University instructors (n=63) from a small, rural university completed the Big Five Personality Test and agreed to provide archival data of student evaluations from the previous two years,
Scores obtained from the Big Five Personality Test were compared using multiple regression analysis to determine the relationship between each of the five factors of student ratings of instructional quality.
The results indicated that of the five personality characteristics assessed, agreeableness was the only factor that significantly correlated with student ratings of instructional quality.
Although only one personality factor significantly correlated with instructional evaluations, the results suggest that a teacher's personality may have an impact on student perception and the subsequent cycle of interaction between the student and the instructor.
Developing an educational environment that is conducive to optimal student learning is a continual challenge in the field of Higher Education. One essential component of addressing this challenge has been the role and function of the instructor in the classroom, especially as it relates to the concept of teacher expectancy. Research summarized in Jussim and Eccles (1992), Brophy (1983), and Good (1981) suggest that instructional expectations can have a significant impact on both the quantity and quality of a student's learning experience. Numerous studies have been conducted to examine the effects of teachers' perceptions of students and their performance in the classroom (Kuklinski & Weinstein, 2001; Alvidrez & Weinstein, 1999).
Characteristics such as physical attractiveness, SES, and family size have been positively correlated with higher ratings from teachers (Lemer, Delaney, Hess, Jovanovic, &von Eye, 1990). In addition, research has indicated that teachers respond more favorably towards students who are more relaxed and comfortable while interacting with the instructor (Toumaki, 2003). This raises the issue of whether or not the instructor's personality may have an effect on how the student responds to the professor and how this would create a reciprocal interaction that would affect the student's perception of the instructor.
The focus of the majority of this research about the impact of teacher expectancy has been limited primarily to the observable behaviors and various pedagogues employed by the instructor. Although there has been some research (Kegel-Flom, 1983; Silva et al, 2008) that investigates the impact of an instructor's personality on quality of instruction, further research is needed to explore the causal relationship of these factors to the student's learning experience. The current study examines the effects of teacher personality characteristics on students' perception. Specifically, it hypothesizes that certain teacher personality traits such as agreeableness and extraversion will be positively correlated with higher student evaluations of instructors.
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The sample for this study consisted of sixty-three (63) participants. Each participant was a faculty member of a southern rural state university, with 58.7% female and 41.3% percent male. The ethnicity of the sample was 6.3% African...