Author Identifier

Olivia Johnston

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Social Psychology of Education




School of Education




Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2021

Australian Department of Education Research Training Program


Johnston, O., Wildy, H., & Shand, J. (2021). ‘Believe in me, and I will too’: A study of how teachers’ expectations instilled confidence in grade 10 students. Social Psychology of Education, 24(6), 1535-1556.


Teacher expectation research has continued to establish an association between what teachers expect of their students and what students accomplish academically. These expectations affect students when they are communicated by teachers through differential treatment in the class, but no qualitative research has sought adolescent students’ points of view about how they experience teacher expectation effects. This paper presents new research findings that explain how Grade 10 students experienced their teachers’ expectations in ways that they reflected impacted their academic outcomes. Classic grounded theory methods were used to develop this new knowledge, which has implications for how teachers are educated for, and practice, interacting with secondary school students. The findings are grounded in data from more than 100 interviews with students and 175 classroom observations in three Western Australian metropolitan public secondary schools. Students’ voices are projected, explaining how their teachers convey high academic expectations through classroom interactions that instil confidence in students. The discussion invokes a connection to Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory and its enduring tenants of self-efficacy beliefs and mastery learning experiences.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.