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ERIC Number: EJ951847
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1068-3844
A Look at "Lookism": A Critical Analysis of Teachers' Expectations Based on Students Appearance
DeCastro-Ambrosetti, Debra; Cho, Grace
Multicultural Education, v18 n2 p51-54 Win 2011
Educators in the United States have been socialized to believe that their mission in teaching is to play nice and treat all of their students the same, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, or gender. What is often missing in this teaching-all-equally approach is a counter-narrative that questions whether teachers can in fact successfully act as the gate keepers of equal educational opportunities. Historically the teachers' role has been to evaluate their students from the earliest years of schooling, beginning with screening for kindergarten. In performing these responsibilities, do teachers approach their students with ingrained beliefs which influence their perception of students? To illuminate these possibilities the authors aim to examine a specific form of prejudice known as "lookism", which Ayto (1999) defines as "prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of appearance". How do such prejudices impact whether students will be treated equally? The participants for the study were 226 secondary education teacher candidates enrolled in professional education classes in a suburban university in Southern California. An attitudinal survey was used to solicit teacher candidates' perceptions about adolescents based on the adolescents' physical characteristics. The survey consisted of a series of eight photos of adolescents from four major racial groups (Black, White, Asian, and Hispanic) and 10 statements formulated to elicit deep-seated perceptions. The participants' responses were categorized into five major themes: (1) academic success; (2) athletic success; (3) perceived as outsiders; (4) academic adversity; and (5) challenging classroom authority. In this report the authors' findings focus on the two photographs that had the highest frequency of responses. The participants' responses to the photos reflected perceptions of adolescents that were clearly related to race and gender and, as such, revealed their own personal stereotypes and prejudices. The findings demonstrated that the teacher candidates carried preconceived notions about the adolescents they were shown in the photos and that these notions were stratified clearly along gender and racial lines.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States