The Comparison of the Characteristics of Effective Teaching from Instructors' and Students' viewpoint, Yazd Shahid Sadooghi University of Medical Sciences

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 1occupational medicine specialist, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran

2 Department of Disease Control, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences,Yazd, Iran.

3 Department of Health Education, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences-Yazd,Iran.

Abstract

Background and Purpose: Teaching is a mutual and cooperative process in which the learner and teacher both get affected, thus its effectiveness should be studied from the viewpoint of students and teachers so that by approximating the viewpoints, more effectiveness can be achieved in education, therefore we aimed to study the characteristics of effective teaching from the viewpoint of students and instructors of Yazd Shahid Sadooghi University of Medical Sciences.
Methods: This study is analytical – descriptive. The participants included 256 students and 70 instructors of the University of Medical Sciences. Data collection tool was a questionnaire which reliability and validity had been confirmed in previous studies. Sampling was done through multi-staged stratified. Data was analyzed by SPSS using statistical tests, Chi square, ANOVA and T-test.
Results: The results of this study showed that the priorities of effective teaching from the students' viewpoint were interpersonal relationship, actor's viewpoint they were teaching skills ,interpersonal relationship, personal attributes ,assessment skills and respecting education rules respectively and totally the most important characteristics of effective teaching from the students' viewpoint were mastery of the topic of the lesson(2.76), respectful tone and speech (2.73), and respecting students' self esteem and ego (2.7), and from instructors' viewpoint they were meaningful and constant presentation (2.97), paying attention to students' feedback(2.91), and involving students in discussing class lesson topics(2.90).
Conclusion: According to the opinions of students and instructors it is suggested to pay attention to the development of interpersonal skills along with new teaching skills in   empowering  instructors program and instructors should master  the topic of the lesson ,do organized and meaningful presentations ,and talk with students respectfully.

Keywords


 

Introduction

In today's community ,education and training and university  are the main factors of development and progress(1,2) and fundamental and permanent improvement in each society depends on the evolution of education and training system of the society and methods of the system of transfer of planned educational information to learners(3,4). Teaching is not easy work and is much more than just transfer of information(6).Teaching is a conscious and purposeful activity which needs using and mixing special movements and activities in specific cases and fields, based on knowledge and understanding of learners and creating a change in them(1,5) which is planned, performed, and will face in going beyond just transferring information in effective education(8). The quality of education is a multi-dimensional process and has short-term and long-term consequences, therefore its effectiveness must be studied from different aspects(9-11) and this needs a serious look at all factors involving learning-teaching process(12).

When effective teaching is brought in to discussion what is meant is the effective performance of teachers and succeeding in effective teaching is not easy work(12).

Teaching at university is not always effective(14). Today, teachers face groups and more complex and various  demographic specifications and also the learners' abilities are more various than any other time and if they are familiar with the unique needs of those learners and adjust their teaching methodologies with the needs and personal and group facilities of learners and  step toward  omitting the deficiencies of their methodologies and correcting and improving it, they will be able to fulfill the unique needs of learners ,but for different reasons they can't satisfy the needs sufficiently(5,15,16).

Although university instructors are pretty good at knowledge related to their own major  ,but most of them have limited knowledge about teaching theories and methodologies(14).The most primary definition of effective teaching is the teacher's ability in helping learners reaching high standards (17).In other words, the collection of the teacher's behaviors leads to the achievement of educational goals and learners' better learning(18,19) and in higher education effective learning is mostly defined as improving effective learning chances for learners(14).Effective teaching must be organized and motivating and promote teachers' and students' motivation , liveliness, innovation, and efficiency(1,18,19).

Instructors are the most valuable part of university and higher education  system (12,19,20) and the most fundamental factor for succeeding  in reaching  educational goals (3,21,22). At present, there are studies for guidance in the case of specifications of effective instructors and methodology which helps learners' pleasant  performance more than ever before(23) and different studies have clearly showed that the quality of teaching is the major factor in determining learners' learning and progress(10,13,24,27).

Effective teaching starts with training and preparation of effective teachers (23). Effective teachers are enthusiastic, motivated, and optimistic about teaching and reflect it in their behavior and try to improve it(26) and by assigning clear and routine rules and encouragement system in class don't let students lose concentration(28). Also ,students' use of effective learning in learning techniques is not just limited to the inside of class (8,29) and its effect can last several years as well as the effect of an un influential teacher(26).

Evaluation and assessment of the quality of teaching is difficult (17) and its most important reason is not having the criteria of effective teaching in university education(15,18,19).The effectiveness of teaching and performance of teachers must be evaluated through accurate , valid, reliable and fair methods which relate to teacher's knowledge  and performances related to learners' learning(27,30). No criterion can evaluate the efficiency of instructors alone but a combination of criteria can be useful(30).The evaluation of the effectiveness of teachers is done through different people such as principals, teachers and learners(9,10).

In the process of education, learning and teaching are two dependent parts. Although teaching is a teacher's job but its result is reflected in the learner or student, thus effectiveness should be studied from the viewpoint of teachers and students so that according to the common and different points and approximating them, more efficiency and  codification of behavioral patterns of teachers in education can be achieved(18,24).Therefore we decided to study the characteristics of effective teaching from the viewpoint of instructors and students of Yazd Shahid Sadooghi University of Medical Sciences.

Methods:

This study is a sectional descriptive-analytical one which was conducted in the winter of 1390 in Yazd University of Medical Sciences. The participants included 265 students and 70 instructors of this university who were selected through multi-staged stratified according to the faculties and different levels. Data collection tool was a questionnaire which had been used by Ramezani and Dortaj Ravari(21) in Kerman and its reliability and validity were again confirmed through a survey of the experts ,Alpha Cronbach (Alpha=0.78) and test-re-test (with an interval of two weeks). This questionnaire included two parts; the first part related to students' personal specifications(such as age, gender, level of education, scientific rank, employment status and job record) and the second part included 34 questions which were classified in 5 groups of interpersonal relationship (5 questions), teaching skills (12 questions), personal traits(9 questions), assessment skills (4 questions), and respecting education rules (4 questions). The questionnaire used Likert-Scale  with three choices of "not very important, important, very important" which were allocated the scores of 1 to 3 respectively, therefore each one of the specifications and fields of teaching had an importance rank between 1 o 3 from students 'viewpoint. The questionnaires were distributed according to the student population of the faculty and different levels and after data collection, it was analyzed by SPSS 16 through statistical tests of ANOVA, Chi square and T-test and the level of meaningfulness was 95%.

 

Results

Among instructors and students there were 44.1% and 50.8% male respectively and the rest were female. The mean age of instructors was 40.71±7.05 and of students 21.44±2.29. 8.6% of the instructors were selected from Health faculty,13.8% from Medicine faculty,34.5% from Paramedical faculty,13.8% from Pharmacy faculty,17.2% from Dentistry faculty ,and 12.1% of them were from Nursing faculty.29.2% of them had M.S.,43.1% had PhD. On the part of students 29.1% were from Medicine faculty,29.1% from Health,18.8% from Paramedical, and the rest were from other faculties.55.1% of them were getting their B.S.,6.6% M.S.,37.1% PhD. Also 28.9% were spending their first and second term of education, 29.7% third and fourth, 28.6% fifth and sixth and except 6.6% who didn't mention their term, the rest were studying in the fourth year or higher.

The average of job record of instructors was 11.79±7.07 years,15.2%were employed through a contract,18.2% were hired pilot and 66.7% were employed permanently .Also from the point of scientific rank 35.7% of the instructors were trainers,31.4% assistant,31.4% associate ,and 1.4% were full professors.

The results of this study showed that on the basis of the average of the total score of all fields from the viewpoint of students, the most important fields of Effective teaching included interpersonal relationship, teaching skills, personal characteristics, assessment skills and respecting educational rules respectively and from instructors' viewpoint although the fields of teaching skills and interpersonal relationship got the first and second priorities respectively and the priorities of other fields were similar to students but the difference between students' and instructors' viewpoints in all the fields was statistically meaningful (P˂0.05)(table 1).

The comparison of the mean score of different fields based on effective variables showed that the difference of viewpoint in the field of teaching skills, personal characteristics, assessment skills and respecting educational rules between male and female students has been statistically meaningful (P˂0.001,P=0.029,P=0.045,P=˂0.001 respectively). The viewpoints of male and female instructors in the fields of personal characteristics and interpersonal relationship were meaningfully different (P=0.001, P=0.045 respectively). Also the students' level of education was meaningfully different from personal characteristics(P=0.041) and there was a meaningful difference between the level of education of students and personal characteristics(P=0.041), assessment skills(P=0.024), and age with teaching skills (P=0.023) while in their opinion the instructors' level of education didn't affect teaching characteristics(P˃0.05).

Although instructors' age has been an effective factor in their viewpoint toward different fields except taching skills (P˂0.05),it has not been an effective factor in the case of students' viewpoint (P˃0.05).Instructors' job record has also been effective in their viewpoint toward assessment skill and respecting educational rules(P˂0.05), and the instructors' employment status was one of the factors that was effective in expressing their opinions about teaching skills and respecting educational rules(P˂0.05).

Students mentioned that in the field of personal characteristics, instructors respectful tone and speech (2.73) and instructor's viewpoint toward the major (2.68) were the most effective and the university rank of the instructor (1.93) and strictness of the instructor (1.97) were the least effective and the instructor's viewpoint toward the two factors which have the most effect  on effective teaching were similar to students but they prioritized the instructor's viewpoint toward major to the instructor's tone and speech(2.81 and 2.84 respectively) and the instructor's university rank (2.22) was the least important factor in this field from the viewpoint of instructors.

Also the instructor's mastery over the topic of the lesson (2.76) and making an attempt to make the lesson comprehensible and answering students' questions (2.58) had the most effect in effective teaching and asking questions during the process of teaching (2.09) and using education-aid tools (2.19)had the least effect in effective learning related to teaching skills from the viewpoint of students while 99% of the instructors believed that constant and meaningful presentation of the lesson topic is the most important characteristic of effective teaching and after that was involving students in the discussions of the lesson(2.90) and the least effect on effective teaching was using education-aid tools which was far distant from other variables of this field(2.26)(table 2).

In the field of interpersonal relationship , although students mentioned that respecting students' ego and self esteem (2.7) and having a sincere relationship with the student (2.56) had the most effect and availability of the instructor  other than of class hours had the least effect on effective learning ,the instructors mentioned that caring about the students' feedback (2.91) was more important than respecting student's ego (2.81) and in the case of the least important factor among the factors of this field ,they mentioned the availability of the instructor other than class hours(2.26),similar to what students had mentioned (table 2).

Instructors and participant students in this study mentioned that in the field of assessment skills ,right judgment and being fair (2.54 and 2.77 respectively) were the most effective and taking a quiz or a midterm (2.10 and 2.07 respectively)was the least effective factor in effective teaching and finally in the case of respecting educational rules which was of the least importance in both groups' opinion ,instructor's punctuality was the most effective factor in students' (2.43)  and instructors' (2.73) opinion and respecting educational rules (1.92) and calling the roll in the class (1.93) had the least effect in effective teaching from the students' viewpoint and from instructor' viewpoint this was calling the roll(2.86)(table 2).

And as a whole, the most important characteristics of effective teaching from the viewpoint of students were mastering the lesson topic, respectful tone and speech, and respecting student's ego, and the least important characteristics were the instructor's university rank, calling the roll, and respecting educational rules. On the other hand, although the instructors mentioned that the least important characteristics of effective teaching were the same factors introduced by the students but in expressing the most important factors they had a different opinion and what they mentioned were constant and meaningful presentation of lessons, caring about students' feedback and involving the students in the discussions of the lessons(table 2).

Totally, the comparison of the average scores of characteristic in both groups showed a meaningful difference in most of the characteristics(20cases of 34) especially in factors of the field of teaching skills.

 

Discussion and Conclusion

The purpose and conduct of this study has been comparing the characteristics of effective teaching from the viewpoint of students and instructors. In the present study from instructors' viewpoint the most important fields of effective teaching have been interpersonal relationship, teaching skills, personal characteristics, assessment skills and respecting education rules which matches Ramezani et al.'s (21) study results. Also in both studies the most important effective field in effective teaching from the viewpoint of instructors was teaching skills but in the priorities of other fields in both studies, the priorities were quite vice versa in a way that in the present study, interpersonal relationship, personal specifications, assessment skills, and respecting educational rules were in the next priorities. While in Ramezani's study; educational rules, assessment skills, personal traits, and interpersonal relationship were in the next priorities. In a study conducted in Ahwaz(31) the instructor's teaching method was prior to his behavior and manner with the students, also Ramezani (21) mentioned that in different studies conducted out of Iran ; interpersonal relationship had been mentioned as the most important factor of a good teacher which was in the second priority in our study.

The results of this study showed that there was a meaningful difference between the viewpoints of students and instructors in the average scores of all fields. In a similar study (21) there was such a difference in all fields except evaluation skills.

Educational term and students' ego were not significantly different from their  viewpoint toward effective teaching which was similar to Asgari et al.'s (18) study and Mazloomi et al.'s study (22) and in a study conducted in Tehran(3), the students' field of study  did not affect their viewpoint, which is similar t the present study.

In the present study similar to another study (18) there was not a meaningful relationship between gender and instructor's viewpoint in the field of personal characteristics and interpersonal relationship .A study showing the relationship between age, job record, and employment status of  the instructors with their  

Viewpoint was not available to the researchers but when each instructor's average score in each field was compared to the average score of all instructors in that field, as it was expected it was observed that the higher the age and job record of instructors form the total average and their employment status was permanent, their average score was more than the average score of all participants in the related field especially teaching skills.

Instructors and students had mentioned that personal characteristics, respectful tone and speech of the instructor and instructor's viewpoint toward the major were the most effective and instructor's university rank, strictness, and long teaching record were the least effective in effective teaching. Gourneau (29) states that Larson and Noddings had emphasized on the importance of the respectful and kind relationship between the teacher and learners and believed that all the programs of the school have to be based on this principle. Also Gurney(6) defines an effective teacher as someone who has a respectful relationship with the learners.

In Dargahi et al.'s study(3) strictness in managing the class, was the least important criteria of a skillful instructor in the field of general abilities of an instructor. Mozaffari (15) quoted Tavar as the students who get a low average score for some terms in a row consider teaching method of the instructor especially mastery over the lesson topic as the main reason. According to the present study and different studies conducted in different parts of the country such as Ardebil(15), Tehran(3), Kerman(21), Lorestan(12) it can be said that in all over the country in students' opinion mastery over the topic of the lesson is the most important characteristic of an effective teacher.

In the present study, students mentioned that the mastery of the instructor over the lesson topic and trying to make the lesson become comprehensible and answering students' questions affected effective learning the most in relation    

with teaching skills and asking students questions during the teaching process and using education-aid tools were the least effective, while from instructors' viewpoint ,although similar to students', using education-aid tools was of little importance but the presentation of lessons constantly and meaningfully and also involving the students in discussing the lessons were the most important factors of this field.

Gurney(6) believes that one of the first and most important characteristics of an effective instructor is mastery of  the topic. On the other hand, Sakraneh(13) mentioned that Satanovich and Jordan (1998) stated that the relatedness of the discussions to the discussed topics in the previous sessions was very important and in a study conducted in Gilan(18) preparation of the class for discussion and involving the students got the highest score in the field of teaching methodology. Unfortunately, Naderi et al. (32) in a study conducted in Bandar Abbas concluded that instructors mostly tended to teacher-centered methodologies and involving students in class discussions by the instructors was evaluated weak.

However, although using education-aid tools by instructors during the teaching process involves comprehension and visualization of students in education and stabilizes, deepens, and objectifies learning of the lessons(33) but according to the results of this study  from the students' viewpoint which is similar to Dargahi et al.'s study(3)education-aid tools got the lowest score in the characteristics of effective teaching.

It is not just enough to be motivated for instructors, but creating an effective and appropriate relationship causes motivation and educational improvement among students(18).The results of this study showed that in the field of interpersonal relationship, respecting students' ego and having a close relationship with them and from the viewpoint of instructors paying attention to students' feedback

got the highest score and both groups mentioned that availability of the instructor in after class hours had the least effect on effective teaching. Grant et al (26) stated that the positive and respectful relationship with the instructor was a factor of better absorption of training in students and also in Ramezani et al.'s study(21) it was introduced as a determining factor of the rate of students' involvement in class. Gurney et al. also mentioned that one of the characteristics of effective teachers was respecting students(13).

Hattie(1999) and Alton Lee (2003) in Sakarneh's study (13) mentioned that caring about learners' feedback which causes encouragement for getting involved in learning, was one of the most basic role of the instructor(6) which leads to improvement in learning and making sure of reaching the determined standards (33).In Ramezani et al.'s study (21) university instructors believed that the availability of  the instructor after class hours was of little importance .

The results of this study showed that the viewpoint of students and instructors in the field of evaluation skills, right judgment, and being moderate and fair had the most and taking a quiz or mid-term has the least effect on effective teaching. Ramezani et al. (21) mentioned that students of other countries believe that skill of fair and right judgment is the most important characteristic of an instructor. In Dargahi et al.'s study (3)in the field of post-teaching skills, taking a comprehensive and exact exam at the end of the term was of little importance.

Ramezani et al. (21) quoted Berlo as interest in respecting order and education rules was one of the most important factors of an instructor. In the present study, in the field of respecting education rules, instructor's punctuality had the most and respecting education rules and calling the roll had the least effect from the viewpoint of both groups. In Ramezani et al.'s study(21) calling the roll was the least important characteristic of the instructor. Although instructors mentioned that the least important characteristics of effective teaching were hidden in the

three factors introduced by the students but in expressing the most important factors they had a different opinion and mentioned meaningful and constant presentation of lesson topics, caring about the feedback of students and involving the students in lesson discussions.

 

Conclusion

According to the fact that learning takes place in the interaction of student and teacher (34) and the results of this study shows the difference in viewpoints of students and instructors, the following matters are suggested.

v  The present research studied the characteristics of effective teaching in five fields which had 34 factors from the viewpoint of participant instructors and students which is more comprehensive than the forms which are used in universities for the evaluation of instructors and this is one of the strong points of the present study which can be added to the evaluation forms of instructors in future.

v  For getting more applicable and deeper results in this field ,using qualitative research methods seem very appropriate which is in fact the main limitation of the present study.Low participation of instructors and students is another limitation of this study ,therefore these cases should be taken in to consideration more.

v  Holding workshops and appropriate and purposeful educational courses for improving teaching-learning process and familiarity of instructors with teaching skills and educational strategies based on research.

v  Developing communication skills of instructors and paying attention to the factors of this field in their selection, employment and evaluation.

v  On the other hand, by planning some forms appropriate with effective teaching characteristics and surveying the opinions of a limited number of students of each instructor, the strong and weak points of each one of the instructors can be determined and the omission of weak points and improvement of strong points can be planned.

v  Official people in charge should pay more attention to planning workshops of new methodologies of instructors and instructor selection should be done according to effective teaching criteria from the viewpoint of students.

 

Table 1: The comparison of the scores and standard deviation of students' and instructor's opinions in the studied fields

 

P

Instructors

Students

Standard Deviation

Mean

Standard Deviation

Mean

Interpersonal relationship

*0.018

0.37

2.61

0.35

2.49

Teaching skills

**0.000

0.23

2.73

0.32

2.42

Personality traits

**0.000

0.26

2.57

0.29

2.36

Assessment skills

**0.003

0.37

2.44

0.47

2.27

Respecting educational rules

*0.031

0.47

2.28

0.59

2.13

(*P<0.05 , **P<0.01)

 

  

Table 2: The comparison of scores and standard deviation of students' and teachers' opinions about the characteristics of an effective instructor

P

Students

Teachers

Characteristics

 

Mean

Standard Deviation

Mean

Standard Deviation

0.179

2.81

0.43

2.73

0.48

Having a respectful tone and speech

Personal traits

*0.012

2.84

0.41

2.68

0.55

Instructor's viewpoint toward major

0.057

2.71

0.57

2.57

0.59

Nice and tidy appearance

**0.002

2.79

0.54

2.55

0.54

Being logical

0.226

2.54

0.61

2.44

0.6

Having a sense of humor

**0.000

2.67

0.50

2.27

0.71

Religious Values

0.161

2.25

0.59

2.12

0.71

Long record of teaching

**0.000

2.31

0.61

1.97

0.64

Strictness

**0.003

2.22

0.62

1.93

0.75

Instructor's university rank

0.056

2.81

0.43

2.70

0.51

Respecting students' ego

Interpersonal relationship

0.986

2.56

0.63

2.56

0.53

Having a sincere relationship with the student

**0.000

2.91

0.28

2.51

0.57

Caring about student's feedback

*0.018

2.65

0.60

2.45

0.60

Leading student toward improving professional qualifications

0.766

2.26

0.70

2.24

0.63

Availability after class hours

0.353

2.82

0.52

2.76

0.48

Mastery of lesson topic

Teaching skills

0.296

2.66

0.51

2.58

0.59

Making an attempt to make the lesson comprehensible and answering students' questions

**0.000

2.84

0.37

2.52

0.56

Ability in making a relationship between lesson topics and future professional tasks of students

**0.000

2.97

0.24

2.50

0.60

Constant and meaningful presentation

*0.025

2.84

0.37

2.48

0.59

Using methodologies for developing creativity and critical thinking

**0.000

2.71

0.49

2.46

0.61

Having a lesson plan and expressing it for the students

**0.000

2.86

0.43

2.39

0.63

Creating motivation in students for doing research and studying

**0.000

2.67

0.53

2.39

0.64

Introducing the resources of teaching

*0.025

2.57

0.58

2.38

0.63

Using different educational methods for creating variety in  teaching

**0.000

2.90

0.35

2.27

0.63

Involving students in discussing lesson topics

0.409

2.26

0.58

2.19

0.64

Using education-aid tools

**0.000

2.67

0.50

2.09

0.77

Asking students questions during the process of teaching

**0.001

2.77

0.42

2.56

0.54

Correct judgment and being fair

Evaluation Skills

0.056

2.51

0.63

2.32

0.73

Holding a comprehensive and exact final exam

**0.000

2.46

0.53

2.11

0.76

Doing assessments at the beginning and end of each topic

0.750

2.07

0.57

2.10

0.75

Taking quizzes or mid-terms

**0.000

2.73

0.54

2.43

0.67

Punctuality

Respecting educational rules

**0.007

2.49

0.61

2.25

0.76

Starting and finishing at the right time

0.502

1.86

0.73

1.93

0.82

Calling the roll

0.153

2.04

0.58

1.92

0.78

Respecting educational rules

 (*P<0.05 , **P<0.01)

 

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