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Personality Characteristics of 2009 National Teacher of the Year Candidates

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: P. Ryan Fenderson
Abstract:
Some studies have suggested that the personality characteristics of teachers impact early career success, interpersonal skills, relationships, and length of tenure; however, the personality assessment used in these studies has been criticized for its rigid types and unclear language. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative case study was to determine what common personality characteristics existed among highly effective teachers when assessed within the conceptual framework of the Big Five model of personality and its simpler terminology. Participants completed the NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), a recurring language-driven personality test with established reliability and validity, to determine a descriptive personality profile of teachers judged to be superior by their peers. Accordingly, the sample of highly effective teachers included 17 of the 56 National Teacher of the Year candidates for 2009. Compared against the NEO-FFI normative data, participants demonstrated very high Extroversion, high Agreeableness, high Conscientiousness, average Openness and low Neuroticism. This profile remained stable when compared across elementary/secondary teaching environments and years of experience as a teacher. These results present a personality profile of effective teachers and their propensity to demonstrate individual characteristics without defining them by type. Thus, the study can contribute to positive social change by informing curriculum within teacher education programs and in-service training opportunities to model and encourage classroom teaching behaviors which have been demonstrated to be related to truly effective teachers.

i Table of Contents List of Figures ...................................................................................................................... iv Section 1: Introduction to Study ...........................................................................................1 Statement of the Problem ................................................................................................2 Nature of the Study .........................................................................................................2 Research Question ....................................................................................................3 Purpose of the Study .......................................................................................................3 Theoretical Basis .............................................................................................................4 Definition of Terms.........................................................................................................5 Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations .................................................................5 Significance of the Study ................................................................................................6 Summary .........................................................................................................................8 Section 2: Review of Literature ............................................................................................9 History of Personality Psychology..................................................................................9 Five Factor Model ..........................................................................................................11 Big Five as a Predictor ...................................................................................................13 Effective Teaching .........................................................................................................14 Effective Teacher Personality ..................................................................................15 Effective Classroom Skills .......................................................................................21 Teacher-student Relationship...................................................................................22 Summary and Conclusion ..............................................................................................23

ii Section 3: Design and Methodology ....................................................................................24 Research Design.............................................................................................................24 Setting and Sample ........................................................................................................25 Instrumentation ..............................................................................................................26 Data Collection and Analysis.........................................................................................27 Participant Rights ...........................................................................................................29 Summary ........................................................................................................................29 Section 4: Results of the Study ............................................................................................31 Research Tools ...............................................................................................................31 Procedure .......................................................................................................................31 Data Analysis .................................................................................................................32 Group Descriptive Statistics ....................................................................................32 Demographic Statistics ............................................................................................34 Differences in Length of Tenure ..............................................................................37 Summary and Conclusion ..............................................................................................38 Section 5: Discussion and Recommendations .....................................................................40 Interpretation of Findings ..............................................................................................41 Demographic Variables ...........................................................................................44 Implications for Social Change ......................................................................................46 Recommendations for Action ........................................................................................48 Recommendations for Further Study .............................................................................49 Final Comments .............................................................................................................50

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References ............................................................................................................................51 Appendix A: Confidentiality Agreement .............................................................................61 Appendix B: Consent Form .................................................................................................62 Curriculum Vitae .................................................................................................................64

iv List of Figures Figure 1: T Scores in Five Factors of Personality for Group ...............................................33 Figure 2: T Scores in Five Factors of Personality by Gender ..............................................35 Figure 3: T Scores in Five Factors of Personality by Grade Level Taught ..........................36 Figure 4: T Scores in Five Factors of Personality by Length of Tenure ..............................38

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Section 1: Introduction to Study According to Helterbran (2007), future experiences and accomplishments of students are tied very strongly to education received during youth. Too few students have teachers who command respect due to their knowledge of subject matter and ability to adequately convey meaning and purpose. Truly effective teachers present material with appropriate methodology while utilizing their unique personalities to deliver meaning, usefulness, and thirst for more knowledge. Conversely, ineffective teachers have more incidents of disruption, weak questioning strategies, and little differentiated practice in the classroom. As such, students suffer the effects of these differences in personality and approach (Stronge, Ward, Tucker, & Hindman, 2007). Clearer understanding of personality characteristics of the highly effective teacher could allow more educators to implement behaviors that may not be natural within their characteristic makeup but could allow for less disruption and more effective teaching. Current research regarding effective teachers, personality, and their contribution to the classroom and workplace is presented in a literature review in section 2 of this study. History of personality traits and their uses is disseminated with special consideration given to career prediction and success. Understanding effective teachers and their personality characteristics provides opportunity for improvements in recruiting, training, and retaining quality classroom instructors. As highly effective teachers inspire greater learning among their students, deeper understanding of potential commonalities can lead to more teachers’ aspiring toward high effectiveness. Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Openness, and Extroversion are the characteristics which

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makeup the Big Five, also known as the five-factor model (Costa & McCrae, 1989; McCrae & Costa, 1987). These five personality characteristics were examined to determine any overall commonalities in the research population. Because women have comprised the majority of educators (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003), demographic information regarding race, gender, length of tenure, and grade level taught were also examined for significant commonalities. Statement of the Problem Few researchers have examined personality profiles and common characteristics of highly effective teachers. According to Delpit (2006), teacher personality, not skill set, may be the greatest contributing factor to the degree of success in classroom instruction. Similarly, Rode, Arthaud-Day, Mooney, Near, and Baldwin (2008) demonstrated personality to be most critical in determining early career success and retention. Students see multiple teachers during their school years, and if few teachers are exceptional, learners will not experience the most beneficial opportunities for growth and improvement. Sanders and Horn (2008) indicated classroom teachers are the most important determining factor of a student’s academic success, and highly effective teachers can do little to repair damage done by prior ineffective teachers. Nature of the Study This quantitative, cross-sectional study investigated relationships between candidates for 2009 National Teacher of the Year and common personality characteristics. This group was comprised of one teacher from each of the 50 states as well as one each from American Samoa, Department of Defense, District of Columbia,

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Guam, Northern Marianna Islands, and Virgin Islands. The sample completed the NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), the results of which were comparatively examined to determine personality characteristics in the areas of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. The NEO-FFI is an updated version of the Neuroticism-Extroversion-Openness Personality Inventory (NEO-I) which measured personality in only three domains. Results were compiled and examined for mean, median, mode, and standard deviation. This approach allowed for an overview of their personality while enabling generalizations of character structure in these highly effective teachers. Research Question The research question for this study was the following: What personality characteristics were shared by some candidates for 2009 National Teacher of the Year? Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to determine significantly similar personality characteristics among the 2009 National Teacher of the Year candidates. The study sample self-administered surveys to determine their personality profile in relation to the Big Five or five factor model (Costa & McCrae, 1989; McCrae & Costa, 1987). Deeper understanding of the highly effective teacher allows educators to focus efforts on personality development as it may increase the quality of classroom education. Categorization of these dominant characteristics allows personality to become a contributing factor in the process whereby teachers are recruited, trained, and retained.

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Theoretical Basis This study drew its framework from the five factor model of personality. The five factors of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism were first mentioned publicly by Thurstone (1933). Tupes and Christal (1961) and Norman (1963) subsequently found five recurring factors in language-driven studies. Results of these language-driven studies later developed into what is now titled Big Five through work of Goldberg and Saucier (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001) and McCrae and John (1992). Lewis and Goldberg (1998) furthered their findings through more recent analysis of language which provided strong support for the five factors in common vernacular. This study’s framework focused on theories that suggest deeper understanding of teacher personality can improve classroom teaching ability. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has guided the few studies (Myers & McCaulley, 1985; Reid, 1999; Rushton, Knopp, & Smith, 2006) which have examined personality’s role in highly effective teaching. For this study, the framework focused on simpler terminology and categorization. Using the five factor model and its common language made categorization simple, while allowing implementation to be more easily understood by a wider audience. All elements of the five factor model are rooted in common vernacular, making them easily understood, improved, and implemented by educators. As the five factor model determines the degree to which an individual demonstrates a certain characteristic, educators can determine the area which is most in need of improvement. It is this component which caused the five factor model to be

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chosen instead of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This study did not seek to categorize educators; it sought to improve future educators by demonstrating effective personality characteristics. Providing future educators with an ideal teacher personality will set a benchmark to attain while improving classroom experiences for students. Definition of Terms For this study to be clear, the following terms must be operationally defined. Agreeableness: generous, sympathetic, and trusting (McCrae & John, 1992). Conscientiousness: organized, reliable, and thorough (McCrae & John, 1992). Extroversion: assertive, energetic, and talkative (McCrae & John, 1992). Neuroticism: anxious, touchy, and unstable (McCrae & John, 1992). Openness: artistic, imaginative, and curious (McCrae & John, 1992). Personality: differences in “emotional, interpersonal, experiential, attitudinal, and motivational styles.” (McCrae & John, 1992, p. 175). Characteristics: specific areas of personality development; for this study, areas of primary concern are Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Openness, and Extroversion. Assumptions, Limitations, and Delimitations In designing and conducting this study, I assumed that participants completed the NEO-FFI personality battery with honesty and accuracy. Secondly, it was assumed that a clear understanding of personality characteristics of highly effective teachers is essential in producing more highly effective teachers. The sample size of this study was limited due to the small population and small number of participants. Given the high performing

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nature of the research sample, results are difficult to generalize to other populations. Another limitation of the study was that participants potentially completed the survey dishonestly and with bias. This study was an examination of and delimited to the 2009 National Teacher of the Year candidates. Participants were surveyed for commonalities in their five factor model personality profile. Participants were not asked to provide insight into their results as individual bias would provide too much margin of error. Results were categorized to further understand this high performing group and their similar characteristics. Significance of the Study Teachers have daily opportunities to be agents of social change. Teaching has potential to touch multiple lives in multiple ways. Hundreds, maybe thousands of lives can be positively impacted due to the work of one person making a difference in their classroom on a daily basis. As teachers are more than purveyors of knowledge, better understanding the personality characteristics of truly exceptional educators could allow teachers and administrators to make changes in four potentially significant areas. 1. Guidance counselors can encourage students with certain personality characteristics toward a career in education with great opportunities for becoming successful while positively impacting students. 2. Recruiting practices can be altered to include personality characteristics as a means of identifying potential candidates. 3. Teacher training can more adequately coach future educators on implementing demonstrated effective classroom behaviors.

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4. Demographic areas of gender, length of tenure, and grade level taught, can alter recruiting and placement to more effectively provide opportunities for teacher success. If personality characteristics were understood more deeply, teachers and counselors might encourage highly effective personality types toward a career in education while improving methods of training, coaching, and retaining current teachers. According to Kise (2005), once educators understand their personality characteristics, conscious efforts and plans can be developed to improve teaching techniques and student results. Similarly, Emmerich, Rock, and Trapani (2006) found teacher personality and area of expertise are not always well matched. Deeper understanding of personality's role in the classroom can provide educators necessary information to improve their classroom approach while improving their ability to effect and inspire social change in individual students on a daily basis. These students then could have the opportunity to continue to impact their world with inspiration garnered from more highly effective teachers. Teachers of the Year and their dominant areas of characteristic overlap as determined by the NEO-FFI can reveal some personality characteristics of highly effective teachers. Thorough investigation of this highly effective group and their unique personality characteristics provided valuable information for improvement of teacher recruiting, training, and retaining. A review of literature regarding effective teaching practices; history and validity of the five factor model; and role of personality in career choice, training, and success can deepen the understanding of the significance of personality characteristics of effective teachers.

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Summary The 2009 National Teacher of the Year candidates are a high performing group. Comparing their personality characteristics for significant commonalities may allow for change in approaches taken to train, recruit, and retain educators. Deeper understanding of personality characteristics of highly effective teachers may also provide insight into habits and attitudes that contribute to their high effectiveness. Cross-sectional survey design provided an in-depth picture of these highly effective educators while allowing inferences to be made regarding the role of their unique set of personality characteristics. Utilizing the five factor model allowed easier categorizing and simpler terminology. Section 2 provides an in depth literature review of the history and development of the Big Five personality characteristics, five factor model, and its strengths as the theoretical basis. Literature involving highly effective classroom teaching techniques is presented so as to understand how highly effective teachers combine personality and technique. Section 3 provides data collection processes and overview of statistical analysis. Sections 4 and 5 present research findings and recommendations, respectively.

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Section 2: Review of Literature The following section contains research and literature involving personality in the classroom. In depth descriptions of the Big Five personality characteristics as well as history of the five factor model and demonstration of its validity are also provided. The five factor model and its impact on other career fields are also discussed. Habits of highly effective teachers are presented so as to understand methodology of effective classroom leadership and instruction. Research was acquired from books, dissertations, and journal articles. Research was completed primarily through the Walden University Library using the ERIC, EBSCO, and Education Research Complete databases. Primary keywords utilized included effective teacher, teacher personality, five factor, effective methodology, NEO-FFI, and teacher of the year. Classroom teaching may be perceived as a noble career, but teaching is not a simple task. To be effective on a daily basis, teachers must be prepared and passionate about their work. Unfortunately, preparation and passion do not guarantee success. While many instructors may be highly skilled, their personality may be lacking in areas that prevent high effectiveness (Delpit, 2006). While it is assumed that Teachers of the Year are highly skilled, personality is being examined to determine what commonalities exist. History of Personality Psychology Personality psychology began almost simultaneously with the advent of psychiatry. Sigmund Freud (1923) was one of the earliest researchers to study personality and divided human personality and subsequent behaviors into three distinct categories: id, ego, and super-ego. Id referred to impulses and drives such as the need for food, water,

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and sex. Id is generally displayed in children and as reckless behavior in adults. Ego sought to fulfill desires created by id, while remaining aware of the consequences of bad behavior. Super-ego worked contradictory to id and forced proper behavior, thus leaving ego to struggle constantly to reconcile the desires of two opposing forces. Freud dominated personality study and psychiatry for nearly 50 years until the rise of humanistic psychology in the 1970s. As trends and philosophies of psychology changed, several differing views of personality began to grow in popularity and adherents. B.F. Skinner (1974) was another notable researcher in development of personality theories. His development of behavior theory posited human personality developed as a result of interaction with external stimuli. In other words, reactions were learned and taught. Behaviorism focused on behaviors and reactions, as they were only objective means to examine human personality. Other notable behaviorists included Ivan Pavlov (1927) and John B. Watson (1930). Type theory, however, turned inward and fostered individuality. In his work on type theory, Jung (1971) maintained personality fell into one of two opposing types. Type A is outgoing and ambitious while Type B is mellow and accommodating. Little room for fluidity or middle ground led to the rise of trait theory. Trait theorists, including Gordon Allport, Lew Goldberg, and Hans Eysenck, held that personality was rooted in repetitive behavior, feelings, and emotions (Kassin, 2003). Traits were fluid, and people had varying degrees of each determined trait. Eysenck (1997) first presented a two-trait model consisting of extroversion and neuroticism. Goldberg (1993) made a case for five

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traits which came to be known as the Big Five or as the five factor model (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Five Factor Model The Five Factors will be further defined in this section to provide an understanding of how these traits are manifested in personal behavior. Conscientiousness is easily understood as detail oriented, manifested by organization, diligence, and thoroughness (McCrae & Costa, 1987). Digman and Takemoto-Chock (1981) further described Conscientiousness as a will to achieve. Conscientious people are proactive in success and organized in approach, making them driven and goal oriented. Agreeableness is intertwined with Extroversion and heavily impacts perceptions and relationships. Digman (1990) defined Agreeableness through a set of “characteristics such as altruism, nurturance, caring, and emotional support at the one end of the dimension, and hostility, indifference to others, self-centeredness, spitefulness, and jealousy at the other”(p.424). Costa, McCrae, and Dye (1991) further described Agreeableness as a combination of warmth and submission. Agreeableness manifests itself in friendliness and compliance. The third trait, Neuroticism refers to personal reactions to stress and resulting behaviors. A person scoring high in Neuroticism has potential for mental disorders (Zonderman, Stone, & Costa, 1989) due to “recurrent nervous tension, depression, frustration, guilt, and self-consciousness that such individuals feel is often associated with irrational thinking, low self-esteem, poor control of impulses and cravings, somatic complaints, and ineffective coping” (McCrae & John, 1987, p. 195). Those scoring low in Neuroticism are thought to be steadfast and calm by nature. Fourthly, Openness to

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experience is the most controversial factor (McCrae & John, 1992). This controversy is due to lexicon difficulties and lack of vocabulary to accurately describe words surrounding art and culture. McCrae and John described Openness with words such as creative, imaginative, and sensitive, thus looking for manifestations of “need for variety” and “unconventional values” (p. 197). McCrae and John cited John's (1989) utilization of antonyms to further define Openness and found the terms wise, logical, and foresighted to not be relevant in those who scored high in Openness to experience. Openness can be manifested in impetuosity and unconventional thought. Finally, Extroversion is the broadest category and may be best described as positive emotionality (Watson & Clark, 1992). Watson and Clark further explained that Extroversion was demonstrated by a dominant and talkative nature. While Extroversion was commonly defined by its relationship to shyness, McCrae and John (1992) maintained that enthusiasm and energy were closely related as well. Extroversion is an attitude that lends to not just warmth, but accomplishment. The Big Five characteristics of personality are rooted in lexical hypothesis which maintained that meaningful aspects of personality would eventually become encoded into language (Allport, 1937). Important characteristics of personality would make their way into everyday language because of frequent usage and common understanding. This style of language-driven study was completed by Allport and Odbert (1936) and further streamlined by Cattell (1943). Cattell’s work reduced overwhelming terminology surrounding personality characteristics to a manageable 12 items. These items were further studied by Fiske (1949) when he simplified and derived what would ultimately

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become the Big Five. Tupes and Christal (1961) sought to further simplify research and found five factors that proved to be most relevant after correlating studies of several samples. Norman (1963) was the next researcher to delve further and, ultimately, labeled the Big Five factors of Conscientiousness, Extroversion or Surgency, Agreeableness, Neuroticism or Emotional Stability, and Culture or Openness to Experience. Studies involving the Big Five seemingly ceased during the 1970s and 1980s due to changing opinions regarding personality research and ensuing difficulties of publication. Work with the Big Five was resumed by Goldberg (1981) who reexamined lexicons regarding personality and determined the Big Five were valid and reliable for data study. Saucier (1997) further validated these characteristics while unsuccessfully attempting to find replicable factors beyond the Big Five. Many cross-cultural studies have been conducted with all attesting to reliability and validity of the Big Five (De Raad, Mulder, Kloosterman, & Hofstee, 1988; Hrebickova, 1995; Ostendorf, 1990; Yang & Bond, 1990). In a compilation of multiple studies, De Raad (1998) demonstrated the Big Five model was “best working hypothesis of an omnipresent trait structure”(p. 120). Big Five as a Predictor The Big Five personality traits are valuable for research in many areas. Paunonen (2003) found the Big Five are able in many cases to predict important behavior. Mount, Barrick, and Stewart (1998) demonstrated the Big Five contribute to interpersonal relationships in workplaces. Their research concluded that Agreeableness and Conscientiousness were highly determinate factors of success in the workplace. Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism also stood out in research by Feldt

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and Woelfel (2009) who determined these traits contributed to the decision to enter a meaningful career field. Similarly, according to Rode et al. (2008), early career success and retention hinged completely on personality, not ability. This research implied teachers with certain personality characteristics may excel and remain in their field simply by their very nature. Classroom learning is another area in which research utilizing the Big Five is proving valuable. Deeper understanding of personality characteristics and their impact on learners allows teachers to tailor lessons to encourage meaningful learning experiences. In studies involving prediction of academic success, Kappe and Van der Flier (2010) found Conscientiousness related positively to higher learning regardless of variables applied. Neuroticism also proved important, particularly when classroom environment was demonstrated to be lacking stress. This research supported previous work by Chamorro-Premuzic, Furnham, and Lewis (2007) which demonstrated the importance of Conscientiousness in deep and high achieving learning. In a compilation of seven prior studies, Chamorro-Premuzic and Furnham (2009) found Openness to experience to be positively related to deep learning. The following section of the literature review focuses on effective learning and teaching and how each are impacted by personality and skill set. Effective Teaching The following section of literature review will focus on teaching and its intricacies. Skill set, relationships with students, and personality of effective teachers will be presented.

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Effective Teacher Personality Studies involving personality have typically been examined through the lens of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality battery which is comprised of 16 different possible types with eight differing versions of Extroversion and Introversion. In a similar study similar, Rushton et al. (2006) administered Myers-Briggs Type Indicators to 39 district-wide elementary Teachers of the Year and compared results with nearly 1,000 other teachers from two separate studies of personality type conducted on a national level (Myers & McCaulley, 1985) and a statewide level (Reid, 1999). Comparison results pointed to one dominant personality which differed from typical elementary educators. In the national sample (Myers & McCaulley, 1985), 18% of all elementary teachers were demonstrated to have the dominant personality type of Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, and Judgment (ISFJ). According to Myers-Briggs Foundation (2009), typical ISFJ is: Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home. (Myers-Briggs Foundation, 2010, para. 2) The statewide sample (Reid, 1999) proved to be even more dominantly ISFJ, with nearly 30% falling into that single category. Only 5% of the teachers in the statewide study and 10% in the national study fell into the category ENFP, the personality indicator that proved to be most dominant among Teachers of the Year (Rushton et al., 2006).

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When these three studies were comparatively examined, disparities began to emerge. Approximately 5% of surveyed Teachers of the Year had the national standard profile of ISFJ while 28% had the personality profile of Extroversion, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving. According to Myers-Briggs Foundation (2009), a typical ENFP personality is described as: Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency. (Myers-Briggs Foundation, 2010, para. 11) Rushton et al. (2006) surmised ENFPs may not necessarily be better teachers, but they may utilize more effective techniques according to brain research literature. This utilization of technique mirrored research by Chamorro-Premuzic et al. (2007) which demonstrated interactive classrooms with deep learning were led by teachers with low Neuroticism and high Agreeableness. While the final three traits may differ slightly, Extroversion has consistently been common in teacher personality studies. Hinton and Stockburger (1991) researched college students training to be teachers and found Extroversion dominant amongst the group. Their research also demonstrated introverts maintained a higher GPA overall, but the highest GPA by category was ENFPs. This high GPA may have been a contributing factor to Rushton’s et al. (2006) finding that ENFP was dominant among their Teachers

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of the Year as ENFPs may have acquired more skills and necessary methodology to be a highly effective teacher. Wheeless (1979) also found Extroversion significant in relational components of teaching. His research involving preservice educators found Extroversion contributed to a teacher’s credibility while increasing encounters of meaningful student interaction. These instances of interaction were found more frequently both in and out of the classroom as students found instructors to be more approachable and competent. This combination of traits improved students’ attitudes regarding instructors and courses while contributing to improved learning environment. Studies on teacher personality have shown Extroversion is the primary determining factor in creating a learning environment perceived by students as effective and comfortable (Barrett, 1991; Fisher & Kent, 1998). Barrett’s (1991) study was comprised of 34 randomly selected teachers and their respective students. Teachers were given the MBTI and students provided insight into learning environment. Teachers with Extroversion created warmer classroom learning environments while introverted teachers created learning environments with potential for negative interactions. Similarly, Fisher and Kent (1998) sampled 108 teachers and their students before concluding Extroversion was the strongest personality contributor to cohesive classrooms and positive learning environments. Extroverted teachers created a warm environment conducive to classroom harmony and strong learning opportunities. This profile of Extroversion complemented research by Hughes (2002) who concluded teachers who are warm yet demanding can most improve student achievement.

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Hughes maintained warm and demanding teachers closely resemble authoritative parents and through this approach, keep classroom disruptions to a minimum while limiting student exposure to negative influence within the classroom. Hughes further suggested Extroverted teachers more effectively create opportunities for cooperative learning and achievement of group goals. With this approach, Extroverted instructors create highly effective learning environments that allow students to reach maximum potential with little detracting from learning experiences. While warm and demanding may seem too abstract of a description, research has demonstrated how these traits are manifested by teachers. Sprinkle (2008) found that: Students overwhelmingly prefer professors/instructors who use humor, express compassion, and concern, and who show a general interest in students both in and outside of class to professors/instructors who do not share these personality traits. The preference for instructors/professors who have desirable personality traits such as empathy, compassion, and concern is likely due to the perception that these faculty members are more approachable and therefore less intimidating to the student learner. (p. 287) Sprinkle’s findings were consistent with earlier research by Best and Addison (2000) and Radmacher and Martin (2001). Best and Addison's (2000) research examined three different semesters of college psychology students and their respective teacher evaluations. Research focused on the four dimensions of Interpersonal Openness, Friendliness, Extroversion, and Caring. Their comparison found teachers perceived as warm were more accepted and earned higher evaluation marks from their students.

Full document contains 76 pages
Abstract: Some studies have suggested that the personality characteristics of teachers impact early career success, interpersonal skills, relationships, and length of tenure; however, the personality assessment used in these studies has been criticized for its rigid types and unclear language. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative case study was to determine what common personality characteristics existed among highly effective teachers when assessed within the conceptual framework of the Big Five model of personality and its simpler terminology. Participants completed the NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), a recurring language-driven personality test with established reliability and validity, to determine a descriptive personality profile of teachers judged to be superior by their peers. Accordingly, the sample of highly effective teachers included 17 of the 56 National Teacher of the Year candidates for 2009. Compared against the NEO-FFI normative data, participants demonstrated very high Extroversion, high Agreeableness, high Conscientiousness, average Openness and low Neuroticism. This profile remained stable when compared across elementary/secondary teaching environments and years of experience as a teacher. These results present a personality profile of effective teachers and their propensity to demonstrate individual characteristics without defining them by type. Thus, the study can contribute to positive social change by informing curriculum within teacher education programs and in-service training opportunities to model and encourage classroom teaching behaviors which have been demonstrated to be related to truly effective teachers.