So I'm no sommelier — beer and bourbon are more my game when I choose to partake — but I was recently enthralled by a story about wine in Patrick Radden Keefe's Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels, and Crooks. (Uplifting title, right?)
The story that caught my eye was, on its face, quite silly: a billionaire gets angry with a wine counterfeiter and seeks revenge.
But in the story the author shares a study that I found pretty connective to how teacher Credibility works. Here's Keefe's description of the study:
Several years ago, Frederic Brochet, a PhD student in oenology at the University of Bordeaux, did a study in which he served fifty-seven participants a mid-range red Bordeaux from a bottle with a label indicating that it was a modest vin de table. A week later, he served the same wine to the same subjects but this time poured from a bottle indicating that the wine was a grand cru. Whereas the tasters found the wine from the first bottle “simple,” “unbalanced,” and “weak,” they found the wine from the second “complex,” “balanced,” and “full.” Brochet argues that our “perceptive expectation” arising from the label often governs our experience of a wine, overriding our actual sensory response to whatever is in the bottle.from p. 13 of Rogues
This idea of perceptive expectation is exactly what's going on with Credibility, one of the Five Key Beliefs beneath student motivation. When a teacher is perceived as good at their job by an individual student, then the teacher will as a result be better at helping the student to learn and grow. The student's experience improves in this case not as a result of anything the teacher does, but instead as a result of the teacher's perceived “wine label.”
So in other words, one way to think about our teacher Credibility signaling, colleague, is that it's a way of changing our label. We still have to do the work of being a good wine — there's no skipping that — but we obviously want to make sure that the label's good, too.
I thought that was a fun thought to share with you this Thursday.
P.S. This Saturday at 11 am EST, I'll be giving a talk at the Rise Up Christian Educators conference. It's all online and registration is free. All backgrounds and belief systems welcome! My session info and registration links are here.
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