There is considerable variability among students in the way they are affected by their teachers’ expectations for their future performance. The present article describes a model from which this variability can be partially explained. The model basically describes a series of mediating events that include (a) students’ perceptions of their teachers’ behaviors directed to them, (b) the students’ interpretation of the perceived teaching behaviors, and (c) the effects of the students’ interpretation of the teachers’ actions on their performance and/or behavior. Special attention will focus on the types of attributions students make when explaining the social interactions that transpire between them and their teacher during instruction. It is hoped that this article will increase the clarity of the Pygmalion phenomenon and provide some guidelines for future research in this area.
Request reprints from Thomas J. Martinek, Department of Physical Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412.