Characteristics of quality teachers: students' perspectives in high performing schools
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This study focuses on students’ perceptions of the characteristics of quality teachers. A total of 448 students enrolled in high performing schools in 10 mostly urban school districts participated in focus group interviews during which groups of students in elementary, middle school, and high school were presented with the question, “What are the characteristics of quality teachers?” Student responses were recorded and analyzed using the three steps of Grounded Theory. Six characteristics of quality teachers emerged from the data. Student responses for each subgroup (elementary, middle school, and high school) were analyzed to determine the prevalence of each emergent characteristic among and between subgroups; each characteristic was then compared between subgroups to isolate intersecting and salient characteristics. Emergent characteristics were cross referenced to existing research on quality teacher traits to identify congruent as well as emergent descriptions of quality teachers. The goal of this study was to illuminate students’ voices by bringing their perspectives into the discourse of what constitutes quality teaching.