The Characteristics of a Model Technology Education Teacher: The Mark Left on a Student by a Teacher, for Good or Bad, Is Written in an Ink That Will Last a Lifetime
Kaufman, Andre R., Warner, Scott A., Buechele, Jessica R., Technology and Engineering Teacher
In a feature Newsweek article entitled The Key to Saving American Education, Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert (2010, March 15) asserted that,
... in recent years researchers have discovered something that may seem obvious, but for many reasons was overlooked or denied. What really makes a difference, what matters more than the class size or the textbook, the teaching method or the technology, or even the curriculum, is the quality of the teacher (p.25).
The things that make the quality of a teacher stand out can cover a wide range of characteristics, actions, words, and experiences. The mark left on a student by a teacher, for good or bad, is written in an ink that will last a lifetime. Later in that same article by Thomas and Wingert, the authors elaborated on the indelible mark left by teachers on their students by quoting Kati Haycock of the Education Trust, who said,
The research shows that kids who have two, three, four strong teachers in a row will eventually excel, no matter what their background, while kids who have even two weak teachers in a row will never recover (p.25).
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Identifying the characteristics of exceptional technology education teachers was the crux of the study that will be described in this article. The origins of this study came about in 2007 when the Board of Directors of the International Technology Education Association (now known as the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, ITEEA) established a task force to identify the characteristics of a model technology education teacher. The authors of this article organized and conducted the study that followed. As the final responsibility assigned to this task force, this article provides the members of the profession with a summary of our research findings.
Dynamics of the Research
According to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education's Glossary (NCATE, 2010), a teacher's dispositions are his or her:
Professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and nonverbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities. These positive behaviors support student learning and development (Professional Disposition).
A teacher's dispositions can greatly affect his or her professional and instructional success. As a result, this study is relevant for teachers at all stages of their careers. In the final sections of this article, preservice educators, practicing professionals, and technology teacher educators are provided with a list of dispositions that are the hallmark of ideal technology educators. The list of dispositions was developed by identifying the reoccurring traits found in the technology educators who participated in this study.
The primary framework of the research was based on Ken Bain's book, What the Best College Teachers Do (2004). Bain's study utilized interviews and observations to assess the characteristics of outstanding college-level teachers. For this research we applied his methods to studying middle school and high school teachers in the field of technology education. Each of the research subjects participated in an interview that used a common set of questions. The participating teachers also mailed packets of requested materials to us, which provided documentation of their personal work and the work of their students. These packets also contained electronic recordings of the participants teaching a lesson. These methods of research and documentation provided us with the tools by which we gathered evidence of the common characteristics of these teachers.
Looking at the Literature
Previous studies have attempted to discern the model characteristics of teachers in all subject areas including technology education (Bain, 2004; Bell & Gilberti, 1994; Gemmill, 1997; Gibboney & Webb, 1998). …