Sunday, November 6, 2016


The Teaching Center website provides wealth of information on the phenomenon of stereotype threat (please see this video with a short explanation of stereotype threat).  The term stereotype threat was originally coined by Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson in the early 1990s, and defined as a
situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group.
Research suggests that stereotype threat reduces the individual’s working memory capacity thus impeding performance (see also an article by Schmader, Johns, and Forbes, An Integrated Process Model of Stereotype Threat Effects on Performance).

Teaching growth mindset reduces stereotype threat (see this powerpoint overview by Beth Fisher, Washington University in St. Louis). For example, Aronson, Fried and Good have demonstrated that teaching African American students that intelligence is malleable improves performance (see Aronson, Fried, and Good full study). In another study Cohen and others demonstrated that brief writing assignment designated to “reaffirm students sense of personal adequacy or self-integrity” improved grades of African American students and reduced the achievement gap.

Dr. Greg Walton, Department of Psychology at Stanford University, has an excellent website with resources on growth mindset, belonging interventions, and stereotype threat.

There are many additional examples of how growth mindset can help reducing stereotype threat:
  • An excellent “Belonging for Educators” lesson on mindsetkit 
  • A 2-page handout by American Bar Association on how growth mindset reduces implicit bias and stereotype threat
  • An article on problems with believing in innate talent (see link here)
  • An article in Science Magazine on women in stem (see link here)
  • A lecture in stereotype threat by Joshua Aronson

  • A lecture on stereotype threat in STEM by Claude Steele

  • A panel conversation (Drs. Claude Steele, Carol Dweck, Geoff Cohen, and Deborah Stipek) on “Identity, Motivation, and Stereotype Threat: How do they matter for learning?”

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