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Title: Community college students' perceptions of effective teachers
Author: Poon , Tat Hong
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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This mixed-methods study investigates community college students' perceptions of effective Teachers. This issue is critical as self-financing institutions which rely on students for their income may often fail to meet the needs and preference of their students due to a mismatch of both parties' perceptions of what constitutes an effective teacher. The study was conducted in two phases. In phase one, 468 students from a local community college were surveyed with the aid of the Teacher Behaviors Checklist (TBC) which asked them to identify factors that they believed to be most important for effective teachers. The quantitative data were collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics and statistical correlation. In phase two of the study, 18 recent graduates from the same community college were interviewed to gain a more detailed understanding of their perceptions concerning the most important characteristics for effective teachers. The qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis. The purpose of adopting more than one approach was to triangulate the findings ,obtained in this study and to follow up general statements which arose from the questioill13ire in more detail. Firstly, the results of this study generally supported the findings of Buskist et. a1. (2002) and Schaeffer et. al. (2003) by identifying the following as being the most important attributes of an effective teacher: knowledgeable about subject matter; effective communicators; and enthusiastic about teaching and their topics. In addition, being creative and interesting; well prepared; flexible/open-minded; approachable; having realistic expectations; providing constructive feedback; and presenting current information were also shown to be important behaviours of an effective teacher. The study revealed some evidence that the social and cultural backgrounds of the students could affect their perceptions. Secondly, results obtained from thematic analysis of the interview data suggested that the characteristics of effective teachers could be classified into four main themes: Technical skills, or the ability to deliver the subject content, and to make it feasible for the students to learn; Human skills, or the ability to interact with students and to build trust and assurance. These were seen as essential to motivate students and create their desirability to learn. A third theme included Knowledge skills, or the ability to organise, package-and then pitch the materials at the correct level for the students. The final theme, Social calibre or status refers to the academic or professional qualifications, research record and physical appearance of the teacher. Teachers who possess characteristics within these four themes were said to construct the proper learning environment that could facilitate students' learning and create an enjoyable learning experience. However, there was some evidence that this process was modulated by contextual factors which include gender, programme of study, trust-assurance and the reliance of individual students. These findings, therefore, argue that students emphasized both teaching competence and the ability to bu~1d relationships as being the most important characteristics of effective teachers. This being the case, trainers and administrators would be advised to prioritize these attributes in relation to the training and recruitment of teaching staff in community colleges within Hong Kong.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available