Instructional Science

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 491–523 | Cite as

Becoming a better teacher: A case of changing the pedagogical knowledge and beliefs of law professors

  • Nira Hativa


Two instructors, given the lowest ratings by students in theschool of law at a research university in Israel, were interviewed,rated by students, and videotaped in classes twice: before and afterthey went through a treatment for improving instruction. Throughout theintervention period, several of their students were also interviewedregarding their instruction. Ratings by students of the same course inthe years previous to, and following, the treatment were also recorded.An analysis of the pre-treatment data identified three general factorsthat diminished students' ability to pay attention to and understandtheir teaching, thus causing their teaching to be perceived by studentsas poor. These three factors were: personal characteristics andaptitudes that negatively affect classroom behavior; lack ofsufficient pedagogical knowledge, and damaging thinking and beliefsregarding instruction and students. The four-month intensive treatmentshowed success in modifying and changing for the better most of thedamaging factors and in increasing instructional effectiveness. Thesignificant increase in student satisfaction from instruction thatresulted from the intervention was maintained for at least eight monthsafter the end of treatment. A principal conclusion is that for improvinginstruction of teachers perceived as poor by students, it is necessaryto modify not only the teachers' classroom behaviors but also theirpersonal characteristics and their beliefs about teaching and students– especially those that damage the effectiveness of theirinstruction.

improving instruction poor teaching teacher knowledge teachers' beliefs university teachers 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nira Hativa
    • 1
  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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