The Damaging Effects of Hostile Teachers on Test Scores

The Damaging Effects of Hostile Teachers on Test Scores

Bad teaching goes beyond the moment and can ripple out into students’ futures.

Evaluating students on rounds of standardized tests is a controversial subject. Whether it boosts intelligence and the capacity to learn at school is hotly debated, and there are meaningful arguments on both sides of the subject.

But while the benefits of testing are up in the air, one thing remains for certain: if your teacher isn’t that nice, your scores may be lower.

A study conducted by researchers has shown that (not surprisingly) teachers who antagonize their students by belittling them, showing favoritism, or criticizing their contributions do negatively affect students’ learning potential.

To come to this conclusion, scientists analyzed the test results of two different groups. One participated in a lesson led by a teacher who antagonized them, and the other received straight teaching.

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Students then answered a series of questions and completed a multiple-choice test. Those participants who were antagonized had results that were up to 5% lower than those who weren’t. Furthermore, it was found that students who faced teacher hostility were unwilling to take future courses taught by that same teacher. They also showed less interest in their own academic learning, in general.

“Even slight antagonism, coupled with otherwise effective teaching, can demotivate students from being engaged and hinder their learning opportunities,” said Dr. Alan Goodboy, the study’s lead author.

“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.”

The study was published by The Taylor and Francis Group, and researchers hope that it leads to better learning environments for students, both young and old.

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