Student teachers' perceptions of an effective primary school teacher

Kam Wing Paul CHAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The study on effective teachers has been conducted as early as 1890. At that time effective teachers were rated against their personality traits by their superiors. Research done along this line gave discouraging result as the personality traits of an effective teacher were not consistently tied to the rating levels (Barr, 1961 ; Darling- Hammond, 1988). Research focusing on the relationship between teacher behaviour and student learning began to be dominant since the 1960's. Effective teachers were then defined according to their ability to help students gain in their achievement. Lo and Siu (1987) suggest that different people such as principals, teachers, students and parents have different perceptions of an effective secondary school teacher. This paper attempts to investigate the perceptions of student teachers on the characteristics of an effective primary school teacher. The sample subjects consisted of 66 student teachers selected from the Hong Kong Institute of Education. The method of collecting information was by conducting a survey in which all the sampled student teachers were administered to a questionnaire to find out their perceptions of an effective primary school teacher. Four respondents were further asked for interview to look into the reason why they had such perceptions. Frequency counts from the questionnaires revealed that 'possesses a sense of responsibility' ranked top among the ten most essential characteristics selected by the respondents. The findings also showed that an effective primary school teacher should have good personal quality as well as professional skills and abilities. Result of the interview reflected that the respondents' former teachers, their teaching experience, and the Institute in which they were studying were the main factors affecting their perceptions. The implications for teacher education of these findings were finally discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1996


Chan, K. W. (1996, November). Student teachers' perceptions of an effective primary school teacher. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 13th Annual Conference: Restructuring Schools in Changing Societies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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