An article, “Are Educators Showing a ‘Positive Bias’ to Minority Students?” in Science Daily suggests that many students don’t appreciate the tough, demanding teacher who pushed her students to work hard and who challenged the students to do better than before. After graduation, most students admit that they learned the most from that kind of teacher. The Science Daily article asserts that a major study by Rutgers-Newark psychology professor Kent D. Harber finds that minority students in America probably have fewer of those demanding teachers compared to their white counterparts, and this puts them “at a significant learning disadvantage.”
The teachers in this study “believed that their feedback would be sent directly to the student, in order to see how the student would benefit from their comments and advice.” Harber and his team found “that public school teachers under-challenge minority students by providing them more positive feedback than they give to white students, for work of equal merit.” The researchers believe that many minority students do not receive the kind of feedback that challenges the students to improve and to achieve academically. Harber states, “The JEP study indicates one important way that this insufficient challenge might occur: in positively biased feedback.”
Harber believes that this lack of helpful feedback is one reason for the minority achievement gap and may be the reason for a general lack of trust in some minority communities.
- Racism or compassion? Study finds some teachers softer on minorities (theglobeandmail.com)
- Are educators showing a ‘positive bias’ to minority students? (eurekalert.org)
- How ‘positive bias’ hurts minority students (mnn.com)