Stereotype threat is when a person finds him/herself in a predicament of identity. When in this situation, the performance could confirm a bad view of the group. According to Steele, “This term captured the idea of a situational predicament as a contingency of their group identity, a real threat of judgment or treatment in the person’s environment that went beyond any limitations within.” (2010, p. 59-60).
Steele came upon this when trying to understand why some groups of people under-performed on tests. Stereotype threat created the reality that not all classrooms or experiences are the same for everybody. Different people have different ways of interpreting experience and come with different goals and preoccupations. These impact the outcome of a test because even when we are unaware of the stereotype threat it can significantly affect our intellectual functioning. (Steele, 2010, p.61). The bottom line is our social identities shape who we are, what we do, and how well we do it. (Steele, 2010, p. 62).
Steele referenced several individuals who conducted research to see how we could combat stereotype threat in the classroom. They looked at such things as studying in groups, the feedback people received, putting a value on diversity, and growth mindset. Making simple conscious changes in the classroom can have a lasting impact on minority students. Carol Dweck’s work with growth mindset has been a focus in my classroom for the last couple of years. It’s great to realize the work we do around a growth mindset will help with the achievement gaps for minority students.
Link to infographic:
“Empirically Validated Strategies to Reduce Stereotype Threat”. https://ed.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/interventionshandout.pdf
“Reducing Stereotype Threat.” https://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/resources/inclusive-teaching-learning/reducing-stereotype-threat/
Steele, Claude. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi: and other clues to how stereotypes affect us. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.