Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Yvonne Cecilia Ribeiro de Souza-Campbell
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. 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, people tend to act in ways that are consistent with that expectation and, quite often, the expectation will come true. Merton describes a self-fulfilling Self-fulfilling ...