Reconceptualization of teacher effectiveness

Kwok Tung TSUI, Yin Cheong CHENG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This paper aims to examine and clarify the meaning, nature and structure of teacher effectiveness. The concept of teacher effectiveness is analyzed and a framework for studying and improving teacher effectiveness is developed. Traditional studies on teachers’ effectiveness have put their focus on teachers’ classroom performance. And the term ‘teacher effectiveness’ is commonly used to refer tot eh amount of progress the pupils make toward some specified goal of education or simply measured by the students’ performance. The results of these studies suggest that changing individual teacher’s behavior in individual classrooms could lead to the improvement of individual teacher’s performance in the classroom and finally the performance of individual teacher’s performance in the classroom and finally the performance of pupils. In order to improve the performance of teachers in the last two decades, teacher training institutions and schools have designed and implemented a great number of innovations in teaching techniques, methodologies and supervision. Although huge amounts of resources have been invested, the performance of our teachers on the whole has not been improved. In contrast, the performance of pupils on the whole is declining at a significant rate. Recent conceptions of teacher effectiveness, identify many factors such as teacher competence, external and internal teaching environment as related or contributive to teacher effectiveness (Medley, 1982, Cheng, 1991). On the other hand, individual teacher’s beliefs and states of professional development would affect teacher behavior and performance. Therefore, we suggest that teacher effectiveness should be a multi-domain, long term, developmental, and dynamic state of teacher performance. The understanding of teacher effectiveness should not be limited to the traditional teacher evaluation. The matrix conception of school process proposed by Cheng (1994) may be a useful framework for exploring the scope and process of improving teacher effectiveness. By extending Cheng’s conception, we can study teacher effectiveness at two different levels. First, at the individual level, teacher effectiveness could mean individual teacher’s performance and development. Second, at the group or school level, teacher effectiveness should be the collective behavior and performance of that group of teachers and should reflect the effectiveness of the school on the whole. Therefore, the strategy or focus of prompting teacher effectiveness should be extended from individual teacher improvement to the whole school (staff) improvement. On the other hand, teacher effectiveness improvement program should not only be limited to teacher behavior. New concept of teacher effectiveness should include the change and development of all teachers in their cognitive, affective, and behavioral domains. In this paper, we propose that traditional teacher appraisal and evaluation, staff development programs, and school management change should be restructured and related to the improvement of teacher effectiveness. Short term, long term and dynamic strategies for improving teacher effectiveness are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1995


Tsui, K. T., & Cheng, Y. C. (1995, November). Reconceptualization of teacher effectiveness. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association 12th Annual Conference: Rethinking Education: Reflective Practice, Professionalism and Postmodernization, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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