Teacher Effectiveness Examined as a System: Interpretive Structural Modeling and Facilitation Sessions with U.S. and Japanese Students

  •  Alexia Georgakopoulos    


This study challenges narrow definitions of teacher effectiveness and uses a systems approach to investigate teacher effectiveness as a multi-dimensional, holistic phenomenon. The methods of Nominal Group Technique and Interpretive Structural Modeling were used to assist U.S. and Japanese students separately construct influence structures during facilitation sessions. The influence structures represent maps for understanding teacher effectiveness as a system. The influence maps indicate that there are a number of teacher behaviors and characteristics that promote, support and influence one another within the overall system; however, the plurality of teacher elements, which are structured with priority, concerns teacher knowledge characteristics and verbal teacher immediacy behaviors for both cultural groups. The findings of the study were explored from thematic perspectives in intercultural communication such as power distance, identity and contact orientation. Given the qualitative nature of the study, participants’ own theories-in-use were important in the study. Also, Confucianism principles were significant in the Japanese assessment of teacher effectiveness. The study has implications for professors across fields since the majority of professors are educators who have not been formally trained in the education field. The study points to the importance of ongoing faculty development in teacher effectiveness.

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