10 seconds is all it takes … to judge a teacher

by | Tuesday, November 05, 2013


I just read of the sad demise of Nalini Ambady, social psychologist at Stanford. Her research on the accuracy of first impressions connected with me (from the moment I first glimpsed it). As the NYTimes reports (Nalini Ambady, Psychologist of Intuition, Is Dead at 54) Dr. Ambady’s research on how people make snap judgements tells us just how important first impressions are.

For instance in an study (titled Half a minute: Predicting teacher evaluations from thin slices of nonverbal behavior and physical attractiveness; Ambady & Rosenthal, 1993) they

… had students view soundless 10-second videos of professors teaching. The students were asked to rate each professor, none of whom they knew, for qualities including honesty, likability, competence and professionalism.

When their responses were compared with evaluations from students who had studied with those professors for an entire semester, they correlated to a striking degree… the correlation held even when the videos were trimmed to only two seconds.

This study resonated with my instincts and this is something that I have taken to heart. It is for this reason that I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking of what to do on the very first day of class… That first meeting for me is crucial. Matt and I wrote up our reflections on this (designing the first day)… many years ago. Sadly, for one reason or another, this article never made it to print. For the record here it is: Designing learning from day one: A first day activity to foster design thinking about educational technology

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Creativity in the lives of accomplished teachers

How do exemplary teachers incorporate creativity in their teaching? In this dissertation study, Danah Henriksen  interviewed National Teacher of the Year award winners (and finalists), to better understand their beliefs, interests, and practices involving creative...

21st century learning, TPACK and other fun stuff

I have been invited to participate in the 2014 Educational Technology Summit: Empowering Educators to Enhance Student Learning in the Digital Era. This conference is being organized by Common Sense Media, Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, & the LEAD Commission. I...

Stop motion fun

My daughter, Shreya, had some friends over yesterday and they created a short stop-motion animation film with the new setup in our basement. Enjoy [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTkhuEfTAnk[/youtube] More videos made with my kids can be seen by clicking...

New forms of doctorate

The Institute of Education, University of London is organizing a series of seminars on New forms of doctorate i.e. the manner in which multimodality and e-learning are influencing the nature and format of doctoral theses in Education and the social sciences. This is a...

SITE 2008: A preview

Matt and I are at the SITE conference next week. He has blogged about it here... so I need to do my bit. We have a busy schedule at Las Vegas, which means less time for all the fun stuff. The big one is the Keynote by Matt and myself (more details below). Here is a...

Metaphors, Minds, Technology & Learning

Metaphors, Minds, Technology & Learning

Note: The shared blogging experiment with Melissa Warr and Nicole Oster continues. This time we delve into metaphors of the mind, technology and generative AI. The core idea and first draft came from Melissa, to which I contributed a substantial rewrite. The final...

Milap 2008

The Indian Cultural Society of greater Lansing (ICS) held its annual cultural program Milap 2008 this past Saturday. It was a great program with traditional and Bollywood dances, songs, and other performances. My daughter Shreya's dance troup, performed a Kathak dance...

TAPS / TPACK videos

A few years ago, as a part of our PT3 project Matt Koehler, Ken Dirkin and I video taped a series of teacher interviews around authentic problem solving in teaching using technology. The teachers were winners of the TAPS (Technology in Authentic Problem Solving)...

A sad day…

... for Mumbai, for India, and for the world!

1 Comment

  1. Nada Mach

    Hi, Punya.

    It is so sad that she died so young!

    This is very interesting – I just downloaded your paper. I am wondering how we can streamline this for interview purposes (we interview all our teacher prep candidates before they move on to our second phase).




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