Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Janet M. Kulberg


The relationships of visible nonverbal behaviors and characteristics of teachers to high school students' immediate impressions of teachers' abilities at classroom control were examined through two studies. The first was a correlational study: 44 college students were videotaped simulating teachers entering a classroom and beginning ,an initial class meeting. Students from a large comprehensive high school serving a middle-class and working-class town in New 'England rated the videotaped teachers. Three groups of seven students each rated approximately one-third of the teachers on ability to control a classroom; four groups of six students each rated teachers on attractiveness; three groups of five students each rated teachers on apparent age. Trained scorers, blind to the hypotheses of the study scored the videotapes for nonverbal behaviors and characteristics: number of gestures, number of self-adaptors, time looking at class, time walking, number of smiles, arm position, and dress. Teachers were also categorized on gender, race, and type of equipment used to videotape them. A stepwise multiple regression analysis using the rated and scored variables mentioned above as predictors, and the ratings on classroom control as the criterion indicated that ratings on perceived ability to control a classroom were best predicted by gender of the teacher (males were rated higher), by having been taped with a studio camera rather than a portable unit which yielded somewhat less sharp black and white contrast than the studio camera, and by the amount of time the teacher looked at the class (more time looking was predictive of higher ratings). The second study used a subset of ten teacher tapes from the first study as stimulus tapes; there were five tapes of male teachers and five of female teachers. They were chosen to represent the range of ratings from low to high ability to control a class for teachers of each gender.

The second study was designed to examine whether ratings on perceived ability to control a classroom would be related to gender of student rater, academic track of student rater, gender of teacher, or order of presentation of teachers. An additional purpose of the second study was to find out whether teachers rated low and high in the first study were similarly rated in the second, to function as a validity check on the first study. Students from the same high school used in the first study participated in the second study; 72 males and 72 females, 36 of each gender from each academic track (low/high), rated the ten teachers on perceived ability to control a classroom, seeing the tapes in one of four random orders. The analysis indicated that ratings on control were not affected by gender of student rater or academic track of student rater; they were affected by gender of teacher (males were rated higher) but at only two ranks; they were affected by order: the mean rating for one of the orders was lower than the means for each of the other three orders, none of which differed from each other.

Rankings of teachers in the second study exhibited these similarities to rankings in the first: for male teachers all rankings were the same, except that Ranks 4 and 5 were reversed in the second study. Rankings of female teachers in the second study were the same as those in the first except that Ranks 2 and 3 and Ranks 4 and 5 were reversed. There was a clear tendency for teachers ranked low in the first study to be ranked low in the second, and for those ranked high in the first study to be ranked high in the second; ratings from the first study are to that extent validated.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.