Judge a teacher in 2 seconds flat

December 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve been enjoying every minute of Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘What the dog saw‘. There is some very interesting discussion on the non verbal effectiveness of teachers. Researchers video recorded a series of lessons where they focussed purely on the teacher. Next, they asked participants to watch the videos and then rate each teacher based on a series of outcomes.


At first each participant could watch footage of the teacher for a period of one minute and then make their judgement. Things became very interesting when they minimised the amount of video footage that the participants viewed. When they cut the video from 60 seconds to 10 seconds the rating of each teacher remained the same. It was even more amazing when they cut the video down to two seconds and the participant impressions remained the same.

Students who had been sitting the class throughout the semester also completed their end of term feedback and it was highly correlated with the video participant data.


Two seconds.


What does this mean?

How could a teacher’s body language from a 2 second clip tell you about the learning environment of students?

Why would the perception of a teacher be virtually the same as the opinion of a student who had worked with the teacher for a semester?


§ One Response to Judge a teacher in 2 seconds flat

  • David Price says:

    Not that unusual, Mark. Sales reps fro years have worked on the ‘3 second sell’ – a customer has decided within the first 3 seconds of meeting a rep if s/he is going to buy or not!

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