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, 9 (2), 131-55

Teacher Expectations and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Knowns and Unknowns, Resolved and Unresolved Controversies

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Teacher Expectations and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Knowns and Unknowns, Resolved and Unresolved Controversies

Lee Jussim et al. Pers Soc Psychol Rev.

Abstract

This article shows that 35 years of empirical research on teacher expectations justifies the following conclusions: (a) Self-fulfilling prophecies in the classroom do occur, but these effects are typically small, they do not accumulate greatly across perceivers or over time, and they may be more likely to dissipate than accumulate; (b) powerful self-fulfilling prophecies may selectively occur among students from stigmatized social groups; (c) whether self-fulfilling prophecies affect intelligence, and whether they in general do more harm than good, remains unclear, and (d) teacher expectations may predict student outcomes more because these expectations are accurate than because they are self-fulfilling. Implications for future research, the role of self-fulfilling prophecies in social problems, and perspectives emphasizing the power of erroneous beliefs to create social reality are discussed.

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