy.org/sites/literacy.org/files/publications/linnakyla_lit_in_Finland_96.pdf>.

McCombs, R.C., & Gay, J. (2001). Effects of race, class, and IQ information on social judgments of parochial grade school teachers. Journal of Social Psychology, 128, 647-652

Sirota, Elaine. “The Impact of Teachers’ Expectations on Diverse Learners’ Academic Outcomes.” GALILEO. 2009. Web. 16 May 2012.

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