Beauty myth?

11th May 2001 at 01:00
So children prefer teachers with a "harmonious and reassuring appearance", according to a new Italian study.

It's no surprise that attractive teachers are highly rated in a media-saturated society where being young and sexy is all. It's even less surprising in Italy, where it's almost mandatory for sharp dressers to promenade the streets and squares at night. Who wouldn't prefer double maths with Hugh Grant and Penelope Cruz rather than Professor Paunch and Dr Cellulite?

Bu where exactly does this startling research lead us? Plastic surgery on the Standards Fund? Clothing vouchers to improve lessons in bog-standard establishments? Or a beauty bursary for attractive trainees?

The researchers should read our My Best Teacher features, where successful people recall the high points of their education. Inspiring teachers are usually remembered for charisma, maverick tendencies and enthusiasm, not looks. Good teaching is more than skin-deep.

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