A Qualitative Investigation Into Critical Incidents Involving Effective and Ineffective Teaching Behaviours and Their Effects on a Child Development

Topics: Psychology, Qualitative research, Developmental psychology Pages: 13 (3145 words) Published: April 29, 2013
A qualitative investigation into critical incidents involving effective and ineffective teaching behaviors and their effects on a child development


The rationale of the study is to investigate the usefulness of qualitative research in providing practical knowledge of environmental and social approaches within developmental psychology. The Critical Incident Technique (CIT) developed by Flanagan (1954) was used to investigate what the participants considered effective and ineffective teaching behavior, and its effect on their learning/development. 26 students acted as participants, and were given 2 CITs, one to report an example of effective teaching behaviour and the other to report an example of ineffective teaching behavior form either primary or secondary school. The researchers devised and defined 4 effective behavioral categories; (Accommodating, Empathetic, Encouraging, and Understanding), and 5 ineffective behavioural categories; (Apathetic, Authoritarian, Belittling, Exclusion, Unreliable). Each critical incident was independently labelled by the researcher using one of these behavioural categories, based on how the teacher responded during the critical incident. Researchers then compared their findings and calculated the inter-rater reliability as; 65.5. This is a substantial level of agreement according to the Landis and Koch-Kappa Benchmark Scale (1977) or a moderate result using Altman’s Kappa Benchmark Scale (1991). The results also show that the Encouraging, Belittling category was considered the most effective and ineffective teaching behaviour by more of the participants than any other group. The study overall shows the wealth of information that can be achieved using qualitative research and its importance when entering a new area of study.


A child development is vital but large area of study within psychology. There are a great deal of factors that can influence a child during variace point in their devolopment. Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) bio-ecological model consists of three layers of external stimulai that can impact a child. The outer layer, the macrosystem, consists of the child’s culture, class, customs and the laws in which are raised, placing them in a larger social group. The middle layer, the exosystem, consists of neighbours, extended familly and media, this layer is seen to have an indirect influence on the child’s development. The inner layer, the mesosystem, is considered to have have the largest influence on the child’s development as it lies around of the microsystem, the child. The mesosystem contains family, school and peers. Teachers are therefore seen to have a profound influence on a child’s development and their behaviour during a critical incident can have long term effects. The study will investigate the relationship between teacher behaviour and the impact it has on the student. The litiriture above suggests that the best way to investigate the is to use the Critical Incident Technique.

The CIT was designed by Flanagan (1954) and follows the five steps he developed. First the researchers decide upon the behaviour to obsereved; in this case it is the teacher’s behaviour. Then the researchers must design a way to collect sifficient data about these behaviours. Next the researchers must collect the data from the students, and they must analyse it appropriately. Finally, the researchers interprate and report their findings.

Metcalfe and Matharu (1995) found three overall categories of teacher behaviour which could have an impact effect on a child’s development; interpersonal behaviour of teachers; planning and preparation; and the ability to run the session well. They did this by conducting an experiment using the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) on positive and negative teaching behaviours. Three independent researchers categorised the data. Arnon & Reichel (2007) found similar results in that Empathy, Attentiveness and Leadership effected a...
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