What are teachers communicating through the way they dress? Are teachers role models for their students and should they follow the same rules they require their students to adhere too?
Teacher appearance continues to be a concern not only for teachers, but also for administrators, parents and occasionally for students. As trends change teacher attire also follows the fads. Most schools do not have a written dress codes for teachers. Many administrators believe that the professional appearance of a teacher will have a positive effect on student behavior. Some schools have decided that teacher should not wear clothing students are not allowed to wear. Teacher attire often depends on where the teacher is working. If a school is in an inner-city setting, teacher attire tends to more flexible than that of teachers who teach in an upper class area. Some other reasons for variation in teacher appearance are the limited incomes, teaching in buildings with no air conditioning and the academic subject matter. Some administrators and teachers believe that casual dress is accepted more by parents, allowing them to feel more comfortable. If a school does have a formal dress code for the teachers, it often times has exceptions. Teachers are allowed to dress in a casual manner on Fridays, while on field trips or while participating in other special activities.
Teachers should be able to dress comfortably and not worry that their appearance will have an effect on the student’s behavior or academic achievement.
Significance of Study
If teachers are not required to follow a dress code and dress in the manner they prefer, they will feel more comfortable and perform better in the classroom. If teachers are asked to dress in business attire they may be less comfortable and not be as effective in the classroom.
What is the relationship between teacher appearance and student behavior?
Terms and Limitations
Business attire for women is described as button-up blouses, sweaters, slacks (no five pocket pants), skits or dresses, no more the two inches above the knee, stocking or socks, dress shoes (loafers or heels). Men’s attire includes button-up shirts with collars and ties, sweaters, slacks, dress shoes (loafers).
This study is limited to Antioch Middle school located in Davidson County, Tennessee. The study only included two male seventh grade teachers and their combined 250 students.
The main topics of concern when it comes to teacher dress codes are discipline, comfort, role models and the professionalism. Discipline
About a decade ago Reeder and King (1984) had found that the clothing styles preferred by the teacher had a decided influence on student attitudes and learning in the classroom. The researchers found that teachers wearing clothes at the extremes caused the greatest reaction in their students. The instructors that were dressed informally were pictured as fun, approachable, and generally preferably. Interestingly, the students also viewed these teachers as not especially knowledgeable and commanding limited respect. On the other hand, formally dressed teachers were seen as strict and authoritative. These individuals were also viewed as not being especially fun non approachable. In a more recent study, Butler and Roesal (1989) found that awhile the teacher’s attire did play a role in student learning, no single, particular style was better than another. The article concluded that the different clothing styles worn by the faculty more importantly influenced the students’ perceptions of the teacher’s personality characteristics than their learning. The research also indicated that most school administrators tend to favor a dress code. This seems to stem from the belief that, since teachers are role models and visible to the public's eye, they should project a professional image. Little research has been conducted in the area of teacher...
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