One of the classic stories in the field of self-fulfilling prophecies is one of a computer in England that was accidentally programmed incorrectly. In academic terms, it labeled a class of “bright” kids “dumb” kids and a class of supposedly “dumb” kids “bright.” And that computer report was the primary criterion that created the teachers’ paradigms about their students at the beginning of the year.
When the administration finally discovered the mistake five and a half months later, they decided to test the kids again without telling anyone what had happened. And the results were amazing. The “bright” kids had gone down significantly in IQ test points. They had been seen and treated as mentally limited, uncooperative, and difficult to teach. The teachers’ paradigms had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But scores in the supposedly “dumb” group had gone up. The teachers had treated them as though they were bright, and their energy, their hope, their optimism, their excitement had reflected high individual expectation and worth for those kids.
These teachers were asked what it was like during the first few weeks of the term. “For some reason, our methods weren’t working,” they replied. “So we had to change our methods.” The information showed that the kids were bright. If things weren’t working well, they figured it had to be the teaching methods. So they worked on methods. They were proactive; they worked in their Circle of Influence. Apparent learner disability was nothing more or less than teacher inflexibility.
* Case study taken from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Dear God, please help me to be flexible in how I relate with others. I want to be more like you in how you see the true potential of others as seen in the bible with Gideon when You called him a mighty warrior or young King David who you anointed as your king even when he was a shepherd boy.
Grant me the patience and the peace of heart and mind to trust in your good work in the lives of others. And may I be a instrument of change rather than destruction to their lives.