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Week 10

Posted by Dan Carter | Posted in One Idea a Day | Posted on 03-02-2014

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Harvard psychologist, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson of South San Francisco Unified School District conducted a very interesting study in the 1960’s that was designed to find out what happens to students when teachers believed they had high potential. Rosenthal randomly selected 20 percent of the students in a few class rooms and labelled them “Bloomers- High Potentials” and the other 80 percent were in a controlled group. The bloomers weren’t any smarter than their peers – the difference was in the mind of the teacher. The teachers’ beliefs created self-fulfilling prophecies. When teachers believed their students were “Bloomers” they set higher expectations, engaged more and supported behaviours that helped boost the students’ confidence.  All of this in turn, boosted the students’ grades.

From this study what can we learn from the results; have you ever seen one person with your perception of high potential and another you though had low potential?  On reflection, did you invest in them differently; did they live up to your own self- fulfilling prophecies?

What do you think is a great lesson about the way we see people? How can we change the way we see people?