As part of a leadership course I have been writing and facilitating, we have looked at the Pygmalion Effect mental model. A psychological phenomenon where high expectations potentially lead to improved performance.
It is worth noting that the early research has been contested in various ways, and it links to the concept of Collective Efficacy. This is an idea that has become prominent within education over the last decade.
My exploration, research and rabbit hole tunnelling, caused me to discover the article below about the dangers of perfectionism.
We all know students and teaching colleagues, friends or family, who exhibit behaviours that we might label perfectionism. Often these are referred to with a positive spin.
“There has been some suggestion that, in some cases, perfectionism might be healthy and desirable. Based upon the 60-odd studies that we’ve done, we think that’s a misunderstanding,” says York St John University’s Hill. “Working hard, being committed, diligent, and so on – these are all desirable features. But for a perfectionist, those are really a symptom, or a side product, of what perfectionism is. Perfectionism isn’t about high standards. It’s about unrealistic standards.
“Perfectionism isn’t a behaviour. It’s a way of thinking about yourself.”
From the BBC article by Amanda Ruggeri, I learned about the research and complexity of perfectionism (adaptive vs maladaptive).
It resonates with me because of my work with feedback and critique loops and the unintentional harm to creative thinking that surfaces from poorly facilitated feedback. The article also struck a chord because I have seen first hand the ill effects on students and their learning disposition of extreme perfectionism.
Your Talking Point
- What resonates with your experience?
- Why is this a pressing mental health issue for us?
- How does this connect with our assessment practices?