Issue 2/2016, 8. Volume Page 158–191
Do teacher stereotypes about school tracks function as expectations at the collective level and do they relate to the perception of obstacles in the classroom and to teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs?
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The effects of individual teacher expectations have been the subject of intensive research. Results indicate that teachers use their expectations to adapt their interactions with their students to some degree (as summarized in a review by Jussim & Harber, 2005). This can in turn lead to expectancy-confirming student developments. While there are studies on the Pygmalion effect on individual students, there is only little research on teacher judgements of whole classes and schools. Our study aims to extend the perspective of teacher judgements at the collective level to stereotypes within the context of school tracking. The content and structure of teachers’ school track stereotypes are investigated as well as the question of whether these stereotypical judgements are related to teachers’ perception of obstacles to their teaching and their teaching self-efficacy beliefs. Cross-sectional data on 341 teachers at two different school types from the Panel Study at the Research School „Education and Capabilities“ in North Rhine-Westphalia (PARS) (see Bos et al., 2016) were used for two purposes: First, the structure of teachers’ stereotypes was identified via an exploratory factor analysis. Second, in follow-up regression analyses, the stereotype dimensions extracted were used to predict teachers’ perceptions of obstacles to their classroom work and their individual and collective teacher self-efficacy beliefs. Results showed that – after controlling for the average cognitive abilities and the average cultural capital of the students – teacher stereotypes were indeed related to perceived obstacles concerning their classroom work and their self-efficacy beliefs. After a discussion of the strengths and limitations of the present research, the article closes with a short proposal of a future research framework for collective Pygmalion effects.
Teacher; Stereotypes; Self-Efficacy; Pygmalion; Collective expectations