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Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching First Impressions Janelle Heineke “Anyone? Anyone?”

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Presentation on theme: "Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching First Impressions Janelle Heineke “Anyone? Anyone?”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching First Impressions Janelle Heineke “Anyone? Anyone?”

2 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Three studies. How Much Do First Impressions Matter? This study investigates the relationship between nonverbal behavior and initial impressions of instructor competence and course content within the context of instructional videotapes used in distance education courses. Four 10-minute segments of introductory lectures from videotaped distance education courses were shown to 8 undergraduate classes in speech communication, with 2 classes viewing each videotape. After watching the videotapes, the 180 students rated the instructor's involvement/enthusiasm, expressiveness/warmth, fluency/ composure, articulation/clarity, and eye contact. Students also judged the instructor's competence (in terms of likability and trustworthiness) and the course content (in terms of interest and value). In line with our hypotheses, results indicated that instructors who are viewed as expressive, warm, and involved are most likely to be judged as highly competent. In addition, when instructors are expressive, warm, involved, and articulate, their course content is likely to be judged favorably, especially if they are not overly composed and fluent.

3 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Expressiveness/Warmth The facial expressions demonstrated by the instructor were appropriate (neither blank nor exaggerated). The instructor used a lot of gestures to emphasize what was being said. The instructor smiled frequently. The instructor's facial expression was generally pleasant (rather than neutral or unpleasant). The instructor's voice was warm and friendly. Laura K. Guerrero & Tammy A. Miller, “Associations between nonverbal behaviors and initial impressions of instructor competence and course content in videotaped distance education courses,” Communication Education, 18 May Nonverbal Behavior e

4 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Composure/Fluency The speaking rate the instructor used was appropriate (neither too fast nor too slow). The instructor's speaking style was fluent and smooth (s/he avoided pauses, silences, uhs, etc). The instructor demonstrated vocal confidence (s/he was neither tense nor nervous sounding. The instructor spoke without shaking or demonstrating nervous twitches. The instructor's movements seemed purposeful (s/he did not fidget or appear nervous). Laura K. Guerrero & Tammy A. Miller, “Associations between nonverbal behaviors and initial impressions of instructor competence and course content in videotaped distance education courses,” Communication Education, 18 May Nonverbal Behavior

5 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Study of nonverbal behavior and initial impressions of instructor competence Four 10-minute segments of intro lectures from videotaped distance education courses were shown to 8 undergraduate classes in speech communication. Two classes viewed each videotape. 180 students rated instructors on expressiveness/warmth, composure/fluency, articulation/clarity and eye contact. Instructors who were viewed as expressive, warm, and involved were most likely to be judged as highly competent and their course content is likely to be judged favorably, especially if they are not overly composed and fluent. 1. Nonverbal Behavior: Findings

6 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Students in 19 Psychology courses completed course evaluation surveys either before meeting the instructor or two weeks into the semester. Both groups then completed the course evaluation again at the end of the semester. Unlike evaluations completed prior to meeting the professor, students’ ratings two weeks into the semester did not differ from end-of-semester evaluations. Students considered first impressions more important than professor reputation. Stephanie Buchert, Eric L. Laws, Jennifer M. Apperson, Norman J. Bregman, «First impressions and professor reputation: influence on student evaluations of instruction,” Soc Psychol Educ (2008) 11:397– Effects of Professor Reputation versus First Impressions

7 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Female undergrads paid to rate the 39 clips of the teachers individually. 15 dimensions on a scale running from 1 (not at all) to 9 (very); no other training. Three 10-second segments (from first 10, middle ten, and last ten minutes of class). Each 10 second segment was played once with the audio turned down completely. Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal, “Half a Minute: Predicting Teacher Evaluations From Thin Slices of Nonverbal Behavior and Physical Attractiveness,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1993, Vol. 64, No. 3, Thirty Second Impressions (no sound!)

8 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching 3. Thirty Second Impressions (no sound!) Correlations of Nonverbal Behaviors with College Student Ratings Variabler Optimistic.84*** Confident.82*** Dominant.79** Active.77** Enthusiastic.76** Likable.73** Warm.67* Competent.56* Supportive.55* Professional0.53 Accepting0.5 Attentive0.48 Empathic0.45 Honest0.32 (Not) anxious0.26 * p<.05, **p<.01. ***p<.001.

9 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching The correlation between ratings of teachers' physical attractiveness and the criterion variable was.32, suggesting that students' ratings of teachers were somewhat influenced by the physical appearance of the teachers. Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal, “Half a Minute: Predicting Teacher Evaluations From Thin Slices of Nonverbal Behavior and Physical Attractiveness,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1993, Vol. 64, No. 3, Thirty-Second Impressions (no sound!)

10 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Subtle influences affect perceptions. These influences might be identifiable from thin slices of behavior. Teachers with higher ratings were judged more positively on affective dimensions of their personality from their nonverbal behavior: Confirming the importance of teacher affect (Abrami, Leventhal, & Perry, 1982; Babad, Bernieri, & Rosenthal, 1989; Harris & Rosenthal, 1985; Woolfolk & Woolfolk, 1977) Suggesting that better teachers might be higher in nonverbal sending accuracy, that is, in their ability to spontaneously communicate nonverbal information (Buck, 1979). 3. Implications

11 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching The agreement between ratings of students who had known the teacher for a whole semester or the ratings of a supervisor who had probably known the teacher for even longer and the ratings based on thin slices suggests that some stable quality of the teacher was being communicated. Teachers should be made aware of the possible impact of their nonverbal behavior and perhaps trained in nonverbal skills (Smith, 1979; Wolfgang, 1979; Woolfolk & Brooks, 1983). 3. Implications

12 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Be on time. Be organized. Be yourself, be at ease. Present yourself appropriately (dress, grooming). Smile! Be open and confident. Be positive. Be courteous and attentive. Eliminate distractions (cell phones …). So … what?

13 Boston University Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Be yourself. Arrive early. Introduce yourself effectively. Keep on topic. Know what not to say. Explain the course organization, requirements, major assignments, and policies. Build a sense of community. Plan to use at least one of the teaching methods you will use during the course. Provide an opportunity for students to ask questions. Establish a culture of feedback. Whet students’ appetites for course content. So … what?


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