Paul Crowhurst
The interpersonal qualities of teachers: a foundation for effective practice.

Author: Paul Crowhurst, Chinese International School.

Title: “The interpersonal qualities of teachers: a foundation for effective practice”

pcrowhurst@cis.edu.hk

Abstract
Effective educators are continually searching for initiatives that raise achievement and promote holistic development. Even without knowledge of empirical research, most parents and students intuitively know that the quality of teaching is determined by the type of person the teacher is. Certain theorists have outlined the interpersonal connection between teachers and their students as one perspective on what constitutes effective practice. A quality personal connection between teacher and student can enhance the agency of students by defining the social and emotional climate in classrooms. Developing a classroom free from inhibiting psychological structure leads to students having freedom to explore their creative capacities, acting as empowered learners. The key research question was – how do the personal qualities of teachers impact the quality of learners’ classroom experience? The value of interpersonal dynamics in the classroom was popularized during the humanistic movement within education. This research is a historical literature review and an exploration of the writings of humanistic educators. Key theorists from the humanistic education movement were identified, their writings examined, and key findings unpacked and explored. This exploration is seen to be of value because it revisits a significant psychological force in education and its implications for practice. Humanistic education emphasized the importance of affective development, which is seen to be facilitated through personal interaction between individuals. This vital dynamic between teachers and students is considered by some theorists as the major determiner of change in learners. Teachers who displayed certain personal attributes such as realness, acceptance, and empathy are more likely to promote growth in their students. Therefore, developing and maintaining these attributes in teachers is vital. The teacher’s ability to display these is governed by their belief system as well as wider cultural forces. These dynamics are explored; taking into consideration measures that educators can take, such as, feeding one’s own capacity to create. Further actions an effective person in the classroom might take are put forward. Educators at various levels of the system should consider the implications for classroom teaching.

 
The DARE Collaborative is a research partnership focused on the digital arts in education, led by the UCL Institute of Education and the British Film Institute. It has a membership of university researchers, teachers and educators in cultural organisations with an interest in arts, media, culture and new literacies in the context of education and digital media.
Centro en Investigación Avanzada en Educación