How to Address the Impacts of Negative Stereotyping in an Educational Setting | NEIH

Updated: Mar 19


Identifying What a Stereotype Is

Stereotyping can be defined as a general belief about a particular group of people. Stereotyping can be either negative or positive. In this article, we will discuss both the types and how teachers can assist students to overcome the effects of negative stereotyping. We will start learning about the types of stereotyping and how it can affect negatively and positively on student performance.

· Negative Stereotyping

· Positive Stereotyping


Let us discuss Negative Stereotyping:

To understand the negative stereotyping, you need to have a basic understanding of different races and how they are stereotyped.

  • Recent research has shown that negative stereotyping can leave lasting impacts on a student’s success and life in general. (University of Toronto Scarborough)

  • Other research has shown that the academic performance of an individual is negatively affected when they are stereotyped. (published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology)


Interesting Study Performed Displaying the Results of Negative Stereotyping:


RESEARCH/EXPERIMENT 1:


  • In group A, there was a mix of black and white college students. Students in group A were given assignments and were told to simply attempt them to solve a problem without adding any eliciting stimulus.

  • In group B, there was a mix of black and white college students. The students were given the assignment and were told that the outcome of the results would show their intellectual ability.

Results: Students in group 1 performed equally better. However, Students in group 2, specifically black students did not perform well because a stimulus of stereotyping was elicited of black’s beings less intellectual than whites. Students (black) in group 2 were under high-pressure anxiety and had doubts about their intellectual performance, however, students in group 1 were not mentioned about any diagnostic outcome of the test hence they equally performed better.


RESEARCH/EXPERIMENT 2:


  • Group A: there was a mix of black and white college students.

The students were given an assessment and were requested to identify their race along with other information such as name etc on their test paper. The results were surprising, black students performed more poorly than white students, and this was as a direct result of black students identifying their race prior to the test.


Conclusion: This shows that negative stereotyping can have an impact on student’s performance and may also lead to a decrease in motivation and attention and widen the achievement gap.


However, negative stereotyping cannot be the only factor that can be blamed, there may be other factors as well, which will be discussed in our upcoming article(s) on similar topics. However, this article will limit its explanation of stereotyping only.


Let us discuss Positive Stereotyping:

First, let’s learn about a very common positive stereotype

  • Asians are hardworking, and good at math.


Such stereotyping can leave a positive effect on the group being stereotyped and a negative impact on the non-stereotyped group. For example, if you say that Asians are good at math, the opposite would mean that non-Asians are not good at math, so for Asians, it would serve as positive stereotyping and for non-Asians, it would be considered a negative stereotyping.


An experiment was performed where a group of students were presented with math problems and were asked to solve them. Asian students performed better than their counterparts because of their positive stereotyping.

Difference Between Awareness and Endorsement of Stereotyping

Teachers need to understand the difference between awareness and endorsement of stereotypes:


  • Is the student first becoming aware by social influence about stereotypes and then endorsing them as their personal stereotype ideologies?

AWARENESS FIRST AND ENDORSEMENT NEXT

Or

  • Is the student first endorsing the stereotypes because of their personal experience in the past and become aware of it by social influences?

ENDORSEMENT FIRST AND AWARENESS NEXT


HOW TEACHERS CAN ASSIST IN REDUCING THE NEGATIVE STEREOTYPING IN A CLASSROOM SETTING:


Step 1: DO NOT BE BIAS, BE WELCOMING

Teacher(s) must not be biased in any way, as being biased can negatively impact a student’s performance and success. Do not create a judgment in your mind that certain students of a particular race, ethnicity or socio-economic status will underperform. Leave the bias as soon as you enter the school. School is not a place for playing the bias game. If you are doing so, you are engaging and negatively impacting a student’s educational journey, and to your surprise, this may leave a long-lasting negative impact that you may not even be aware of, so teachers should refrain from such biases and judgments.


Step 2: EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WITH STUDENTS:

Some students may feel that they are lesser than other students in many ways, race, ethnicity, socio-economic factors, etc. You as a teacher must have a conversation and explain your student(s) affected by such stereotyping that such factors are not going to impact the students learning ability or cause the student to perform any less than their counterparts. Teachers must equally treat all students with respect regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and socio-economic status.


Step 3: BE A ROLE MODEL

As someone rightly said “with great power comes great responsibility” this could apply for teachers, as a teacher you have a responsibility to empower your students with the knowledge and act as a role model for them. Do not be aggressive and impatient in your classroom, be a likable teacher as this has shown to increase student’s motivation and attention span. On the other end, students are less likely to attend classes of teachers who display a wealth of attitude and aggressiveness in the class.


Step 4: TAKE ACTION ON STEREOTYPING

Have an honest conversation with the class on stereotyping if this arises as an issue. Respect all races and ethnicity. However, at the same time, explain the students the meaning of equality and how all humans are equal in every expect and that no one is lesser or greater than anyone else. Explain the negative effects that stereotyping can create and how it can impact an individual’s life and community in general.


If you are a teacher or a student that would like to suggest any other solution, you are free to comment on this article.

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