What Pygmalion teaches us about education and opportunity.


In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with one of his creations (he must have been pretty good). The desires of his heart were granted, and the beautiful ivory girl came to life. The story was the inspiration for George Bernard Shaw’s book, Pygmalion, and its better-known dramatisation, My Fair Lady. It’s a brilliant story that provides a perfect metaphor for how those around us can animate us simply by believing in our potential.

Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson observed what they called the ‘Pygmalion Effect’ in education and the development of children. They discovered that children performed better when their teachers expected more of them.

So why do we believe in the children we are privileged to support? Because we know that with the right investment, they will go on to change the world.

Daniel Chalke