Power Pose: Real or Placebo Effect?

power pose Mar 10, 2017

Almost one year ago, I wrote about Amy Cuddy and her research related to the "power pose".  If you didn't read that post, here is the link (http:// https://www.patricepalmer.ca/blog/the-super-hero-pose-fact-or-fiction).

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the "power pose", it means adopting a posture or stance like a "superhero" (hands on hips, standing tall and powerful).  The idea is that we gain confidence from standing like a super hero!  

Cuddy faced much criticism regarding her research and book - Presence Bringing Your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges (http://amzn.to/2mU6OmJ.   

According to Cuddy, "the key finding is simple: adopting expansive postures causes people to feel more powerful".  She reports that this effect has been replicated in at least nine published studies and in at least four unpublished studies from nine different labs.

In addition, Cuddy argues that "what’s absolutely clear from the studies is that adopting expansive poses increases people’s feelings of power and confidence". 

So how does this relate to teaching English?

When I published my blog post last year on this, many teachers wrote in to tell me about their own experiences using the "power pose" with their students.  Every teacher who responded suggested that their students felt more confident after adopting the power pose.

Placebo effect?  Maybe.  We know that students are often extremely nervous when public speaking.  In fact, most people are (I attended a talk last weekend and the person, a trained actor, was obviously very nervous, sipping water non-stop and making comments like "when I was asked to do this, it seemed like a good idea" as she wiped her brow!)

If you are interested in the latest research, and a recent interview with Amy Cuddy, have a read http://ideas.ted.com/inside-the-debate-about-power-posing-a-q-a-with-amy-cuddy/

I leave you with this from Cuddy:

"It’s not just about standing like a superhero for two minutes; it’s about carrying yourself with power and pride and poise, as you deserve to do".   

In this current wave of anti-immigration in North America, I feel that it is more important than ever to support our students.  Stand up tall and be proud.  Valuable words for all of our students.

Happy Teaching!  Patrice

Online Resources

Always a favourite website for materials.  http://www.esl-lounge.com/

Teacher Finder helps teachers find more language students. Save time by using Teacher Finder.  Visit Teacher Finder at http://bit.ly/2ll765r

About Me

My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., TESL and I reside in Canada. I have 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Curriculum Writer in Canada including 7 amazing years in Hong Kong. I have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs such as ESP, EAP, Business English, and language programs for new immigrants in Canada.  I now work as a teacherpreneur (check out my other website at http://www.teacherpreneur.ca) doing the things that I love such as writing courses, blogging, sharing teaching materials, and instructional coaching for new teachers. Having a flexible schedule allows me to conduct short-term training around the world at any time of the year.  Download free teaching resources at http://www.patricepalmer.ca


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