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"Learning From Exemplary Teachers (Revised)"

James A. Gentry and Robin Pratt


First Author :

James A. Gentry
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1206 S. Sixth Street, M/C 706
Champaign, IL 61820

Second Author :

Robin Pratt
Performance Equations Inc.

Abstract :
Exemplary teaching is of limited use unless other teachers can learn from the exemplars and improve their teaching effectiveness. One objective of this paper is to use The Attentional & Interpersonal Style (TAIS) inventory to identify and analyze the characteristics of exemplary university teachers of finance. A second objective is to use the significant characteristics of exemplary teachers (ETs) to help colleagues enhance their teaching effectiveness and improve student learning.

A two-pronged approach was used to identify exemplary teachers of finance. One group of Ets was nominated by the chair or head of finance departments from a large sample of American universities. A list of 17 criteria were developed to identify the Ets. Another group of Ets was identified in a Business Week survey of MBA students. We compared these two groups of Ets with a sampling of finance department colleagues who had not been nominated for the ET status.

Using the TAIS instrument, we discovered that exemplary teachers were more spontaneous, confident, experimental, in-charge of class, show intuitive empathy to students and take risks in expressing thoughts than their colleagues. In addition, the Ets wrote a brief explanation of why they were recognized as a great teacher. These comments provided rich insights into the multi-dimensional characteristics of these master teachers. More importantly, they provided valuable recommendations to colleagues on how to improve their teaching effectiveness and student learning.

Lowman (1996) concluded that exemplary college teachers excelled in at least one of two dimensions: the ability to create intellectual excitement in students and/or interpersonal rapport with students. Our findings suggest a third component/dimension to the Lowmanís two-dimensional model of effective college teaching that is identified as characteristics needed by Ets to create intellectual excitement and interpersonal rapport. A three-dimensional exemplary teacher space is presented and possible interpretations are developed.
Manuscript Received : 2001
Manuscript Published : 2001
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