SINGAPORE - Is there a difference in being taught by teachers who think their students can no longer do better, and those who believe the class is yet to reach its potential?
That is the question Professor John Wang is trying to answer, as part of his new study to understand if a teacher's preconceived notions affect students.
"All of us have certain perceptions towards people, and it's the same for teachers," said Prof Wang, who co-leads the Motivation in Educational Research Lab (Merl) of the National Institute of Education (NIE).
"Teachers respond according to their beliefs. Some enter a class and think the students cannot be helped beyond a certain level, while others believe they can."
He explained that studies have shown that students who believe they can improve will "work their hardest", unlike those who think they have reached their limit.
The $248,000 study, which is funded by the Ministry of Education and is believed to be the first of its kind here, wants to see if this is true for teachers, and if their attitudes can affect a student's motivation and grades, especially those who are academically weaker.