Folk Belief Theory

by on Nov, Wed, 2017 in Reading Reviews | 2 comments

This Reading Review provides a summary and review of a 2014 paper by Bruce Torff where he analyses several research studies about teacher beliefs around curriculum for low-advantage and high-advantage students in the USA.  His research shows how out-of-awareness assumptions or folk belief theory can result in a rigor gap for low-advantage students.

His research with expert teachers shows that this less rigorous pedagogy constitutes a watered down-curriculum for these students who might be as challenged and engaged as high-advantage students. A self-fulfilling prophecy results. The rigor gap results in an achievement gap.

Read our review of Torff’s Folk Belief theory here.

Stronger Smarter Institute reading review: Folk Belief Theory

Read a two-page summary of the Folk Belief theory review here.

Folk Belief Theory: Stronger Smarter Institute summary 2017


  1. People can only perform as well as we expect them to. So it’s especially important to maintain high expectations of students, particularly those who start out with any disadvantage. Don’t let stereotypes become self-fulfilling prophecies!

  2. So true Yahya. Thanks for your insights!! Another key provocation we build in and out from the Institute is, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see…’ So the challenge for all education systems is to grow deeper and more sustainable approaches which effectively grow own role-models in education! Check out the next readings on the visibility of Indigenous Knowledges in curriculum in Australia…

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