Is temperament a key to the success of teaching innovation?

  • JJ Blitz
  • MR van Rooyen
  • DA Cameron
  • GP Pickworth
  • PH Du Toit


Introduction. A section of the undergraduate curriculum was revised due to consistently poor student evaluation. The chosen didactic method for achieving this change was reciprocal peer teaching. This innovation may have required academic members of staff to adapt to a new teaching style. Method. Staff members determined their Keirsey temperament and were given a report on its interpretation. They participated in training on student-focused teaching techniques and completed the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI) of their preferred approach to teaching. Their subsequent sessions with students were videotaped and analysed for features of student-focused, as opposed to teacher-focused, teaching. Results. There was a link between temperament type and apparent delivery of student-focused teaching. Staff members’ perceptions of their approach to teaching did not correspond to their actual teaching behaviour. Discussion. Staff development strategies could take into account individual temperaments in order to direct their professional development for the full spectrum of flexible teaching skills. Alternatively, teaching teams should be created in a way that takes account of different temperament types. Conclusion. Temperament does play a key role in adaptation to innovation.

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