Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Theory

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Self-fulfilling prophecy:
Merton’s definition:
The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.
There are many applications of self-fulfilling prophecy. Examples include:
• Cognitive dissonance: The mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values
• Self-perception theory: It asserts that people develop their attitudes (when
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Robustelli, Thomas R. Cain)
Teacher expectations can create self-fulfilling prophecies. In general, self-fulfilling prophecies occur when false beliefs create their own reality (Merton, 1948). In the classroom, a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when a teacher holds an initially erroneous expectation about a student, and who, through social interaction, causes the student to behave in such a manner as to confirm the originally false (but now true) expectation. Self-fulfilling prophecies do exist and they can occur in natural settings.
Self – fulfilling prophecy processes:
1. Teachers develop erroneous expectations
2. Those expectations lead teachers to treat high expectancy students differently than they treat low expectancy students.
3. Students react to this differential treatment in such a manner as to confirm the originally erroneous expectation.

Step1: Teachers develop erroneous expectations (Lee Jusmin)
Because accurate expectations cannot be self-fulfilling, they start with inaccurate expectations. Why do teachers’ expectations go
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Their expectations may colour and distort their interpretations of student achievement.
Third, social stereotypes may undermine the accuracy of teacher expectations.
Step2: Teacher expectations lead to differential treatment (Lee Jusmin)
Four major types of differential Treatment Teachers’ expectations lead them to treat their students differently.
First, teachers provide a more supportive emotional climate for high expectancy students. They are warmer, smile more, and offer them more encouragement.
Second, teachers provide clearer and more favourable feedback to high expectancy students. Feedback received by high expectancy students also tends to focus on performance. In contrast, low expectancy students receive considerably more feedback that is unrelated to achievement.
Third, teachers often provide greater input into high expectancy students’ education. They spend more time with and provide more attention to high expectancy students.
Fourth, teachers often provide high expectancy students with more opportunities for output. They call on high expectancy students more often.
Step3: Differential treatment affects students (Lee
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