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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Fred Muskal

First Committee Member

Stephen Davis

Second Committee Member

Phyllis Hensley

Third Committee Member

Katey Talbot


The purpose of this research was to describe a set of teacher characteristics that are perceived by high school students as good teaching practices. It also determined how both alternative, or at-risk, high school students and traditional high school students ranked those good teaching practices. The research involved a pilot study in which students from an alternative and a traditional high school wrote an essay on what they think ‘makes a good teacher.’ From the list of characteristics, a “Survey of Good Teaching Practices” was developed. This survey was then given to alternative and traditional high school students to determine their rankings of good teaching practices. The findings of the study indicate that students are looking for characteristics in teachers that fall into four categories: instructional skills and strategies, individualized assistance, interpersonal skills and student-teacher relationships. The majority of those top ten characteristics that students look for in a ‘good teacher’ relate to interpersonal skills and student-teacher relationships. Students want to be treated equally, they want their teachers to listen to their opinions and ideas and they want to be known by name. Students want their teachers to try hard to help them be successful and they want learning to be fun. They don't want teachers to put students down; they want respect. They want teachers to make sure every student understands what is being taught and they want them to know the subject matter. They want teachers with a positive attitude. They want teachers to explain things well and make it interesting. They want teachers to believe in all students, no matter what kind of grades they get. They don't want teachers to talk down to students. They want teachers who are honest. The study provides insight into the opinions of the stakeholders in their educational process. Through this study, students have been given a voice in what works best for them. Recommendations for how to use this information to improve services to students are also provided.




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