Research Article | Open Access
The Effect of Teachers’ Dress on Students’ Attitude and Students’ Learning: Higher Education View
Dress which has had the influences on the perceptions of viewers whether students or outsiders, is more than just a wearing. At first instance, the outlook imposes a very positive expectation subjective to the likeliness and behavior pattern of the students. A positive impression ultimately imposes a positive atmosphere of learning toward the students’ mind. How the dress usually influences the learning of students depending on students’ attitude is the prime concern of this study. For validation of ideas, 405 respondents' judgments were justified from eight private universities of Bangladesh through Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling. Depending on their relationship, three hypotheses such as students’ attitude to students’ learning, dress to students’ attitude, and finally dress to students’ learning were strongly supported, with path coefficients of 0.483, 0.533, and 0.425, respectively. These rationalizations finally signify the new mood of appearance in student learning paradigms in context to influential role-playing foundation of teachers into the mind of learners.
Dress is nothing in relation to learning of students. But, the outlook of teacher creates a learning impression into the minds of students at first look or first sight. The fact is evidential naturally when a teacher presents before the students in a new batch or a new class even in an old batch. The psychology works at student’s mind that by a smart outlook smart presentation is possible. Though irrelevant, the impression of good-looking dress might get admiration from the colleagues, subordinate staff, and even outsiders. An individual’s personality can be revealed through appearance depending on importance of clothing , and choice in clothing can communicate responsibility, status, power, and the ability to be successful . In students’ judgments, teachers’ formal dress represents competency and The dress allows the person's speaking to take more authorization of ideas . The teacher should dress professionally enough to establish authority and to maintain professionalism . Regardless of liberties, the teacher should focus on students so that they will have to make to their classroom learning friendly. Henceforth, how the dress usually influences the learning of students depending on students’ attitude is the prime concern of this study.
2. Students’ Attitude and Students’ Learning
Formal clothing has significance in not only to follow norms but also to get respect, professionalism, and maintenance of social distance. In an earlier study, students’ perceptions also varied with dress by connotations “professional” and “unprofessional” . In addition to considering influence of dress cognitively, dress had impact on the processing style that measures the changes of how objects, people, and events are construed . Clothing is also influenced by the impressions of others  and signifies how others are treated . Wearing formal dress describes an individual as rational and competent, but casual clothing refers to friendly and laid-back . Tatro  summarized that gender had little effect on faculty evaluations [11–13]. However, students’ ratings are frequently influenced by factors that have very little to do with teaching effectiveness . In general, formal or professional dress is the most positively perceived by most of the observers [15, 16]. Consequently, this study hypothesizes that students’ attitude is a significant predictor of students’ learning.
Hypothesis 1. Students’ attitude has a positive effect on students’ learning.
3. Teachers’ Dress and Students’ Attitude
The well-dressed professors/teachers are considered to be more organized, knowledgeable, and better prepared, whereas professors/teachers who wore informal clothing were seen as friendlier, flexible, sympathetic, fair, and enthusiastic by the judgment of the students . It is also considerable that the teacher-expressive characteristics like warmth, enthusiasm, or extroversion apparently separate effective teacher from ineffective in context to the students’ views [18, 19]. One of the studies has found that clothing is being communicated about the wearer . In other studies by Landry and Sigall  and by Lapitsky and Smith , the influence of clothing and physical appearance on perception of task performance was found. Again, it is also observed in research that dress affects person in formation of first impressions and the clothing had a stronger influence on impressions of sociability of an individual . As a result, this study hypothesizes that teachers’ dress is a significant predictor of students’ attitude in learning.
Hypothesis 2. Teachers’ dress has a positive effect on students’ attitude in classroom learning.
4. Teachers’ Dress and Students’ Learning
People made judgments about other people based on their clothing attributing to a powerful appearance dimensions or a sociable appearance dimension. Though formal attire increases perceptions of authority, friendliness, and attractiveness , the expectations grow up more for formal dress upon a working woman than on a man . With respect to dress, teacher credibility comprises three components like believability, trustworthiness, and goodwill , but Teven and Herring  emphasized on power, credibility, and student satisfaction. Again, clothing/dress code can be determined as perceived status , but in some cases, moderate level of dress intended more respect from students than on more formal dress . Again, Robertson  identified the expression of person on dress code on the basis of differences between generations. Usually, the teacher’s dress was also a matter of personal preference along with the factors of classroom conditions, class setting, delivery mood and personal preference, and comfort, even though the attributes are also relating to class preparation, knowledge of the subject matter, and ability . With different degrees of perceptions on casual and formal dress, the style of dress and forms of address are also influential factors that show teacher’s expertise, attractiveness, credibility, and likeability . As a consequence, the study hypothesized that the dress is a significant predictor of students’ leaning.
Hypothesis 3. Teachers’ dress has a positive effect on students’ learning.
Here, three variables have been considered such as teachers’ dress, students’ attitude, and students’ learning where teachers’ dress is an independent variable and students’ attitude and students’ learning are dependent variables.
6. Conceptual Model
Based on the literature review, the hypothesis and measurement model is formulated for the exogenous variable and the endogenous variables as shown in Figure 1 to explain the relationship among teachers’ dress, students’ attitude, and students’ learning.
A structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Here, the three key variables have been considered such as teacher’s dress, students’ attitude, and students’ learning. In preliminary judgment to identify the impact of students’ learning and students’ attitude, several factors have been identified and used in this study. Along with demographic questions in a format of open-ended questions, scale questions had been set and rated accordingly with a 5-point rating scales in between “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”
From the questionnaire point of view, all the items selected for this study are based on the ideology and workable hypotheses from the earlier researches on the same field with a rare minor revision where necessary. In the same order, the most frequent measurement of teacher’s dress related items whether male or female was derived from the research studies of Fortenberry et al. , Kwon and Johnson-Hillery , Lukavsky et al. , Patton , and Robertson . In addition, the impact of dress for credibility, learning, and understanding was selected from the research studies of Johnson and Miller , Martinez-Egger and Powers , Nadler and Nadler , Schrodt , and Teven and McCroskey . Arguably, another crucial and embodied item-attitude has considered with learning measurement on earlier researches on Sebastian and Bristow ; Kwon and Johnson-Hillery  and Harris et al. . However, the consideration of Bassett et al.  was separately treated, and few items for the same were included. Again, the items of learning were adapted from the several earlier research studies especially of Lukavsky et al.  and Rollman . In addition, few other items were materialized and revised based on the earlier research of Smith et al. .
The survey was addressed to the students of University of Information Technology & Sciences (UITS), Port City University, Feni University, BGMEA Institute of Fashion and Technology, East Delta University, University of Creative Technology Chittagong, University of Science and Technology Chittagong, and Southern University at Chittagong particularly for students’ attitude measurement. Both of the respondents were asked to opine both for teachers’ dress and perceptions about outsiders’ dress. The sample size is in total 430, but 405 were found effective after data screening. To justify the sample/respondents, the following assumptions have been set:(i)The students having a positive attitude towards the teaching profession have given a more realistic opinion than those having a negative attitude(ii)The students who care about their own dress opine perfectly on teachers’ dress(iii)The students who attend classes regularly can judge teacher better than those who attend irregularly
6.3. Data Analysis
To assess the relationships among the studied variables, the researcher has performed confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling . SPSS 22 and AMOS 22 had been used to perform these analyses. These analyses are supposed to help understand which model fits the data best while presenting a credible assessment on the impact of dress on students’ attitude and learning.
Statistical techniques were applied to assess the reliability and validity of the survey and to obtain more clarity regarding the influence of the selected variables on students’ learning.
The reliability coefficient for the different constructs was measured using the reliability procedure in SPSS 22. The reliabilities of the entire construct used in this study were found to be above the standard set which is 0.70 . The range of Cronbach alpha shows the reliability of the variables of research ranges from α = 0.806 to α = 0.857, where mean scores had been computed by equally weighting the mean scores of all the relevant to each construct.
Table 1 shows Cronbach’s alpha of each of the variables where the variable students’ learning has the highest alpha values and dress has the lowest but all are out of the issue of a minimum acceptable limit of 0.70.
7.2. Normality Test
With the previous set guidelines for checking normality, skewness and kurtosis were used where positive and negative value indicate the direction of positive and negative relations, respectively , and the threshold values for justification were ± 3 and ± 10 for skewness and kurtosis, respectively . At this point, Table 2 shows that the mean for dress (4.02) was the highest while students’ learning (3.59) had the lowest mean value. Yet again, the skewness and kurtosis are ranged from 0.052 to 0.549, but within the expected values of skewness and kurtosis. Henceforth, the data are normally distributed.
Descriptive Statistics: the following is the attempt undertaken to justify the result of the study.
7.3. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA)
Confirmatory factor analysis was used here to measure the construct validity of the model, whereas convergent validity is for existence of construct determined by the correlations exhibited by independent measures of the construct. To assess convergent validity, the loading estimates and construct reliability were investigated. In AMOS 22.0, convergent validity can be measured using the measurement model by determining the significant value of each item’s estimated pattern coefficient on its posited underlying construct factor .
To measure the unidimensionality and convergent and discriminant validity through AMOS 22.0, the CFA provides overall fit indices (χ2 = 219.153), chi-square degrees of freedom = 63, RMSEA (root mean square error of estimation) = 0.0181, GFI (goodness-of-fit indices) = 0.927, AGFI (adjusted goodness-of-fit indices) = 0.905, CFI (comparative fit indices) = 0.954, and NNFI (nonnormed fit indices) = 0.938.
Here goodness of fit of the final model indicated “reasonable or good fit” or RMSEA = 0.0181. It is suggested that 0.05 < RMSEA < 0.08 is for good fit . In this study, CFI = 0.954 demonstrates reasonable fit. A rule of thumb for the CFI and the incremental indexes is that values greater than roughly 0.90 may indicate reasonably good fit of the researcher model . GFI = 1.0 refers to perfect fit . Therefore, a GFI = 0.927 indicates reasonably good fit for the researcher’s model in this study. The AGFI of 0.905 indicates reasonably good fit for the researcher model. The NNFI (nonnormed fit index) or Tucker-Lewis Index has been recommended a value of 0.90 or better for good fit [44, 47]. Thus, an NNFI = 0.938 for this study implies good fit. From the above goodness-of-fit evaluation, confirmatory factor analysis for the final measurement model reasonably supported the model’s fit.
8. Measurement Model
8.1. Structural Equation Model (SEM)
A structural model is fit to the teachers’ dress, students’ attitude, and students’ learning data according to the model structure given in Figure 1.
Three paths (teachers’ dress to students’ attitude, teachers’ dress to students’ learning, and students’ attitude to students’ learning) are found to have significant positive standardized path coefficients that are not dropped sequentially based on Wald test. The goodness-of-fit indices for the final structure model, shown in the bottom part of Table 3, suggests a good fit to the data: the small ratio of chi-square to degree of freedom (<2), great values of GFI, AGFI, CFI, NFI (>0.9) and RMSEA (<0.05).
The estimation results in Table 4 and Figure 2 indicate that the three hypotheses, H1 (students’ attitude ⟶ students’ learning), H2 (teachers’ dress ⟶ students’ learning), and H3 (teachers’ dress ⟶ students’ attitude) are strongly supported, with path coefficients of 0.317, 0.302, and 0.577, respectively.
In accordance with the parameter estimates shown in Table 5, students’ attitude is positively and significantly related to students’ learning (coefficient = 0.483, ), as this finding proposed in H1. In the same way, as proposed in H2 and H3, teachers’ dress has a positive and significant effect on students’ learning (coefficient = 0.425 ) and students’ attitude (coefficient = 0.533, ), respectively.
Note. S.E. = standard error; C.R. = critical ratio; .
8.2. The Hypothesized Casual Structure Model
As shown in Table 5, the regression weight of students’ attitude to students’ learning (t = 4.494; ), teachers’ dress to students’ learning (t = 4.749; ), and teachers’ dress to students’ attitude (t = 7.739; ) was found to be significant. This indicated that dress had significant direct effect on both students’ attitude and learning.
In a very common phenomenon, student and teacher interacted comparatively more on classrooms. Based on this ideology, this study generalizes the scenario of learning with respect to dress via impact on attitude with much care, which is not contradict the caution of over-generalizing the classroom effects of dress . In a view point of importance of dress, this interaction and surrounding factors associated with it are aiding significant contribution in learning as like as similarities with the impact of a dress on other professional settings. Very earlier research of Newhouse  identified the role of dress-based discrimination of perception of students about their teacher. That study also gave the importance of attire of a teacher which literally supports the findings of this study. In addition, the findings of Lang  defends positively the impact of the dress of this study.
The hypotheses were set for this study legibly support the findings of earlier studies where identified the fact that more respect goes with the teacher’s appearance by a formal attire . Prior to this, dress affects the way of a judgment of the students . Very positively, the attire is not only an influential fact for the students but also infused the others’ view on institution. That is why the charm of the dress code is supposed to be a solid-gravity for the culture of the institution. Though it is surprisingly forcing toward regulation, dress ultimately displays a standard view to the outsiders. So, the dress is marked for qualitatively different stance both for students and outsiders. In this sense, the competency of the teacher that was aroused by the clothing had a good sense. Hence, the uniform should imbue the perceived differences toward appropriate awareness. Consequently, it can hold the similar expectation what arises through attire for the development of positive attitude which ultimately leads to the development of a very positive learning paradigm for the students.
The significant differences for a modest formal or informal attire either casual or business casual have been subjected to the opinions and perceptions of the students. The relatability of the students’ views about the dress of a teacher or an instructor is somewhat creating a misconception owing to the situation. It may depend on gender biasedness of the students or their interpersonal or social characteristics . Again, it is ideally true where gender ratio produced more effective learning with contradiction. So, what is supposed to be true for a particular situation might not be true for the rest of scenario depending on the assumption. Nevertheless, the outcome of the similar study of Martin et al.  about cognitive learning also gauged the similar result in this study. Again, the hypothesis of students’ attitude to students’ learning is also justified by the scenario of credibility perception of students about their teacher which was too relevant to the findings of Thweatt and McCroskey . So, these findings profusely support the appearance of the educator role for creating a scratch into students' minds. In no doubt, teachers' wear should copiously dignify the institutional value with a high degree of decency. As teachers, they should be a role player of personification before the students duly on voice, gesture, chastisement, and finally on outlook.
The direction towards the importance of dress should be under the cognizance of a teacher especially for the classes may be either as a professional or even appear to be professional outlook. Seemingly, teaching profession, a visceral activity, is encompassed on lot of body movement henceforward, different categories of dress ware were (viz., formal, informal or casual) preferred for. With respect to earlier researches and evidential support, someone’s desirability goes with a dress code for professional. Depending on the aesthetic look, however, teacher should dress decently so that students should allow them in all aspects. Without any doubt, the dress preference of a teacher for a particular style is considered construal rather professional. Additionally, the dress of the teacher is influenced through and matched with age, sex, and status. Very personally, it should focus on show-up appearance or lifestyle of a faculty member.
On the other hand, a very positive outlook is quite necessary owing to the self-respect or even for the working institution. The way the students accept, the more likely to engrave very positive attitude toward the personnel. Besides, it is a general belief that the selection of dress has a visual paradox meaning to wear a very formal dress does not change a teacher's attitude, or a very tidy outlook considers very intimated. But the dress reveals one’s intention and inherent aesthetic view. Likewise, some students believe that the dress would reflect purity of an individual for any profession. On that scenario, the dress should be admirable and adorable. This is not a blasphemy to reevaluate a teacher by students’ perception that a well-dressed teacher will be well planned and modest about his profession. Furthermore, the dress reinforces the existing power hierarchy of a teacher solely on mind but very strangely on delivery.
Whatever the scenario, the entrusted role of a teacher owing to the positional value and responsibility should concentrate with no exception of standards of conduct and behavior. It supports to dress look-alike to honor rather learning for how to set costume perfectly for a profession. Arguably, the articulation and policy guidelines are not the solutions for the effective learning or attitudinal change but relatively affective for upholding the responsibility of the teacher himself/herself. Hoping to perfection, an institution can set official dress code or even set guidelines appropriate wearing for classroom. A good-to-go comfortable wears, neutral as mix and match, avoid skin revealing dresses, clean or any dress for a more put-together look should be preferable and suggested for a teaching professional. Thus, framing the strict policy for the instructor’s outfit is somewhat initiatives for discipline against the erring individuals supposed to be worthwhile if encouraging or related to individual conduct. In fine, from moral obligation, the teachers' active role both in and outside the classroom is necessarily inspiring toward goal achievement of the students.
It is obvious from the analysis that dress creates a strong favorable image into the minds of students by assuming teachers’ family background, personality, choice, or product of preferences by viewing his or her clothing, values, and social status. The research study was conducted to find the impact of dress on students’ attitude and students’ learning among the university students in particular and higher education in general. Research indicates that both dress and students’ attitude are the important factors to increase weight on students’ learning. The research can be replicated in the same manner with a large sample size and more variety of variables affecting the learning of the students. Although SEM provides a good fit to the hypothesized model, future research could use a different design to examine causal relationships posited by theories, such as to explore other antecedents on students’ attitude in other academic institutions and other countries or different global regions.
The data used to support the findings of this study have not been made available because of confidentiality.
Conflicts of Interest
The author declares that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.
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