A study of the perceptions of interpersonal behaviour of mathematics teachers in Singapore
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This study focused on the teacher interpersonal behaviour in the teaching of Mathematics, compared to English. It investigated: differences between student perceptions of their Mathematics and English teachers' interaction styles using the actual and ideal QTI; investigate associations between students' attitudes to Mathematics and English and their perceptions of the teachers' interpersonal behaviour; investigate whether any factors exist that contribute to students' perceptions of teachers' interpersonal behaviour, determine what the typical Mathematics and English teacher in Singapore is like; and what makes an effective teacher from students' and teachers' viewpoints. The QTI, together with the Attitude to Mathematics and Attitude to English, was administered to 913 students and 37 mathematics and English teachers from an independent school in Singapore. Student and teacher interviews were conducted to further substantiate the quantitative results. Both QTI and attitudinal scales were found to be valid and reliable instruments with alpha coefficients ranging from 0.69 to 0.92. In terms of leadership, helping/friendly, understanding and student responsibility, teacher behaviour as perceived by students, fell short of the ideal. Positive associations were found between students' attitudes to Mathematics and English and their perceptions of the teachers' interpersonal behaviour. Teacher experience and students' grade level were factors that contributed to students' perceptions of teachers' interpersonal behaviour. The typical Singaporean Mathematics teacher is that of the directive and authoritative type and the English teacher is the tolerant-authoritative type. Finally, an effective teacher is one who, besides having the positive qualities of good leadership, helping/friendly, understanding, has a good sense of humour and a passion to make a difference.
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