About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4181-4190
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.2027

Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain

LEARNING IS IN THE EMOTIONS OF THE BEHOLDER - FEATURES OF THE IDEAL PROFESSOR

C. Strungaru, F. Oprina, L. Petrescu, S. Avram, D. F. Mihailescu

Faculty of Biology, Bucharest University (ROMANIA)
Our preferences for a certain professional domain are frequently related to our early contact with a certain teacher, who knew how to make us sensitive and enthusiast (he/she was extraordinary, charismatic, friendly, severe, etc.). The opposite is also true. (I liked to play piano but I had a very old / fat / ugly /uninteresting, etc. teacher and so, I gave up).

Our study is part of a research project on e-learning focused not only on the scientific content of a given lesson but also on the cognitive-emotional interaction between the user and the virtual professor (generated by the computer). In this regard, we were interested in what the students perceived as the perfect or ideal instructor starting with his/her physical appearance and continuing with the teaching style and social abilities. Accordingly, two questionnaires have been administered to a large number of students enrolled at different universities and majoring in different specializations. The first questionnaire asked students (n=910) about how they perceive the ideal real instructor while the second (n=428) investigated students’ preferences for a virtual instructor that would meet their ideal. The results point out on several characteristics an ideal, real or virtual instructor should have in order to raise emotional and cognitive interest of students for the content presented in the classroom. Although these characteristics might sometimes be considered fantasies, we obtained interesting results when analyzed in correlation with the students’ personal data (age, gender, domain of study).

One interesting result that emerged was the difference in the proportions of students who declared that they didn't care about the physical looks (hair, eyes, weight or height) of the instructor in the two scenarios: for the real instructor, the proportion was systematically (and significantly) higher than for the virtual instructor. Although that, when it came to the general appearance (casual, elegant, or sporty), or the outfit of the ideal instructor, they suddenly began to care: according to our results, no matter how the instructor looks, he/she should be neat and well dressed, the students wouldn't have it any other way.

Younger students revealed a preference for an instructor slightly older, but not too much, confirming what it is claimed in the literature, that we learn best from our peers, not from a distant authority figure, while older students clearly avoided young instructors, reluctant to learn anything from a younger fellow.
We are not machines into which one can simply load any data. We care not only what, but also who teaches us. Our emotional responses are triggered by factors like sex, age or appearance, and they do play a role in the process of learning. In an age when on-line instruction becomes more and more common, these results might be relevant and important, if we want to keep the audiences interested in front of the screen.
@InProceedings{STRUNGARU2016LEA,
author = {Strungaru, C. and Oprina, F. and Petrescu, L. and Avram, S. and Mihailescu, D. F.},
title = {LEARNING IS IN THE EMOTIONS OF THE BEHOLDER - FEATURES OF THE IDEAL PROFESSOR},
series = {10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-5617-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2016.2027},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2016.2027},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {4181-4190}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Strungaru AU - F. Oprina AU - L. Petrescu AU - S. Avram AU - D. F. Mihailescu
TI - LEARNING IS IN THE EMOTIONS OF THE BEHOLDER - FEATURES OF THE IDEAL PROFESSOR
SN - 978-84-608-5617-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2016.2027
PY - 2016
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2016
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2016 Proceedings
SP - 4181
EP - 4190
ER -
C. Strungaru, F. Oprina, L. Petrescu, S. Avram, D. F. Mihailescu (2016) LEARNING IS IN THE EMOTIONS OF THE BEHOLDER - FEATURES OF THE IDEAL PROFESSOR, INTED2016 Proceedings, pp. 4181-4190.
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