Similar personalities lead to poor judgement

When a teacher has a similar personality to a student, it can bias the teacher’s judgement; that’s the finding of a recent study in Germany.

The researchers looked at 94 teachers and 293 of their students, all of whom were in Grade 8 (Year 9). Teachers and students undertook a personality survey, and researchers compared the performance of the students on maths and reading comprehension tests. Teachers were also asked how well they thought the children would do in the test generally (a global judgement) and on specific questions (a task-specific judgement).

The results showed that when teachers and students had a similar personality, the teacher tended to give the student a higher rating on the global judgement. However, the similarity had little impact on the teacher’s task-specific judgement. The researchers suggest that, when considering a global judgement, teachers do not consider the specifics of how the individual student might approach a test and instead fall back on more subjective opinion.

Source: Personality similarity between teachers and their students influences teacher judgement of student achievement (2015), Educational Psychology.

Programme considering personality traits shows positive results

A recent study published in School Psychology Review investigated the effects of the programme INSIGHTS into Children’s Temperament on the critical thinking, maths, and reading skills of 5- to 7-year-old children compared to a control group of children assigned to a supplemental after-school reading programme. The goal of the INSIGHTS programme is to train teachers and parents to recognise children’s personality types and adjust the learning environment as needed.

While all children in the INSIGHTS programme demonstrated gains, the greatest gains were made in groups of children classified as shy. The study followed 350 kindergarten (Year 1) pupils in 22 urban low-income schools in the US during kindergarten and into first grade (Year 2). Children whose teachers and parents were involved in the INSIGHTS group demonstrated greater gains in critical thinking than control children, and did not lose maths skills during the summertime as the control children did. Reading skills were comparable for both groups.

Shy children can be overlooked in the classroom and INSIGHTS provides strategies to help children who are shy to reach their potential. You can read more about the INSIGHTS programme in the next issue of Better: Evidence-based Education, which will be published soon.

Source: Enhancing Academic Development of Shy Children: A Test of the Efficacy of INSIGHTS, School Psychology Review, 43(3).