The ‘Pygmalion phenomenon’ is the self-fulfilling prophecy embedded in teachers’ expectations. Simply put, when teachers expect students to do well and show intellectual growth, they do; when teachers do not have such expectations, performance and growth are not encouraged and may in fact be discouraged in a variety of ways.
Research suggests that our expectations strongly influence the performance of those around us from the members of our football team to the students in our classes. In the Oak School experiment, discussed in the book, teachers were led to believe that certain students selected at random were likely to be showing signs of a spurt in intellectual growth and development. At the end of the year, the students of whom the teachers had these expectations showed significantly greater gains in intellectual growth that did those in the control group.
Reissue of a classic book. Original ISBN 0829031537.
Printed 1968. Revised and expanded 1992.