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Sep 12

Week 3: Larry Ferlazzo’s Wesbites of the Day

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    It turns out that the clothes you wear, according to Larry Ferlazzo’s blog post and links from his post, may significantly impact your performance as a teacher. An experiment undertaken by Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky of Northwestern University showed that when wearing what subjects were convinced was a lab-coat performed on various tests significantly better than others wearing normal clothes or the same coats described as being “painter’s clothes.”

    What these tests do us the favor of showing is that our performance is affected based on our psychological interpretation of how we look. Have you ever had those awry days where you had nothing to wear and went out with mix-matched clothing. Your day felt awkward didn’t it? Or perhaps, let’s say, there was a pajama day at the school you teach in and you noticed that you couldn’t get any of you students to focus on the matters at hand. Now thing of this in another way: you are a teacher trying to make an impression on your students and you want them to pay better attention to you. Will coming to class in a suit and tie make a difference? Maybe, though, suits are too formal in the everyday classroom, but studies like this make me wonder on issues such as that. Also, what does this research show about school uniforms?

    When I think about school uniforms, I feel as if maybe they are in place to initiate this psychological effect of “enclothed cognition” but somehow I feel as if that isn’t necessarily helpful. When it comes to the idea of enclothed cognition, it seems that the wearer’s opinion of what he/she is wearing has a significant impact on performance as is illustrated in how the study shows performance differentiation based on the lab coats being considered painters’ jackets. As I understand it to be in most cases, many student abhor the thought of school uniforms and if they are forced to wear them, they are forced  to wear them. Perhaps, as a result, school uniforms do students a negative favor in how they learn at school.

    Nevertheless, this effect on cognitive capability should be look on as a positive thing that can be utilized to improve our students’ and teachers’ performance. So, maybe to avoid having school uniforms, a school could have a  ”Dress-Nice Monday” where students are expected to look as sharp as possible. Perhaps that way Mondays could actually become productive.

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