Stereotype Threat

Stereotype threat is the fear of confirming a negative stereotype about one's group. Stereotype threat affects students but can also affect teachers and other educators.

What Is Stereotype Threat?

Stereotype threat is the fear of confirming a negative stereotype about one's group. In the education industry, stereotype threat can affect students' performance in school. For example, if a student is told that people from their racial or ethnic group are not good at math, they might feel like they have to prove that they are different. This feeling of pressure can actually make students perform worse than they would otherwise.

Stereotype threat can also affect teachers and other educators. If a teacher expects certain students to perform poorly in class because of their race or gender, for example, it could lead them not to provide extra help for those students or to give lower grades on assignments.

What Are the Most Common Consequences of Stereotype Threat in the Education Industry?

One common consequence of stereotype threat is increased anxiety during the performance of a task. This anxiety can be caused by feelings that one's performance may confirm the stereotype being held by others.

Another consequence of stereotype threat is an increase in self-doubt during the performance of a task. A person who feels like they are being evaluated based on their race may begin doubting their own abilities instead of focusing on performing well on the task at hand.

Stereotyping can also cause people to underperform on tasks because they do not want to appear incompetent or unintelligent.

How Do I Avoid Stereotype Threat Existing in My Classroom?

Stereotype threat exists for all types of learners — not just those who are minorities or underrepresented groups. In fact, it is one of the reasons that so many people feel like they are "bad at math," even when they are actually good at it!

This is why it is so important to understand the concept of stereotype threat and how it impacts students' ability to succeed in the classroom. Here are some ways you can help your students avoid stereotype threat existing in your classroom:

  1. Make sure that everyone understands exactly what stereotype threat is and how it impacts them as learners. This will empower them to take control of their own learning rather than allowing themselves to be controlled by their fears.
  2. Provide guidance on how to manage stressors that could trigger stereotype threat (like an upcoming test or presentation). These tips will help students stay calm and focused during stressful times so they do not let their anxieties get in the way of success!
  3. Encourage kids to focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses.