ScienceDaily, from the Journal of Educational Psychology (h/t SOBL):
Minority students in the U.S. might have fewer of those teachers [who challenge their students], at least compared to white students, and as a result they might be at a significant learning disadvantage.
A major study, led by Rutgers-Newark psychology professor Kent D. Harber, indicates 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.
I’ve seen it mentioned, though I don’t have a research citation, that black teens display higher self-esteem on average than teens of other races. This is pretty readily observed. Black kids seem to be pretty happy-go-lucky. And I think most of us who can remember junior high and high school will remember that black classmates were relatively popular.
Even the various attacks that have been documented in the media show young blacks who aren’t hostile towards the world as much as they are just engaging in a bit of fun that happens to be violent. Even then they are insulated from the full consequences of their actions on the grounds that they are juveniles.
How debilitating, then, when these kids do face the real world. They leave the schoolhouse and adolescent bubble where they were protected from “real talk”, criticism, and punishment. Their esteem is essentially subsidized through their school years. A bubble inflated and then popped.
Teachers read and commented on a poorly written essay which they believed was composed by a student in a writing class. Some teachers thought the student was black, some thought the student was Latino, and some thought that the student was white. Teachers 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.
In fact, there was no actual student, and the poorly written essay was developed by Harber and his team. The real purpose was to see how teachers would respond to subpar work due to the race of the student who composed it. As Harber and his team predicted, the teachers displayed a “positive feedback bias,” providing more praise and less criticism if they thought the essay was written by a minority student than by a white student.
I wonder how the Black studies departments will grapple with this one.