Shoulders, C. W., Sellick, S. A., Southward, L., & Blythe, J. M. (2017). An exploration of how attire shapes high school students’ perceptions of agriculture teachers. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(2), 111-127. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2017.02111
An individual’s attire sends messages to those who view them (Damhorst, 1990), and the clothing choices made by teachers may influence students’ perceptions of the school (Workman & Freeburg, 2010). A majority of teacher dress codes require formal clothing (Workman & Freeburg, 2010), however, agricultural education teachers often work in educational environments which are more work-oriented than the traditional classroom (Shoulders & Myers, 2012). This qualitative study explored students’ perceptions of agriculture teachers based on their attire. Participants were shown an image of a teacher in attire ranging from casual to formal and asked questions about the teacher’s knowledge, discipline, respect, and ability to relate to students. Participants’ perceptions were similar regarding the formally and informally dressed general education teacher, but differed based on their involvement with the school’s agriculture program when viewing formally and informally dressed agriculture teachers. These findings suggest that while agriculture teachers’ attire may influence students’ perceptions of the teacher, the manner in which the attire shapes those perceptions may differ based on students’ experiences in agricultural education.