Friday, March 5, 2010

The Galatea Effect: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Phenomenon

If you remember, I made a previous post entitled, The Pygmalion Effect: Are You Guilty? The Pygmalion Effect refers to situations in which students perform better than other students simply because they are expected to do so. Basically, it requires a student to internalize the expectations of their superiors. It is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy, and in this respect, students with poor expectations internalize their negative label, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly. Within sociology, the effect is often cited with regards to education and social class.

In the Rosenthal-Jacobson Study, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson (1968/1992) report and discuss the Pygmalion effect at length. In their study, they showed that if teachers were led to expect enhanced performance from some children, then the children did indeed show that enhancement.

A related self-fulfilling prophecy is the Galatea Effect. This occurs when high self-expectations lead to high performance. There are several factors that tie into the Galatea Effect such as self-efficacy, self-confidence, and self-expectation of performance.
So how can an instructor encourage positive, powerful self-expectations in students?  According to's "The Two Most Powerful Management Secrets: The Pygmalion and Galatea Effects," an instructor should:
  • Provide opportunities for the student to experience increasingly challenging assignments. Make sure the student succeeds at each level before moving forward.
  • Enable the student to participate in potentially successful projects that bring continuous improvment.
  • Provide one-to-one instruction with the student. This instruction should emphasize improving what the student does well rather than focusing on the student's weaknesses.
  • Provide developmental opportunities that reflect what the student is interested in learning.
  • Assign a successful older student to play a developmental mentoring role with the student.
  • Hold frequent, positive verbal interactions with the student and communicate consistently your firm belief in the student's ability to perform assigments. Keep feedback positive and developmental where possible.
  • Make sure the student is receiving consistent messages from other instructors/personnel. How you speak to others about the student powerfully molds their opinions.
  • Project you sincere commitment to the student's success and ongoing development.
As instructors, you have a tremendous amount of power and influence and you can change a life! J.T.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    Kindly I would like inform u i am a PHD student and I need to a scale about self filfulling prophecy, but I dont know whether there is or not. Would u please guide me. Thank u for ur attention in advance
    Yours sincerely


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