Development of personality attributes in selected teacher groups: the effects of identification with early role models

Ora Lee Thomas, Atlanta University

Abstract

The study investigated the levels of identification that function in selected teacher groups and the relationship of those levels to best liked teacher model and least-liked teacher model. The processes of identification under consideration were integrative, emulative, and reactive.

One hundred and twenty-five elementary, middle, and secondary teachers in a southern metro area participated. Using Osgood's Semantic Differential Technique, which consisted of sixteen semantic differential bi-polar adjective pairs on seven-interval scales, subjects responded according to images of Self, Best-Liked Teacher and Least-Liked Teacher.

Descriptive statistics involving mean, standard deviation, D score and t test were used in analysis—the D score as a measure of distance between the subject profiles, the t test for the significance of the difference between correlated means of self and best-liked teacher model and self and least-liked teacher model.

Findings revealed a close identification regarding self and best-liked teacher model for the whole group, for male and female, for elementary and secondary, and for most-experienced subsets on the process of integrative identification; a close identification regarding self and best-liked teacher model for the whole group, for male and female, and for least-experienced and most-experienced subsets on the process of emulative identification; and a close identification regarding self and least-liked teacher model for females on the integrative process, for females and the whole group on the emulative process, and for secondary teachers on the reactive process.

The revealed identifications provide supportive evidence to the literature that the classroom teacher as a model serves not only as a strong motivation in the choice to teach, but also serves through personality traits and attributes as a mechanism for future behaviors in the classroom.

Because of this factor, classroom teachers should be made cognizant of their potential for influencing those under their care; educators and supervisors should identify affective role models through assessment of personality traits and attributes; and teachers should receive counseling to assist them in personality adjustment.