“Teaching is the profession that creates all other professions” – Unknown.
In my humble, and probably completely biased opinion, teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world. It gives students the knowledge and foundation for them to chase their goals and dream. I, myself, am studying to be a teacher and have enrolled in a class that studies “Bodylore” which Women’s Studies professor Dr. Amy Milligan defines as “the inquiry into the body’s role in communication and social meaning.” Many have asked why I bother studying the body and bodylore as I am going for a teaching degree, however, I have thought of many different ways it could make me a better teacher.
Studying the body also means studying what one chooses to put on their body. How students dress can tell a teacher a lot about who they’re about to spend a semester or two with. Every student has different personalities and learning styles but looking at how the student chooses to express themselves through clothing or body modification can help the teacher get a feel for the students attitudes, interests, and personalities giving the teacher some ideas on how the best way to teach that certain student could be. For example, if there is a class that has students in lots of t-shirts from concerts or band merch, that teacher can see that the particular class if very music oriented and can adjust their teaching styles accordingly. Also, sometimes the way student’s dress can reveal something about their personality. So, the student with the clothing with political statements and images on it can say a lot on who this student is and what he or she stands for. Reading students by how they dress can help teachers get a certain initial feel to a student’s personality and their learning styles.
Posture can tell a lot about what a person is thinking or feeling, so it could be really beneficial for teachers to study the body so they will be able to read a classroom better. If teachers want their students to succeed in their classes, then they have to find ways to make the subject material interesting and applicable for the students. If the students are interested in what they are learning about, then they can retain that information better. But knowing what students are interested in can be difficult, unless the teacher is able to read posture. If the teacher is teaching a class with more visual representatives and is connecting the topic to pop culture and the same teacher notices his or her students sitting straight up, making eye contact, and engaging in forms of active listening, then the teacher can draw the conclusion that this style of teaching works best for that particular classroom and set the teacher, and the students, off to succeed.
Many have found that studying bodylore is pointless, however, as someone who has goals of being a teacher, I have found that studying how people dress and the posture that people sit in can help me be a better teacher, not only for myself, but for my future students.
For just a bit of fun, here are some Bodylore quizzes from Buzzfeed that show how one dresses can reveal a lot about them:
Megan H. is a Freshman at ODU currently majoring in History who loves dogs, 80s music, and Disney World. Megan is interested in topics like feminism, gender, sexuality, and how the media effects how people view themselves.