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Test Scores 5% Lower Among Students with Antagonistic Teachers

May 11, 2018
Discipline News

(Washington, DC) -- Teachers who antagonize their students by belittling them, showing favoritism, or criticizing their contributions can damage students’ learning potential, according to a new study published in the National Communication Association journal Communication Education.

A team of communication experts investigated the influence of teacher “misbehavior” on student learning via an experiment in which 500 undergraduate students watched video lectures.

The participants were split into two groups: one group watched a lesson with an antagonistic teacher, and the other group watched a standard lesson without an antagonistic teacher. Participants then answered a series of questions about the lecture content before completing a multiple-choice test.

When comparing the test results of the two groups, researchers found that test scores were up to 5 percent lower for those who had watched the lesson with an antagonistic teacher.

What’s more, students who faced teacher hostility were less likely to put as much effort into learning as those who did not witness antagonism, and were unwilling to take part in future courses taught by hostile teachers.

Study leader Associate Professor of Communication Studies Alan Goodboy of West Virginia University stressed the longer-term negative consequences of teacher misbehavior for student learning: “Even slight antagonism, coupled with otherwise effective teaching, can demotivate students from being engaged and hinder their learning opportunities. So, even one bad day of teaching can ruin a student’s perception of the teacher and create an unnecessary roadblock to learning for the rest of the term.”

Teachers should therefore be especially careful to prevent negative behavior from seeping into the classroom.

“Antagonism can come into classrooms unexpectedly and suddenly, even without the knowledge of the teachers themselves,” Goodboy added.

“We therefore need to ensure that future teachers are better equipped to recognize when antagonism may be creeping in, focusing on how antagonism manifests itself and working on developing more positive ways of interacting with students, even during times of disagreement.”


Read the full article here.

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