London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Can the teacher's personality influence development of identity in pupils?

Author(s) Marjanca Pergar Kuscer  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2001  
Editor A. Ross, Learning for Democratic Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
Civic education, by which is meant teaching and learning about identity and citizenship, is necessarily concerned with values. Values are qualities which influence how a person makes a decision how to act, and how a person evaluates events (Kluckhohn, 1951). But how is it possible to learn values from teaching? How can the children in primary school be taught abstract values such as equality, tolerance, solidarity, cooperation and respect for differences? It is the development of these values that is proposed as an important general goal of education in the Slovenian School Legislation (Ministry for Education, 1996). Teachers of young children have a very complex role. In preparing teachers to develop learning about identity and citizenship, we must bear in mind that students are affected not only by the method of teaching but also by the teacher's personality. The teacher as a personality is as equally important as the curriculum. Personality is reflected all dimensions of human behaviour and activity, including values. Cattell's studies found that behaviour is a function of circumstances and those structural personality traits that are relatively stable (Musek, 1993), so that it is possible to an extent to predict a person's behaviour in a specific situation, knowing his or her profile of personality traits. The understanding that every child must be accepted as an individual in school should not remain simply on the declarative level, but should also be a reflection of reality. Experiences of acceptance facilitate learning opportunities in school and are thus very important in a person's development. If the child feels that he or she is respected, he or she endeavours to learn better and establishes better relations with his or her peers. School and friendships are so important that, as Stassen (1994) wrote, failure in school and rejection by peers can seem crushing events. They can leave painful memories, and long-term feelings of inadequacy, incompetence and inferiority. This research examines at how the influence and personality of the teacher could develop children's values and achieve social relationships in a class in which no child was isolated.

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