1 Baltic Defence College (ESTONIA)
2 University of Tartu (ESTONIA)
3 Auburn University (UNITED STATES)
4 University of South Florida (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 6736-6744
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.1588
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Prior learning experience plays a crucial role in shaping learners’ perceptions of learning, thus creating a more or less favourable view on continuing their learning. It has also been shown that teacher attitudes and approaches to teaching have a major influence on students’ learning experiences. There has been little research on perceptions of teaching and learning in the context of professional military education in the Baltic region. Some research has been conducted on student perceptions of learning and teaching in Estonia, but to date, no substantive research has been done to examine teachers’ perceptions of excellent teaching. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) faculty perceptions of characteristics and behaviours of excellent teachers. This study identifies perceptions of the BALTDEFCOL faculty on what constitutes excellence in teaching using the Teacher Behavior Checklist [1] and the reasoning behind the chosen characteristics and behaviours. The faculty sample consisted of 32 participants. The youngest participant was 29 years old and the oldest 59. Faculty were asked to choose and rank order the top 10 of 28 teacher qualities of excellent teaching described in the checklist (TBC). The data collected with TBC were rank ordered based on their means. In the second stage of data collection, a convenience sample of faculty (6 participants) was asked to describe in writing their reasons for selecting those ten behaviours and qualities. Qualitative data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. A second researcher was brought in to review the themes to verify if there was an agreement between the researchers about the themes assigned. Results showed that BALTDEFCOL faculty mostly agreed on the 10 most important teacher qualities: promotes critical thinking/intellectually stimulating (75% responses), knowledgeable about subject matter (63% responses), creative and interesting, enthusiastic about teaching and about topic, provide constructive feedback, respectful, promotes class discussion, approachable/personable, confident, effective communicator, prepared, strives to be a better teacher (the three last ones on the list received have the same score). Analysing the reasoning behind the chosen characteristics, the responses could be grouped into three major themes: 1) knowledgeable about subject matter, combined with ‛Strives to be a better teacher’. 2) presentation of subject, combining everything related to communication (‛Confident’, ‛Effective Communicator’, ‛Enthusiastic About Teaching and About Topic’), 3) characteristics associated with Partnership with students (‛Promotes Critical Thinking/Intellectually Stimulating’, ‛Promotes Class Discussion’, ‛Provides Constructive Feedback’, ‛Prepared’). This study provides a contribution to the literature on perceived qualities of excellent teaching of faculty in the context of a professional military education.

[1] Buskist, W., Sikorski, J., Buckley, T., & Saville, B. K. (2002). Elements of master teaching. The teaching of psychology: Essays in honour of Wilbert J. McKeachie and Charles L. Brewer, 1, 27-39.
University teachers’ perceptions, excellent teaching, Teacher Behavior Checklist, military educators.