Some Basic Ideas

First, check this video out.

Now, here are three basic ideas that seem to be behind a lot of the interventions for stereotype threat. If you’d like to take a look at a presentation I gave on Inclusion in Philosophy more generally, you can check out this Prezi.

Theory of Intelligence

Philosophers tend to think that intelligence is a sort of innate talent. That’s a problem because that theory of intelligence encourages stereotype threat. It’s better to see (and to encourage students to see) intelligence as malleable and situational. Here’s a short video of Princeton philosopher Sarah-Jane Leslie discussing these findings.


Try to develop a genuine sense of community in your classroom, one where everyone belongs and adds value. This helps counter stereotype threat for a lot of reasons, as you’ll see when you browse more specific interventions. Some of those reasons might be: alleviating the individual’s pressure to prove they belong, shifting focus from generic social identities, encouraging students to interact with others to solve problems.


What both encouraging a malleable concept of intelligence and a genuine sense of community accomplish is signaling to students (as well as to others) that they are in a space where they can succeed. In particular, it’s good to signal to students that their social identities will not inhibit their performance. Doing this may require you to alter subtle elements of your own behavior along with more concrete elements of the classroom and school environment.

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