An investigation into the concept of a 'good' teacher - based on the views of students and lecturers at a University Business School.

William Fisher  University of Hertfordshire, UK

The objective of the current research is to consider the concept of a 'good' teacher. The focus of the research is based on the views of students and lecturers at a University Business School.

The research has demonstrated that there is no precise definition of good teaching. In fact, any review of the literature will demonstrate that teaching is a multidimensional concept. Any consideration of a 'good' teacher is not only linked to teaching but also to learning, learning styles, assessment, and evaluation. There are many models of teaching and learning and numerous attempts had been made to identifying the dimensions of good teaching. This has led to a number of theories being purported and numerous suggestions for practical applications. Whether such guidance can be applied to every set of undergraduate students in every educational institution must surely be debatable, given the culture, academic achievement, subject studied, and mix of students.

Primary research has been and is continuing to be gathered through the use of a questionnaire methodology. In designing the questionnaire, focus groups of final year auditing students were used in order to tailor the questions to the relevant population. The questionnaire attempts to collect data on the concept of the 'good' teacher as well as the dimensions and characteristics of teaching. It also considered the perceptions relating to research and teaching in higher education. An initial sample of 196 was
taken from a University Business School to compare the views of students with each other and with the views of lecturers.  In particular first year undergraduates were compared to final year undergraduates to ascertain differences in views and possible changes that may occur over time.  Lecturers were compared to all students and also separately to first year and final year students to discover whether significant differences in views exist. Both category analysis and statistical analysis were then used to identify and explain any differences found.

The conclusion to the initial research highlights the major differences found in the views of the respective groups. The full results of the initial analysis have led to over 60 significant (at the 95% level) or very significant results (at the 99% level). The interpretation of the results leads to an awareness of the differences in perception of the three groups being analysed.

The concepts of the 'na´ve learner' and the 'developed learner' came from the research and this in turn led to the development of the learning continuum model referred to as the 'ND Learning Continuum'. Basically, this model demonstrates that over time students will place less reliance on the lecturer and also become more responsible for their own learning. Where students are initially placed on the continuum will depend on their previous exposure to education as well as the success of their own individual learning styles.

The aim of the presentation at conference will be to initially outline the research [using an OHP] and then to discuss the model known as the 'ND Learning Continuum'.

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