Conversation Starters

Having a Hot Teacher Might Actually Help Students Learn

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The winning smile, the comforting gaze, the salt-and-pepper streaks around the temples, the hip popped out in explanation: these are the ingredients for a hot (male) teacher. Have you ever noticed that whatever falls out of their pretty, well-educated mouths, whether its about the Monroe Doctrine or themes of redemption in To Kill A Mockingbird, it just automatically sounds correct?

That’s because if an adult is attractive, they will hold sway over kids. In a recent study published in The British Journal of Developmental Psychology, researchers found that when children were presented with a photo of an unattractive adult and an attractive one, they were more likely to choose the hotter adult as more authoritative. The trend was even more exaggerated amongst girls, who almost always picked the beautiful adult as the one with greater knowledge. And to think all of our yearly crushes and polished apples might have been helping us absorb the quadratic formula after all!

If we instinctively trust more attractive people from a young age, it’s worth questioning how much our initial bias lends itself to a lifetime of judgements. The research didn’t study whether our penchant for trusting hot people survives over time, but one look at the faces of the Institution of Trust – our news anchors – should convince you it might. Here’s looking at you, Brian Williams and Katie Couric. Maybe we’re all just “hot for teacher” our entire lives!

Image via Flickr.