What kind of teachers do students want?

Students have different thinking styles. The way students think, perceive and remember information, or their preferred approach to using such information to solve problems can be different between students. Different models for learning styles are present. The mostly used is the learning style model by Kolb. Students have preferred learning styles as well as lecturers do. Mine is the analytic approach, but others prefer the learning style involving doing things with the material. Teachers are encouraged to make lectures appealing to all 4 learning styles.

Teacher characteristics have a strong impact on the thinking styles they use in teaching. But what about teachers personality traits. What preferences do students have for the personality of their teachers?

Students all over the world would like their teachers to be conscientious, open, stable, and agreeable. Large samples of students from Malaysia, United States and Britain participated. These traits sound familiar? They’re from the Big Five factors of personality.

Conscientiousness is associated with being orderly, clear, hardworking and objective; Openness with intelligence, liberalism and creativity; Agreeableness with being friendly, trusting and modest

Surprise, surprise, students prefer lecturers who are emotionally adjusted, clever, and hard-working, but also surprise that all samples scored relatively homogeneous. Most lecturers are primarily recruited based on their ability to conduct research which is mostly an introverted activity.

Teachers probably also want students to be extravert’s and conscientious the same as these students want their teachers to be. This study didn’t focus on the students’ personalities.

Should we use these findings for the selection of lecturers? We probably won’t have enough lecturers and all university lecturers have other tasks to fulfil besides lecturing such as patient care, research, administration. Moreover, in our med school teaching is not appreciated as much as research. What do you think?

SWAMI, V., FURNHAM, A., MAAKIP, I., AHMAD, S., HUDANI, N., VOO, P., CHRISTOPHER, A., & GARWOOD, J. (2007). A cross-cultural investigation of students’ preferences for lecturers’ personalities in Britain, Malaysia and the United States Learning and Individual Differences, 17 (4), 307-315 DOI: 10.1016/j.lindif.2007.03.006