Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Stacy E. Wahl


Teachers' Perceptions of the Effect of Their Attire on

Middle-School Students' Behavior and Learning


Elizabeth Clemons Sampson

M.A., Valdosta State University, 1987

B.S., Albany State University, 1974

Doctoral Study Submitted in Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree of

Doctor of Education

Walden University

February 2016

Teachers were once held to a professional dress code. This code has become lax, resulting in teachers dressing in more casual attire. A local middle school in rural Georgia was experiencing complaints about teachers' unprofessional attire from other teachers, administrators, and parents. Teachers play an integral role in modeling cultural and behavioral norms for students, of which professional dress is one. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore local middle school teachers' perceptions of the impact of their professional work attire on students' behavior and learning. Bandura's social learning and cognitive theories provided the theoretical framework for this se study. Data were collected from 10 certified teachers at the local site, representing varying backgrounds and tenure, using individual semi-structured interviews. Interview data were open coded and thematically analyzed. The findings indicated that local teachers perceived that professional attire had a positive influence on students' learning and behavior and that students appear to model teachers who were professionally attired. Implications for positive social change include improved awareness at the local site about how teacher attire may influence students. This awareness may motivate teachers to consider their professional attire as a possible positive influence on students' behavior and learning.

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