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ERIC Number: EJ1174152
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1381-2890
Changes in Syllabus Tone Affect Warmth (But Not Competence) Ratings of Both Male and Female Instructors
Waggoner Denton, Ashley; Veloso, James
Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, v21 n1 p173-187 Feb 2018
The syllabus is often the first meaningful piece of information that students receive about a course. Previous research has indicated that students form more positive impressions of a course instructor after reading a syllabus that has been manipulated to convey information in a friendly, rather than unfriendly, tone (Harnish and Bridges in "Soc Psychol Educ" 14:319-330, 2011). While a friendly syllabus leads to increased perceptions of instructor warmth and approachability, it is unclear from this previous research whether a friendly syllabus may also lead to decreases in the perceived competence of the instructor. Thus, we aimed to clarify whether changes in syllabus tone affect perceptions of instructor competency. We also wished to explore the possibility of gender bias affecting these syllabus-based impressions of instructors, and to examine whether differences in syllabus tone impact the impressions formed of male and female instructors in the same way. Participants read a friendly or unfriendly course syllabus from either a male, female, or gender-unspecified instructor. Regardless of instructor gender, participants receiving the friendly syllabus perceived the instructor as being more approachable, more caring, and more motivating, but not any more or less competent, compared to those receiving the unfriendly syllabus. While instructors will be relieved to know that efforts to appear friendly on a course syllabus do not appear to negatively impact student perceptions of instructor competence, more research is needed to examine the potential role of gender bias on students' initial impressions of instructors.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A