Race, The Role Model Effect, and Bias in the Classroom at a Predominantly White Institution
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Do black students at a PWI experience college differently than other students? If so, in what ways? How can black students’ experiences be improved? If race creates complexities for Black students at a predominantly White university, what are the mechanisms which affect Black students’ learning outcomes and what measures can be taken to mitigate such complexities? The purpose of this thesis is to answer these questions through a literature review of the role model effect and bias in the classroom as well as personal interviews with five Black students and two Black professors. The “role model effect” offers one way of understanding the importance of student-teacher relationships. Results of student-teacher relationships include better classroom engagement and a stronger sense of self-efficacy which lead to positive learning outcomes. Bias in the classroom includes microaggressions, teacher-student misalignment of assessment of effort, and self-fulfilling prophecies.