Chapter 5 On Understanding the Processes of Schooling: The Contributions of Labeling Theory “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.” W.I. Thomas in Sadovnik Labeling Theory • An explanatory framework Process of Labeling as a Mechanism reflect teacher expectations operationalized within the classroom self – fulfilling prophecy Labeling Perspective • Becoming Deviant; created by groups definitions/reactions; not a quality of persons/actions • Deviance is created by society* • Application of the label is a process • Who has the power to make determinations? • There is not a clear consensus regarding norm violation in a complex/heterogeneous society Labeling and Stigma • Prisons, mental health institutions, schools • Erickson society maintains social deviance and labeling to clarify group boundaries and solidarity • Unintended consequence of confirming deviance further the stigma and social effects of labeling Teacher Expectations • Shift attention from the “deviant” to those who are making the judgement; social forces that effect the judgement • Teacher is the judge in the school setting teacher determines student certification Key Determinants* • 1) students prior performance: tests, tracking, ability grouping, prior teacher assessments/conversations • 2) social status characteristics: race/ethnicity, class, gender, grooming, dress, free lunch, parent participation and family activities • 3) present performance: standardized tests including informal/subjective factors i.e. attractiveness ** high SES less likely to be labeled deviant * researched based findings Reification • “Standardized test scores are taken as an unquestioned, non-problematic reflection of the child’s underlying ability. The authority of the test to measure the child’s real ability is accepted by both teachers and other school officials. Test results are accepted without doubt as the correct and valid document of the child’s ability.” Mehan (in Sadovnik) Teacher Behavior • Teacher expectations effect classroom interaction and student placement; • Perception of high achievement: wait longer for answers praise more often for success criticize less for failure Outcome Self – fulfilling Prophecy • Expectations influence behavior • False definition evokes new behavior application of others rules labeled as deviant • Authority of the teacher student moves toward conformity with label • **Requires a consistent response between teacher and the student Conclusion • Need to look at ways that schools support labeling mechanisms i.e. how they operate, what are the outcomes ** how evaluative tags affect options for students • ** Labeling theory provides a conceptual framework by which to understand the processes of transforming attitudes into behavior and the outcome of having done so.