Monday 5 December 2016

Colm O'Rourke: Appetite for hard graft can see Dublin rise above their station

All the pressure is on Cork today and it might prove too much of a burden, says Colm O'Rourke

Published 22/08/2010 | 05:00

In 1968, Robert Rosenthal, a Harvard professor, and Leonore Jacobsen, a principal of an elementary school in San Francisco, conducted a study to show a correlation between teachers' expectations of pupils and their actual performance.

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The study was entitled 'Pygmalion In The Classroom'. Pygmalion was a play by George Bernard Shaw and the film adaptation was My Fair Lady, where Professor Higgins' project was to turn Eliza Doolittle, a commoner, into a lady.

In the study in San Francisco a student sample of 20 per cent was picked randomly but the teachers were told that these students were showing unusual potential for intellectual growth. At the end of the year, the students selected had shown remarkable improvement over the others, thus demonstrating clearly the relationship between expectation and achievement. This whole idea could also be called a self-fulfilling prophecy and it can work in a positive or negative manner.

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