The focus of my PIP is the notion of stereotypes within the high school education system and
the resulting impacts of these stereotypes on adolescents. An exploration will be undertaken
of the origin of stereotypes, the type of stereotypes, the role that the media plays in portraying
and perpetuating stereotypes, and the impact of these stereotypes on adolescents both initially
and as they progress into adulthood. Through the aid of primary and secondary research, I
will aim to discover if stereotypes will have a major role in the high school system and if they
will have significant impacts on adolescent’s sense of self and social interactions.
This topic was selected because stereotypes in high school have been directly relevant to my
everyday life in the past 6 years and I am constantly immersed in these stereotypes whether it
be at school, in the media, or in peer groups. Being both stereotyped myself and being
involved in stereotyping others during my high school experience led to an interest in
exploring the complexities of stereotypes, where they come from and how accurate they
really are. I am interested in how these stereotypes can affect not only my own high school
experience, but other high school experiences throughout society and across time.
The topic of the role of stereotypes in high school and their impacts on adolescents has
significantly contributed to a better understanding of society and culture as I engaged with
ideas I had not had an opportunity to consider previously, such as how stereotypes from high
school can impact an individual’s adult life and career. This topic undoubtedly increased my
social and cultural literacy as I was able to view such a prominent issue in my own life from
varying perspectives and gain a greater appreciation for the diverse backgrounds and cultures
within high school and wider society. I also became aware of preconceived notions of
adolescents in high school, which I enjoyed discovering whether or not these are true
reflections of the adolescent, as well as becoming aware of trying not to stereotype others.
To examine the impact of stereotypes on adolescents, it was important to look at whether
gender played a role in it’s impact. I will look at both continuity and change as although
stereotypes have remained present in high school over time, they have changed due to
developments in technologies, the media, beliefs, and values in society. Identity will be
explored in how stereotypes influence adolescent’s identity initially and over time. Micro,
meso and macro worlds will be explored in the impacts of stereotypes on individual identity,
interactions and relationships in schools, and how the concept of society portrays stereotypes,
such as the media. I have incorporated the use of primary and secondary research methods
which include articles, websites, questionnaire, content analysis and focus group. I have
utilised these research methods as it will allow the connection of both quantitative and
qualitative data to gain a wide and informed understanding of stereotypes from a variety of
ages, cultures, genders and backgrounds. The topic aligns with the HSC depth study Social
Conformity and Nonconformity, focusing on the formation of, and influences on, attitudes
and behaviours of high school students. This includes factors influencing conformity to
stereotypes and deviation away from the norms of their group within high school or high
school as a whole.
The research process began through brainstorming and researching potential topic ideas. I
researched online sites where I came across a past PIP online that focused on various
stereotypes in high school and how they were reflected in the media. This was of great
interest to me as it has been directly relevant to my everyday life in the last 6 years and was a
topic that I have been very involved in. Due to the increase in high school bullying, teen
anxiety, and teen depression, researching a major contributor of these issues is socially and
culturally relevant. Personally being both stereotypes and stereotyping others during high
school also made this an important topic for myself.
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