Greg Walton, Stanford University Department of Psychology

Lifting the Bar: Developing Relationships - Orienting 'Wise' Interventions to Make Schools Better for Students
Greg Walton


Winter 2021
Lecture Time: 
Friday, March 19, 2021 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 


Sidelining Bias to Improve School for Students
Much of my past research has tested brief, psychologically “wise” interventions that mitigate students’ worries about belonging in a new school environment. Such interventions can be delivered to tens-of-thousands of students and raise achievement and reduce racial, gender, and social-class inequalities. Yet it can also be necessary to make school more supportive for students. How can we intervene on educators to promote equity, particularly when negative stereotypes and bias are prominent? In contrast to efforts to reduce bias, I will describe interventions that aim to sideline bias—to reduce the hold that bias can have on behavior, by elevating positive professional roles and goals in teachers. One intervention aimed to support an empathic mindset in teachers about misbehaving students; this cut suspension rates among students they taught by half. Another focused on students reentering school from juvenile detention, one of the most stigmatized groups in school. An intervention that oriented students in reentry and an educator in their school toward positive relationships with each other cut rates of recidivism to juvenile detention among students through the next academic term from 69% to 29%.