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Pygmalion Effect

The Pygmalion effect refers to the notion that teachers' expectations of their students may come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The process can be summarized as follows: Teachers form certain expectations about their students. These expectations are then communicated through teachers' day-to-day interactions with their students, their educational planning, and the way they assess their students. Students tend to respond by adjusting their behaviors to correspond with teachers' expectations and interactions. Teachers' expectations are eventually fulfilled and a circle of self-fulfilling prophecies is created. This entry describes the history of the idea and its implications for education.

Historical Context

The phrase self-fulfilling prophecy was coined in 1948 by twentieth-century sociologist Robert K. Merton, who asserts that once an expectation is formed, even if it is erroneous, ...

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