In this week’s episode I share with the audience an interesting concept I’ve discovered, which is called The Pygmalion Effect. The research was first conducted in the 1960s and has been proven to lift the standards of the people that we are teaching or coaching or instructing to do a certain thing.
Robert Rosenthal led a team in studying the effects that a teacher has on their disciples. To start they gave 2 groups of students, 2 groups of rats, and had them teach the rats how to get through a maze. They told group A that they were given “MAZE BRIGHT RATS” and group B that they were given “MAZE DULL” rats.
Well, it turns out that the rats that performed the best in the maze were the ones that had been selected as the advantaged one. Because the rats were selected at random, it all came down to the faith that the teacher had in them.
Robert then rationalized that this would be the same in the classroom. They took this experiment into an elementary school and did the same thing. They tested the students at the start of the year and told the teachers that a select few were predicted to be academic bloomers. When they came back a year later, the students that had been selected (at random) as the “academic bloomers”, had proven to once again be the ones that had bloomed.
The reason for this came down to 4 factors:
1. The Climate Factor – The warmth of the teacher towards the academic bloomer
2. The Input Factor – The amount of input the teachers put in with these students
3. The response Factor – The space the teacher gave the bloomers to respond
4. The Feedback Factor – The amount of well-constructed feedback that was given
There have been skeptics over the years that have said that there were too many variables to the data, but time and time again this concept has been proven. In 2009 a workplace study of The Pygmalion Effect found that employees responded favorably to their boss’s expectations.
This idea can be taken into the classroom, workplace, your team that you’re coaching, or your parenting style if need be. You can use this anytime you are teaching anyone to do anything.