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Research in Higher Education

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 243–288 | Cite as

The superior college teacher from the students' view

  • Kenneth A. Feldman
Article

Abstract

This analysis attempts a systematic synthesis of the rather large body of research on college students' views on teaching and their assessment of the effectiveness of various attitudes, behaviors, and pedagogical practices of instructors. Across studies, the following characteristics are consistently associated with superior college teachers or teaching (as determined in a variety of ways): stimulation of interest; clarity and understandableness; knowledge of subject matter; preparation for, and organization of, the course; and enthusiasm for the subject matter and for teaching. Friendliness (concern and respect for students), helpfulness (availability), and openness to others' opinions (encouragement of class questions and discussion) are characteristics that students say they prefer in teachers (especially when they freely describe their ideal or best teacher and the characteristics they see as important to good teaching). However, a teacher's standing on these characteristics appears not to be particularly important to students' global assessment of their actual teachers on teacher-evaluation questionnaires. Finally, relative to other characteristics, certain regulative activities of the instructor are typically and consistently lower in importance for superior teaching, at least by the several indicators used in the studies under review. The analysis concludes with interpretations and cautions.

Key words

effective college teaching descriptions of the ideal teacher evaluation of college teachers course evaluation student ratings 

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Copyright information

© APS Publications, Inc 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth A. Feldman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyState University of New York at Stony BrookUSA

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