Beki Grinter

Dress to Improve Teaching Scores

In academia, academic management, research on August 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

Another metric that has recently gained popularity at Tech is the teaching score. Teaching scores always mattered, but lately I’ve heard more about them. Teaching scores are of course a measurement of our teaching success.

So, I was delighted to learn that without doing anything to improve my teaching I can do something to improve my teaching score. Dress better. I thought it was a joke, so I looked further, and found an article on a variety of ways to improve teaching scores without doing anything about teaching. And here the dress advice is to dress accessibly. It took a while, but I think this is reconcilable with the first advice. I think it’s too dress in such a way that the students respect you, think you know dress codes, but I wouldn’t try to over-do the dress like them (despite having a real temptation to wear pyjamas like some of my students do to class).

At Georgia Tech the t-shirt I get the most compliments about is the space invaders one I own. It’s always a hit in the classroom and on the Tech Trolley were it’s a conversation starter. And so I’ve solved the problem of what I shall be wearing on the first day.

Once again I am reminded that just because you can measure it, it doesn’t mean you should. Or perhaps in this case, you should measure it but then recognize its limitations as a metric explicitly so that everyone knows how much attention is being paid to this metric. And of course issue dress citations to low performers.


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