Tag Archive for 'rosenthal'

Pygmalion Effect: the bias damage & trust benefits

A lot of coaches have children a little bit slower to learn than the others, perhaps less dynamics and less coordinated. How they are treated by the coach and teammates? He is given them the same opportunities of the others?
In psychology  have been carried out studies on what it’s called the “Pygmalion Effect” resulting from the reserches about the self-fulfilling prophecy. The underlying assumption of these studies is easily applicable to the field of sport learning: if the coach believes that a child is not able as the others, even unknowingly, he may be will coach him differently from the others; the child internalize the judgment and act accordingly; consequently establishing a vicious circle in which the child will tend over time to become just like her coach had imagined. In practical terms, we can say that often the lack of confidence in the ability of the children learning blocks the learning itself and pushes the children to satisfy their coach getting exactly what she expects, the prophecy comes true.

We can imagine the kind of result that this coach attitude may have on the children development.
Children motor development, but also their psychological development is constantly changing and a moment of stasis may be followed by others of fast change. The Pygmalion Effect when linked to a negative judgment binds the children progresses to the judgment of their teachers. This behavior is attributed to the fact that the children act the behavior elicited by the adult expectations: therefore low expectations solicitate low learning results.

If you accept the notion that acoach will face a clear idea of the athletes according to this pre-judgment, it’s easy to understand the relevance of the prophecies and positive expectations about the success of the children within their learning process. Coaches having positive expectations of their students can, in turn, create a  warmer socio-emotional climate around them, provide more feedback about the quality of their sessions, they seem to give more information and expect better results in addition to giving more opportunities for questions and answers. According to the Rosenthal’s observations, the teachers who believe they have good students in front of them smile more often, they make approval movements with the head, stopping over them looking longer in the eyes, they speak with a positive body language. They are more likely to praise and correct errors without taking a critical stance. “In essence, a professor who believes he has to do with gifted students teaches more and better” (Rosenthal, 1976).

Understanding the Pygmalion Effect in its negative and positive aspects allows us to understand the importance of the dynamic effect of trust in the development of the children full potential. Trust is a very important part in our lives, it’s a means by which we can enrich our lives and the lives of others. The lack of confidence, to the contrary, produces frustration and paralysis.

Trust is able to open up a world of endless possibilities.

(by Daniela Sepio)