Sunday, March 20, 2011
This is pretty cool. A Stanford University psychologist found that reassuring minority students that they're not alone in feeling, well, alone when they first get to college can boost their grades by up to a third. From the Stanford website (with video, below):
[W]hen black freshmen participated in an hour-long exercise designed by Stanford psychologists to show that everyone – no matter what their race or ethnicity – has a tough time adjusting to college right away, their grades went up and the minority achievement gap shrank by 52 percent. And years later, those students said they were happier and healthier than some of their black peers who didn't take part in the exercise.
"We all experience small slights and criticisms in coming to a new school" said Greg Walton, an assistant professor of psychology whose findings are slated for publication in the March 18 edition of Science.
"Being a member of a minority group can make those events have a larger meaning," Walton said. "When your group is in the minority, being rejected by a classmate or having a teacher say something negative to you could seem like proof that you don’t belong, and maybe evidence that your group doesn’t belong either. That feeling could lead you to work less hard and ultimately do less well."
You can read the rest here.
Hat tip to Inside Higher Ed.