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This study asked preservice and inservice teachers about their views on the characteristics of an effective teacher and sought to discern whether the gender of the participants influenced the responses. In Fall and Spring semesters, 1993-1994, undergraduates (preservice) education students and graduate students (most were inservice teachers) attending a regional university were asked to write free responses for characteristics of good/effective teachers. They were asked to use one-word concepts if possible. Of 395 participants, 106 were male and 289 were female. Analysis revealed gender differences as well as differences between graduate and undergraduate students in the responses. By far, the most important characteristic in a good/effective teacher, as cited by undergraduate students, was understanding. The most important characteristic, as cited by gradate students was caring. Females, more than males, would like to see teachers show understanding, enthusiasm, creativity, and organization. Males would like to see teachers show fairness, good communication, responsibility, and humor. In addition the results suggested that teachers' personality characteristics were related to their perceived effectiveness, and that perceived personality traits may be as important as technical skills. Also, teacher characteristics appeared, paradoxically, to be independent of the quality of instruction. (Contains 37 references.) (JB)

Descriptors: College Students, Elementary School Teachers, Elementary Secondary Education, Expectation, Graduate Students, Higher Education, Inservice Teacher Education, Preservice Teacher Education, Secondary School Teachers, Sex Differences, Student Attitudes, Student Evaluation of Teacher Performance, Teacher Characteristics, Teacher Effectiveness

Autor: Ogden, Darlene H.; And Others


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