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Sun Jan 6, 2013, 09:03 PM

NY Times: It's Not Me, It's You (social factors, stereotypes, and academic performance)

(From October, but I was just sent this earlier this evening...)

By ANNIE MURPHY PAUL

WE’VE all been there: you feel especially smart and funny when talking to a particular person, only to feel hopelessly unintelligent and inarticulate in the presence of another.

You’re not imagining things. Experiments show that when people report feeling comfortable with a conversational partner, they are judged by those partners and by observers as actually being more witty.

It’s just one example of the powerful influence that social factors can have on intelligence. As parents, teachers and students settle into the school year, this work should prompt us to think about intelligence not as a “lump of something that’s in our heads,” as the psychologist Joshua Aronson puts it, but as “a transaction among people.”

Mr. Aronson, an associate professor at New York University, has been a leader in investigating the effects of social forces on academic achievement. Along with the psychologist Claude Steele, he identified the phenomenon known as “stereotype threat.” Members of groups believed to be academically inferior — African-American and Latino students enrolled in college, or female students in math and science courses — score much lower on tests when reminded beforehand of their race or gender.

The pair’s experiments in the 1990s, and the dozens of studies by other researchers that followed, concluded that the performance of these students suffered because they were worried about confirming negative stereotypes about their group.


<snip>


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/opinion/sunday/intelligence-and-the-stereotype-threat.html

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Reply NY Times: It's Not Me, It's You (social factors, stereotypes, and academic performance) (Original post)
villager Jan 2013 OP
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #1
villager Jan 2013 #2
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #3
villager Jan 2013 #4
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #5

Response to villager (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 03:38 AM

1. I believe that an important factor in the development of intelligence in early childhood is

the communication between the child and the primary caregiver, usually the parent.

If the parent listens in a respectful way to the child, the child gains confidence in its ability to communicate in a socially acceptable way.

If a child is treated respectfully by the teachers and other students in pre-school and the early years of elementary school, and if teachers accept the child and appreciate the child's abilities and efforts in those formative years, I think a child has a better chance.

A patient teacher in the early years of school is just so important because a patient teacher will respect the child and guide it through fear and mistakes.

I think that classes need to be very small in the early years of school. The teacher needs lots of time to give patient feedback to each child.

And if the parents at home are patiently listening to the child and encouraging the child, that helps so much. Intelligence is, I believe, really a combination of personality factors and social and practical coping mechanisms.

I learned from one of my daughters that one of the most important factors in intelligence is patience and stubbornness of a positive kind. A person simply has to determine to solve a problem or learn something and stick to it until the task is accomplished.

Intelligence has nothing to do with race, but it may have to do with cultural traditions. I don't know about that.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 04:20 PM

2. Well said, JD.

As someone who's first preschooler just came back for a winter visit after his first semester at college (how did that happen so fast!?), I couldn't agree more...

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Response to villager (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 04:53 PM

3. The problem is that parents who are depressed about money have a hard time being

patient and exhibiting all those admirable middle-class virtues. Some do show patience, but it is so much harder when you are working two jobs and cooking and taking care of your children and you can't afford decent childcare and your apartment is too small, too dingy, too many flights up and, and, and.

When life is hard for parents, it's more difficult for the whole family. The children suffer the most.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 05:09 PM

4. absolutely -- which is why "we care about the children" is one of society's biggest lies

From trashing the planet those kids will grow up on, to squandering most societal resources on weapons that will kill children en masse if ever deployed, to cramming them into drab schools, the message from the "grown ups" couldn't be clearer:

We don't really give a shit.

Then we're shocked when kids internalize that.

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Response to villager (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 01:30 AM

5. Agreed

Actions speak louder than words

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