Stigmatization in the classroom: an experimental study evaluating the efficacy of instructor strategic communicative responses to student stigmatization
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Previous research has demonstrated that instructor labels/attributes (e.g., sexual orientation, race, accent) may negatively affect student assessments of an instructor (e.g., credibility, student evaluations of teaching) and student learning, but scholars have not applied stigma theory to classroom bias research. This study used Link and Phelan's (2001) stigmatization construct and Meisenbach's (2010) stigma management communication theory (SMC) to investigate (a) the relationships among components of stigmatization (negative stereotyping, separation, devaluation-discrimination) and student learning, (b) whether an instructor's disclosure of a potentially stigmatizing label (lesbian) affects student perceptions of the components of the stigmatization construct and/or learning, and (c) whether denying, a SMC strategy, affects student learning and/or student perceptions of the components of stigmatization. The results of the study found relationships between the cognitive components of the stigmatization process (negative stereotyping and separation/reduced homophily) and some of the measured student learning outcomes. Devaluation-discrimination mediated these relationships. Instructor disclosure of a stigmatizing label (lesbian) negatively affected student perceptions of similarity (homophily) with the instructor.
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