Whistling Vivaldi: Reading Groups

“Disproving a stereotype is a Sisyphean task; something you have to do over and over again as long as you are in the domain where the stereotype applies. . . . People experiencing stereotype threat are already trying hard. They’re identified with their performance. They have motivation. It’s the extra ghost slaying that is in their way. “

Claude Steele, Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2010), pp. 111-112.

Addressing equity gaps (aka achievement gaps) is a central goal for most colleges and universities, but solutions have seemed distant and difficult. Research in social psychology has identified an important cause of achievement gaps — stereotype threat — and some easy-to-implement solutions that can make a substantial difference for students.

As a follow-up to the Fall 2013 Conference on Teaching and Learning that featured Dr. Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, an expert on stereotype threat and successful interventions, CATL is hosting a reading/discussion program of Claude Steele’s book Whistling Vivaldi. Purdie-Vaughns was one of Claude Steele’s graduate students. Claude Steele initially identified the phenomenon he called “stereotype threat,” and he and his graduate students have developed many of the interventions that help to fix the problems that performing under stereotype threat involves.

CATL is providing copies of the book to any instructor who wishes to read it. If you did not get a copy at the conference, please email Josh Kraft to request one.

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