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Innovations in Education

A good teacher gets close to his or her students

A study by Pearson surveys a range of groups to identify the most important qualities for a teacher

by Marina Lopes 04/20/2016

What are the main qualities that define a good teacher? According to a study produced by the British publishing group Pearson, socioemotional skills count for more than content based or teaching skills. After listening to family members, students, educators, administrators, researchers and Brazilian political representatives, the survey found that characteristics such as relationship, professionalism, patience and dedication are top of the list.

Taking place between March and November 2015, the Global Survey of Teacher Effectiveness surveyed 23 countries to identify the key characteristics of a good teacher. In Brazil, which had similar results to other developing countries, such as Mexico, India and South Africa, more than 500 people were interviewed in the cities of Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo.

For Brazilian students, patience is the main quality of a good teacher (13%). Next come characteristics such as relationship (12.8%), professionalism (11.4%) and teaching skills (7.3%). For school administrators, teaching skills come first (11.4%).

Parents had a very similar perception to students, highlighting qualities such as professionalism (14.2%), relationship (13.2%) and patience (11.8%). In the same manner, teachers highlighted dedication (9.8%) as a key feature, as well as those already mentioned by parents and students.

A number of characteristics were repeated among the top four factors of different respondents, albeit in different orders. However, researchers and political representatives also highlighted the importance of classroom management (8.4%). This was the fourth most important characteristic for this group, behind only relationship (12.2%), patience (12.2%) and commitment (10.7%), respectively.

The study provides some important reflections on the Brazilian educational reality, such as the need to develop the social-emotional intelligence of teachers to allow the building of trust in relationships. In terms of teacher training, the results also suggest that educators should be trained to develop leadership and collaborative skills.

Translated by James Young


in-service teacher training, pearson, Pre-service teacher training, social and emotional learning