sociology notes on education

today I will talk about labelling and self-fulfilling prophecy.

If people are defined in a certain way, this definition includes a prediction of their future behaviour. If others act as if the prophecy is true, then there is a tendency for it to come to fulfill itself.

In education there is a very common thing - labelling. If someone is labelled is as a certain kind of person, others will respond to them in terms of label.

I will give you some examples.
A student called D is labelled as the best one in class. The teacher puts this label on the student because of the student's abilities in a particular subject (simply because he has learned the subject in depth before). The teacher builds up his relationships with the student basing on this label, paying more attention to his progress etc.
A student called R is labelled as lazy and not working at all. The labelling happened after a certain period of time, when the student actually didn't show any interest or effort. Of course the teacher didn't realise that this might be because the student R saw how the student D was treated and understood that he is not able to achieve the same level (students are praised ONLY if they are at the same level with D), so he gives up.
Student K and L feel pretty the same as R and therefore don't do their best as they don't see any point in that.
Some students, like B, who tried to go against the label of the student D, were said to be angry and distruptive.
The student M is labelled as a troublemaker. Because of this label, he is never praised (label does not allow him to be praised), so the only thing he can do is actually.. deal with it. However, the student is accused of being the cause of the class's overall underachievement, just because of the label.

Or another example.
Students E and D are performing exactly the same in subject S - just perfect.
However, only one of them is frequently praised. Why is that? Maybe because of labelling.
Another student, M (do not confuse with the other one, who is an awful troublemaker and the cause of all problems), gave up after only one student in her class was praised. he was treated as a weak and confused student and in the end he gave up 2 weeks before the exams.

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