• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

The effect of initial impressions on the perception of teaching effectiveness in choral music student teachers

Dissertation
Author: Paul J. Mayhew
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of initial impressions on the perception of teaching effectiveness in choral music student teachers. Secondary school music teachers (n = 78) and undergraduate music education majors (n = 84) viewed ten randomly selected 15-second thin slices of choral music student teachers in classroom interaction. Participants (N = 162) were given 45 seconds after each teaching sample to rate teaching effectiveness on a 7-point Likert-type scale and record open-ended initial impressions of each observation. Open-ended responses were examined and coded to create a taxonomy of influencing factors. Results indicated that after viewing 15 seconds of classroom interaction, music teachers and pre-service music teachers agreed in their perception of the three most and two least effective teaching samples. Both groups cited teaching strategies (36%) and rehearsal strategies (18.7%) most often as influencing their evaluation of effectiveness. Factors cited less often included delivery/communicative skills (14%), student behavior (13.9%), personality/appearance (8%), and classroom environment (3.6%). Specific factors cited most frequently for highest-rated teaching samples included quality of verbal instruction, rehearsal effectiveness, and the use of Curwen hand signs and Solfege syllables. Factors cited most frequently for lowest-rated teaching samples included organization skills, classroom management skills and teacher personality characteristics. Implications for music educators and suggestions for future research are discussed.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

List of Tables ................................ ................................ .............................

vi

Abstract

................................ ................................ ................................

vii

1. INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................

1

2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................

7

Thin Slicing and First Impressions ................................ .......................

8

Behavioral Consequences of Initial I mpressions ................................ ..

11

Thin Slice Studies in the Classroom ................................ .....................

13

Effective Music Teaching ................................ ................................ .....

16

Teacher Intensity ................................ ................................ ..........

17

Conducting and Nonverbal Behavior ................................ ...........

19

Teaching Patterns ................................ ................................ .........

20

Skills and Behaviors Viewed as

Important for Effective Music Teaching ................................ ...............

22

Observation and Evaluation of Music Teaching ................................ ...

24

Need for Study ................................ ................................ ......................

26

3 . METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................

28

Selection of Teaching Samples ................................ .............................

28

Construction of Master DVD ................................ ................................

28

Construction of the Evaluation Form ................................ ....................

30

Participant Selectio n ................................ ................................ .............

30

Pilot Study ................................ ................................ .............................

31

Human Subjects Approval ................................ ................................ ....

32

Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ........................

32

4 . RESULTS ................................ ................................ ..............................

34

Demographic Information for Participants ................................ ...........

34

Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness ................................ ........................

35

Factors Influencing Initial Perceptions ................................ .................

36

Results of Reliability Tests ................................ ................................ ...

38

Frequency of Influencing Factors ................................ .........................

39

Differences in Frequency of Influencing

Factors Between Participant Groups ................................ ...................

41

Relationships Between Effectiveness

Ratings and Influencing Factors ................................ ...........................

41

v

5 . DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ .......................

44

Summary of Effectiveness Ratings ................................ .......................

45

Summary of Open - ended Responses ................................ ....................

46

Differences Between Teachers and Pre - service Teachers ....................

47

Relationships Between First Impressions

and Perceptions of Effectiveness ................................ ..........................

48

Implications of the Findin gs ................................ ................................ .

53

Limitations of Study ................................ ................................ .............

54

Recommendations for Future Research ................................ ................

54

APPENDICES ................................ ................................ ............................

56

A

Intern Consent Form ................................ ................................ ....

56

B

Observation/Evaluation Form ................................ ......................

58

C

Human Subjects Approval ................................ ...........................

66

D

Taxonomy of Influencing Factors ................................ ...............

68

E

Dis tribution of Coded Comments for

Each Teaching Sample ................................ ................................

72

F

Teacher Responses ................................ ................................ ......

83

G

Student Responses ................................ ................................ ......

123

REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ........................... 164

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ......

172

vi

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1:

Mean Scores of Student and Teach er Effectiveness Ratings .....................

35

Table 2:

Comparison of Student and Teacher Effectiveness Ratings ......................

36

Table 3:

Summary of Taxonomy of Influencing Factors ................................ .........

37

Table 4:

Frequency of Influencing Factors in Percentages ................................ ......

39

Table 5:

Distribu tion of Coded Comments for All Teaching Samples ...................

40

Table 6:

Combined Mean Score and Most Frequently

Cited Categories for All Teaching Samples ................................ ..............

42

Table 7:

Combined Mean Score and Most Frequently

Cited Factors for All Teaching S amples ................................ ...................

43

Table 8: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 1 .......................

73

Table 9: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 2 .......................

74

Table 10: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 3 .......................

75

Table 11: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 4 .......................

76

Table 12: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 5 .......................

77

Table 13: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 6 .......................

78

Table 14: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 7

.......................

79

Table 15: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 8 .......................

80

Table 16: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 9 .......................

81

Table 17: Distribution of Coded Comments for Teaching Sample 10 .....................

82

vii

ABSTRACT

The purpose of t his study was to examine the effects of initial impressions on the perception of teaching effectiveness in choral music student teachers. Secondary school music teachers (n = 78) and undergraduate music education majors (n = 84) viewed ten randomly selecte d 15 - second thin slices of choral music student teachers in classroom interaction. Participants (N = 162) were given 45 seconds after each teaching sample to rate teaching effectiveness on a 7 - point Likert - type scale and record open - ended initial impressio ns of each observation. Open - ended responses were examined and coded to create a taxonomy of influencing factors.

Results indicated that after viewing 15 seconds of classroom interaction, music teachers and pre - service music teachers agreed in their perce ption of the three most and two least effective teaching samples. Both groups cited teaching strategies (36%) and rehearsal strategies (18.7%) most often as influencing their evaluation of effectiveness. Factors cited less often included delivery/communica tive skills (14%), student behavior (13.9%), personality/appearance (8%), and classroom environment (3.6%). Specific factors cited most frequently for highest - rated teaching samples included quality of verbal instruction, rehearsal effectiveness, and the u se of Curwen hand signs and Solfege syllables. Factors cited most frequently for lowest - rated teaching samples included organization skills, classroom management skills and teacher personality characteristics. Implications for music educators and suggestio ns for future research are discussed.

1

CH APTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

In daily social interaction, humans form initial impressions quickly, effortlessly,

and constantly. Social perception, also known as person perception, is the element of social cognit ion which allows humans to understand individuals and groups within their social world (Smith & Mackie, 2000). First impressions, defined as the “initial perception and formation of thoughts about another” (Rule & Ambady, 2008, p. 35), are fundamental to t he processes of person perception and social cognition (Ambady & Skowronski, 2008.) These perceptions are influenced by a variety of verbal and nonverbal cues including physical appearance, dress, posture, gesture, facial expressions, eye contact, speech p atterns, tone of voice, and vocabulary (Knapp & Hall, 2007). Gordon Allport, one of the founding researchers in personality psychology, believed these behavioral cues revealed individual personality. In his Personality - Trait Theory, Allport (1937) suggest ed that expressive behaviors such as facial expression, posture, and speech were strong indicators of personality and that an impression based on brief interaction was often confirmed by further acquaintance.

Are first impressions usually right? Can judgm ents made so rapidly be accurate? The answer appears to be yes. A large body of research in social psychology has focused

on the accuracy of first impres sions. (Albright, Kenny & Malloy, 1988; Ambady, Bernieri, & Richeson, 2000; Ambady, Krabbenhoft, & Hoga n, 2006; Ambady & Rosenthal, 1992, 1993; Carney, Colvin, & Hall, 2007; Fiske, Lin & Neuberg, 1999; Gottman, 1999; Harris & Harris, 2008). Malcolm Gladwell highlighted this research in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), which examines th e rapid cognition occurring during the first few seconds of impression formation. Gladwell’s book popularized “thin slicing” as a description of the ability to “find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience” (Gladwell, pg. 23).

2

The term “thin slicing” was coined by Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal (1992) in a review of research on the accuracy of predictions from brief observations of behavior.

The researchers defined thin slices as “observations of expressive behavior lasting five minutes or less” (p. 256). In a meta - analysis of 38 thin slice studies, Ambady and Rosenthal found predictions based on observations under thirty seconds in length did not differ significantly from predictions based on four - or five - minute ob servations.

Judgments based on thin slice observations have been shown to be accurate in a variety of areas. For exam ple, researchers have found judgments of sexual orientation based on one - and ten - second thin slices agreed with tar gets’ actual sexual ori entation (Am bady, Hallahan, & Conner, 1999); j udgments of intelligence based on thin slices agreed with targets’ actual IQ scores ( Murphy, Hall, & Colvin, 2003; Reynolds & Gifford, 2001 ); and judgments of personality traits based on t hin slices agreed with

targets’ self - rated personality traits ( Borkenau & Liebler, 1995; Lippa & Dietz, 2000 ).

Subsequently, it appears accurate judgments based on expressive behaviors can be made in a matter of seconds.

Although initial impressions are formed quickly, they are not fleeting. It appears

judgments based on initial impressions can be long lasting and consequential. Ross, Leper, and Hubbard (1975) found when participants who formed an initial impression were explicitly told the impression was inaccurate, they per sisted in believing their initial judgment. Ross et al. explained that participants used an attributional bias to maintain their first impression, which made inconsistent information appear to conform with their initial judgment. The difficulty of changing a first impression is compounded by a phenomenon known as “interpersonal expectancy effect” (Rosenthal, 1994). A perceiver who holds a positive impression of another person may behave more warmly toward that person, use more eye contact, smile more, stand closer, or use a warmer tone of voice. Subsequently, the recipient of such behavior will reciprocate, leading to confirmation of the expectancy (Harris & Harris, 2008). If, however, the perceiver’s expectation is negative, the interaction will likely be cut short or simply be terminated, and the perceiver’s initial impression is unlikely to change. The social interaction following an initial impression can c reate a self - fulfilling prophec y. Defined by Merton ( 1948), a self - fulfilling prophec y is an origin ally false definition of a situation that evokes behaviors

3

which make the false conception come true. First impressions, whether correct or incorrect, seem to be powerful and long lasting.

How important is a first impression? Because judgments based on in itial impressions influence subsequent behavior, first impressions may affect any social interaction that follows. Describing the behavioral consequences of first impressions, Harris and Harris (2008) noted that:

The impressions others form of us will dete rmine in large part whether they

become our friends or lovers; whether they hire us for the job of our dreams; how smoothly or awkwardly our later interactions with them will proceed; whether they read our chapter; and, indeed, whether they have anything at all to do with us in the future (pg. 148) .

First impressions are primarily important for their power to affect person perception and the social interaction which immediately follows.

Because impressions based on thin - slices of behavior often form the b asis for long - lasting opinions, an awareness of initial impressions seems highly important for success in areas requiring social interaction. For example, business leaders and politicians may gain influence and cooperation by creating an initial impression of competence, credibility, and likability (Harris & Harris, 2008). Salespeople increase sales by creating a positive initial impression of trustworthiness and friendliness (Weitz, 1978). Thin slice judgments have been shown to be predictive of performanc e in several fields including salespeople, telephone operators, business managers, and health - care professionals (Ambady et al., 2006).

Thin slice research has been useful in education as well. For teachers, making a positive initial impression potentiall y affects student involvement in the learning process, which may affect student achievement. Thin slice studies involving judgments of teaching have demonstrated that students make accurate judgments about such characteristics as likability, trustworthines s, intelligence, and competence quickly. Ambady and Rosenthal (1993) demonstrated that students’ ratings based on 10 - second silent video clips of university and high school teachers could accurately predict end - of - semester evaluations of teaching effective ness.

4

For music teachers, the added element of public performance intensifies the importance of creating a positive first impression. Music educators face a unique set of challenges. In the process of preparing students for public performance, a music tea cher is often viewed as performer, conductor, and organizational leader in addition to being a classroom teacher. In the classroom, music teachers make performance impressions on students by modeling with their voice or musical instrument. On stage, music teachers make performance impressions on the community as they conduct or accompany students.

Researchers have examined the effect of initial impressions of performers and conductors on evaluation of performance quality. First impressions of a singer’s phy sical attractiveness influenced how observers evaluated their singing performance (Wapnick, Mazza, & Darrow, 1997). Fredrickson, Johnson, and Robinson (1998) investigated whether music students needed to see conductors conduct to evaluate their performance

or whether they could evaluate their skills based on “pre - conducting behaviors” (pg. 2). After viewing thirty - to sixty - second vi deo clips which showed each conductor approach the podium, place music on the stan d, and begin a preparatory beat, students we re asked to evaluate conducting performance. Findings indicated that students’ impressions of pre - conducting behaviors influenced their perception of each conductor ’s competence.

Conducting is a uniquely nonverbal behavior. Teachers who conduct musical en sembles spend a portion of their class time engaged in physical, gestural, nonverbal communication. Conductors who demonstrate high amounts of productive nonverbal behaviors are preferred by students and are perceived as more effective (Byo, 1990; Johnson, Fredrickson, Achey, & Gentry, 2000; Price & Winter, 1991; Yarbrough, 1975). Van Weelden (2002) explored relationships between conductors’ visual appearance characteristics (eye contact, facial expression, and posture) and observers’ performance ratings of the conducted ensembles. Moderate to strong relationships were found between conductor posture, conductor facial expression, and overall performance ratings. In an examination of nonverbal communication for conductors, Julian (1989) suggested that:

“Corre ctly or incorrectly, impressions are given at first glance and opinions are formed immediately. Aside from the obvious requirements of musicianship and

5

technical ability, a conductor must be aware of his/her physical demeanor.” (p. 50).

In some cases, the first impression of a music teacher is based almost entirely on that teacher’s conducting. Applicants who submit a video recording of their conducting as part of the application process for a music teaching position are creating a first impression before m eeting a prospective employer in person. The nonverbal aspects of conducting play an important role in creating a positive initial impression.

In addition to being perceived as performers/conductors, music teachers often lead large ensembles and face the c hallenge of creating a positive atmosphere (Adderley, Kennedy, & Berz, 2003; Campbell & Connell, 2007).

In a music classroom, students’ decisions to engage in the learning process often involve personal risk. Music students encounter the pressure of perfor ming for others with the inherent risk of receiving a negative response. Adderley et al. found students were motivated to join and remain in high school music ensembles partly because of the social climate established by the music teacher. Given the challe nge of creating an atmosphere of trust and encouragement, an awareness of initial impressions formed by students becomes critically important to student learning.

Pre - service music teachers preparing to student teach and enter the profession may benefit fr om an awareness of the impact first impressions can make. For an undergraduate music education student, making a positive impression on professors can affect grades, internship placement and the potential for letters of recommendation. As a student teacher , a strong initial impression may affect working relationships with the cooperating teacher, administrators, other faculty and students (Kelly, 2000; Madsen & Duke, 1993). For a young teacher entering the profession, making a positive first impression is v itally important to the interview process, the initial encounters with colleagues, and the first day of class as a new teacher (Brinkman & Mallett, 2000; Hayward, 2000).

What are characteristics that create a positive first impression in the music classr oom? Many students, teachers, and music supervisors suggest they are able to tell who will be a good teacher within minutes. How do they know? What do they see? Can they describe the characteristics they observe that lead them to form such a rapid

6

conclusi on? Will others agree? An examination of teaching behaviors that create a positive initial impression in the music classroom may assist teachers and pre - service teachers in the development of those behaviors.

Although previous research on initial impressi ons is extensive, no existing research is known to examine the effect of initial impressions on the perception of teaching effectiveness in choral music classrooms. Investigating factors that influence initial impressions of teaching effectiveness may prov ide valuable insight into the development of desired characteristics of effective choral music teachers. Pre - service teachers could benefit from understanding impressions they make on their instructors and peers. Choral music interns may better understand the impression they make on their cooperating teacher and students. Cooperating teachers, music supervisors, and university instructors may find an understanding of initial impressions helpful in preparing future music educators.

Because initial impression s appear to have powerful immediate consequences for pre - service music teachers, the purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of initial impressions on the perception of teaching effectiveness in choral music student teachers. An examination of the relationship between teacher characteristics described by observers and the observers’ perceptions of teaching effectiveness led to the following questions:

1.

After viewing a brief episode of teacher - student interaction, how will observers rate the t eaching effectiveness of choral music student teachers?

2.

What factors will observers identify as influencing their initial perception of teaching effectiveness?

3.

What are the differences in frequency of observation of identified factors that influenced obser vers’ initial perception of teaching effectiveness?

4.

Will there be a difference in factors that influence the initial perception of teaching effectiveness between secondary school music teachers and undergraduate music education majors?

7

5.

To what extent is th ere a relationship between the observers’ ratings of teaching effectiveness and the factors identified as influencing their initial perception of teaching effectiveness?

8

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

An increasing amoun t of empirical research in social psychology has focused on how humans perceive one another in social interaction. Smith and Mackie (2000) defined person perception as the element of social cognition which allows humans to understand individuals and groups within their social world. The most immediate contributors to person perception are the most salient human features available: appearance and behavior. In his Personality - Trait Theory, Gordon Allport (1937) suggested that human personality was revealed by physical appearance and by expressive behaviors such as eye contact, tone of voice, facial expression, gesture, and posture.

Even without the benefit of speech, humans appear remarkably capable of understanding one another through the use of nonverbal be haviors. DePaulo (1992) indicated that nonverbal behavior was essential to person perception because of its irrepressible nature, its links to emotion, its accessibility to observers, its uniqueness, and its speed. In reviewing the large body of research r elated to nonverbal communication, Knapp and Hall (2007) suggest person perception is influenced by a variety of nonverbal cues including physical appearance, dress, posture, gesture, facial expressions, eye contact, speech patterns, and tone of voice.

Wh at may be most remarkable about the process of person perception is how quickly impression formation takes place. Research on impression formation has demonstrated that observers are able to make accurate judgments about others in a matter of seconds even without personal interaction (Ambady & Skowronski, 2008). Subsequently, making a positive initial impression can be considered an essential first step for effective teaching.

The purpose of this chapter is to review research literature related to initial i mpressions and the relationship between initial impressions and teaching effectiveness in the choral music classroom. The review will focus specifically on research related to

9

choral music education, teacher preparation, and the teaching behaviors which in fluence an initial judgment of choral music student teachers. Literature related to the present study includes recent research on ( a) thin slicing and first impressions; ( b) behavioral consequences of initial impressions; ( c) thin slice studies in the clas sroom; (d) effective music teaching; ( e) skills and behaviors considered important for effective choral music teaching; and (f) observation and evaluation of music teaching. In addition, previous descriptive research in music education which informed the m ethodology of this study will be discussed.

Thin Slicing and First Impressions

Research in social psychology related to first impressions received an intense focus of attention with the release of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Th inking (2005) . In his examination of the rapid cognition occurring during the first few seconds of impression formation, Gladwell popularized the term “thin slicing” as a description of the ability to “find patterns in situations and behavior based on very

narrow slices of experience” (Gladwell, pg. 23). The term “thin slicing” was originally used by Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal (1992) in a review of research on the accuracy of predictions from brief observations of behavior. The researchers defined t hin slices as “observations of expressive behavior lasting five minutes or less” (p. 256). In a meta - analysis of 38 thin slice studies, Ambady and Rosenthal reported p redictions based on observations lasting less than 30 seconds were just as accurate as pr edictions based on four - or five - minute observations. Thin slice research has demonstrated that judgments about others can be accurate even when they are based on very brief observations.

Thin slice judgments have been shown to be accurate based on the ph ysical appearance, posture, and behavior observed within seconds of meeting another person. For example, Albright, Kenny, and Malloy (1988) asked subjects (N = 259) to make personality judgments about individuals with whom they were unacquainted based only

on physical appearance. Subjects in groups of four to six were requested to make ratings of themselves and each other on five personality dimensions (sociable, good - natured, responsible, calm, and intellectual). Results showed significant consensus betw een

10

observers on all personality dimensions and evidence of correlation with self - judgments on two dimensions (social and responsible).

Recent research related to thin slice impressions has focused on the amount of exposure time and the type of judgments being made. In one study, Carney, Colvin, & Hall (2007) examined the accuracy of thin slice impressions by investigating exposure time (5, 20, 45, 60, and 300 seconds), slice location (beginning, middle, end), and judges ratings of negative affect, positiv e affect, personality variables and intelligence. Accuracy increased with exposure time and 60 seconds yielded the optimal ratio between accuracy and slice length. Results suggest that accuracy of first impressions depends on the type of judgment made, amo unt of exposure, and temporal location of the slice of judged social behavior.

Understanding the speed and accuracy with which first impressions are formed may benefit professionals who rely on interpersonal skills for business success. Weitz (1978) noted that salespeople can increase sales by creating a positive initial impression of trustworthiness and friendliness. One rec ent study demonstrates judgments made from thin slices of audio only can accurately recognize interpersonal skills necessary for succe ssful salesmanship. Ambady, Krabbenhoft, and Hogan (2006) asked participants to listen to 20 second audio clips of interviews with twelve regional sales managers in a large, American corporation. Participants in the first study (N = 12) listened to sound c lips which had been content - filtered, a process that removes the high frequencies on which word recognition depends, but preserves the sequence and rhythm of speech. Participants in the second study (N = 8) listened to the same audio clips unfiltered with the original speech content intact. Participants ratings of nine interpersonal skills correlated strongly with supervisors’ evaluations of sales effectiveness. Naïve observers were not only accurate in predicting sales effectiveness based on positive ratin gs of personality traits, they were capable of accurate predictions after hearing less than 30 seconds of voice quality alone.

Creating a positive first impression seems essential for professionals who are applying and interviewing for employment. Gada - Jai n (1999) examined nonverbal thin slices of the initial greeting and settling into chairs in job interviews, and found judgments of these brief instances predictive of the outcomes of the subsequent full

11

employment interviews. Because the social behaviors n ecessary for successful business interactions include nonverbal cues, thin slicing has been shown to be predictive of performance in several fields including salespeople, telephone operators, business managers, and health - care professionals (Ambady et al., 2006).

In some instances, humans reveal information from nonverbal behavior quite unintentionally. Blanck, Rosenthal, and Cordell (1985) showed that ratings of brief excerpts of judges’ nonverbal behavior while delivering instructions to jurors in actual

criminal trials reflected judges’ expectations for the trial outcomes and the criminal history of the defendants. Using these thin slices of trial judges’ nonverbal behavior in mock jury research, Hart (1995) found that even when admonished to disregard t he judge’s behavior and to form their own opinions, observers returned verdicts concordant with the judges’ bias.

Married couples engaged in discussion of a relationship conflict may reveal more than they intend through their nonverbal behaviors. Carrère

a nd Gottman (1999) tested the hypothesis that the first few minutes of a discussion of a marital conflict can be an accurate predictor of divorce. The marital conflict discussion of 124 newlywed couples was coded using the Specif ic Affect Coding System, and data were divided into positive, negative, and positive - minus - negative affect totals for five three - minute intervals. It was possible to predict marital outcome over a 6 - year period using just the first three minutes of data for both husbands and wives.

T he literature related to thin sli ce studies has shown accurate j udgments are possible upon first observation of another person’s expressive behavior, often within seconds and without requiring personal interaction. Ambady, Berneiri, and Richeson (2000) des cribed judgment accuracy from thin slices of the behavioral stream, concluding that cues from facial expressions, gestures, voice, and body movements may reveal aspects of emotions, personality, and behavioral intentions. Initial impressions can quickly re veal a salesperson’s effectiveness, a job applicant’s interview skills, a courtroom judge’s unspoken bias, and even a married couple’s chances of divorce. Perhaps more importantly, initial impressions affect more than just a perceiver’s judgments about ano ther. Initial impressions have been shown to strongly influence subsequent behavior.

12

Behavioral Consequences of Initial Impressions

Once an initial impression is formed, it seems human tendency is to hold onto that impression. Fiske, Lin, and Neuberg (19 99) proposed a continuum model of impression formation suggesting the process varies on a single continuum ranging from categorization of an individual based on salient features to recategorization if the individual does not seem to match the initial impre ssion. When an observer is motivated to process an initial impression further, an attempt is made to “confirm the initial categorization with a bias toward preserving that categorization” (Fiske et al., p. 234).

Ross, Leper, and Hubbard (1975) demonstrated that when participants who formed an initial impression were explicitly told the impression was inaccurate, they persisted in believing their initial judgment. Ross et al. explained that participants used an attributional bias to maintain their first impr ession, which made even inconsistent information appear to conform with their initial judgment.

Full document contains 181 pages
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of initial impressions on the perception of teaching effectiveness in choral music student teachers. Secondary school music teachers (n = 78) and undergraduate music education majors (n = 84) viewed ten randomly selected 15-second thin slices of choral music student teachers in classroom interaction. Participants (N = 162) were given 45 seconds after each teaching sample to rate teaching effectiveness on a 7-point Likert-type scale and record open-ended initial impressions of each observation. Open-ended responses were examined and coded to create a taxonomy of influencing factors. Results indicated that after viewing 15 seconds of classroom interaction, music teachers and pre-service music teachers agreed in their perception of the three most and two least effective teaching samples. Both groups cited teaching strategies (36%) and rehearsal strategies (18.7%) most often as influencing their evaluation of effectiveness. Factors cited less often included delivery/communicative skills (14%), student behavior (13.9%), personality/appearance (8%), and classroom environment (3.6%). Specific factors cited most frequently for highest-rated teaching samples included quality of verbal instruction, rehearsal effectiveness, and the use of Curwen hand signs and Solfege syllables. Factors cited most frequently for lowest-rated teaching samples included organization skills, classroom management skills and teacher personality characteristics. Implications for music educators and suggestions for future research are discussed.