Academic journal article College Student Journal

Professors' Irritating Behavior Study

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Professors' Irritating Behavior Study

Article excerpt

Would some power the Giftee g'ie us To see ourselves as others see us.

Robert Burns

The Research Question

What behaviors of professors do students experience as irritating. A study conducted at Le Moyne College in the spring semester of 2005.

Statement of the Research Question

The purpose of this study was to quantify the irritating behaviors of professors as experienced and reported by 232 Le Moyne College students. In this study, irritating behavior was understood as "actions that vex, annoy, bother, pester, frustrate, or provoke anger."

Rationale for the Research

The value of this study was that the accomplishment of the research question would contribute to teaching effectiveness and teacher education. Teaching and learning involve a collaborative effort by teachers and students. "The core of good teaching is that you, the teacher, should get involved with students in a good, warm, friendly, supportive relationship where both people feel it's worth while to be together" (Glasser, 2005). Behaviors of one party that irritate the other can be deleterious to the teacher-student working relationship. The identification and reporting of professors' behaviors that students experience as irritating could have the positive effect of reducing the occurrence of these behaviors and improving the effectiveness of instruction.


Description of the Sample

The sample consisted of 232 Le Moyne College students (n = 232) taking education courses in the spring semester of 2005. There were 115 graduate and 117 undergraduate students in the sample. Seven graduate and eight undergraduate classes participated in this study.


The survey used in this study was developed by Larry M. Ludewig, Ph.D., Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas. In the summer of 1992 Ludewig developed this instrument for his study: Student Perceptions of Antithetical Instructor Behaviors (Vogt, 1994).

Being satisfied with Ludewig's survey and desirous of comparing the results of my study with his, I acquired his permission to use his survey in my investigation. Ludewig's survey consists of 76 items subdivided into five categories: (1) lecture style, (2) assignments, (3) testing, (4) general policies, and (5) personal mannerisms / habits / attitudes / other.

Data Collection and Organization

The cooperation of nine Education Department colleagues enabled me to gather data from 232 students. The administration of the survey occurred in the students' respective classes. They were instructed to read the list of 76 antithetical behaviors and consider college instructors and situations they had personally encountered. The students were further instructed to identify the ten most irritating behaviors without prioritizing their selections. The students were given the opportunity to indicate behaviors not included among the 76 items provided. The accumulated data was organized according to the total number and percentage of participating students who selected each item.


Of the 76 survey items, 25 were selected by 37 (15%) or more of the participants. Listed below are the 25 most frequently selected irritating behaviors.

1. Require a textbook and fail to use it. (47%)

2. Assign work as though their class is the only one or the most important one. (38%)

3. Continue lecturing after the class is supposed to end. (37%)

4. Makes students feel inferior when they ask a question. (37%)

5. Are not specific on what the test will cover. (32%)

6. Give tests that don't correspond to lectures. (31%)

7. Make students stay the whole class period unnecessarily (even create "busy" work to keep students occupied the entire period). (28%)

8. Don't speak English adequately. (26%)

9. …

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