Combating Stereotype Threats

The article, “Reducing Stereotype Threats” retrieved from the Teaching Center Website, defines stereotypes as a”phenomenon in which a person’s concerns about confirming a negative stereotype can lead that person to underperform on a challenging assessment or test.” In other words, those who feel they fit a certain stereotype, will underperform due to the pressure of confirming their stereotype threat, leaving their performance negatively impacted. Unfortunately, this happens everyday within our classrooms.

Numerous studies have been conducted which explore the idea of stereotype threat. There is significant evidence that this happens to our students who feel under pressure to not confirm their own stereotypes and in the end under perform on assessments and other challenges. Fortunately, there are strategies teachers can use within the classroom to combat these stereotypes.

Teachers can begin by conducting fair testing and assessments, that means free of any bias. Students should be able to understand that testing is used to measure their abilities and not their values. Teachers should also value diversity in the classroom and look up to diverse role models. They should also promote a communitive environment where they can share ideas and learn together as one team and understand that failure is a chance for them to learn together. Teachers should also be giving positive feedback to their students, even when they don’t answer a question correctly, they should praise the attempt and always look for ways the student has grown. Lastly, teachers should always promote a positive growth mind set so that students worry less about appearing “smart” and put more effort into learning.

Steele, Claude. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi: and other clues to how stereotypes affect us. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

“Reducing Stereotype Threat.”

2 thoughts on “Combating Stereotype Threats”

  1. Hi Emily
    Thank you for your post. I agree it is unfortunate that stereotype threats happen everyday. It is important for teachers to value diversity as you stated because it will make students more comfortable in the class. And allow for a great working environment. Infographic is great. Thanks again for your post!


  2. Hi Emily!
    I really enjoyed reading your post! It is very sad, that we live in a world where stereotype threats happen everyday. As I mentioned in my post, while thinking about stereotype threat and their classroom, an educators need to take into consideration how to reduce the stereotype threat. Vivaldi (2010) conducted a study that found, “stereotyped students consistently got better subsequent grades than non-stereotyped students with the same prior test scores or grades” (p. 187). Taking this into consideration, educators need to be able to use strategies to eliminate or limit the effects of stereotype threats

    Hurst, Melissa. (2003-2010). Testing bias, cultural bias, & language differences in assessment. Retrieved at
    Steele, C. M. (2010). Whistling Vivaldi: how stereotypes affect us and what we can do. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
    The Teaching Center (2016). Reducing stereotype threat. Retrieved from


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