A study of characteristics of teachers of exceptional children as perceived by supervisors of special education

Kenneth Wayne Edmisson, Tennessee State University


Special education teacher characteristics play an important role in the success of exceptional children in the classroom. Perception of those characteristics by the special education supervisor is also important in that what is needed and wanted in the classroom may be distinctly different than what is being presented. Therefore, this study sought to identify the rank order or preference and degree of preference of ten selected teacher characteristics (alternative instructional methods, behavior management, communication skills, flexibility, genuine caring and concern for children, knowledge of content, motivation, organizational skills, school-family-community involvement, and wholistic approach). An investigator-constructed instrument was mailed to randomly selected supervisors of special education across the State of Tennessee requesting their perception of the characteristics, asking them to comparatively rank and rate each in order of preference and in their degree of preference. Results were analyzed manually and via computer for rank order correlation coefficient, Spearman's rho $\rm(p\sb{s}).$ Statistical analysis of the data observed resulted in the finding that of the ten teacher characteristics studied, genuine caring and concern for children was the most preferred of the ten in rank and rated most preferred. Motivation ranked second with a strong preference, organizational skills ranked third with a preference rating, behavior management ranked fourth with a rating of most preferred, communication skills ranked fifth with a rating of preference, and knowledge of content ranked sixth with a preference rating. The seventh ranked teacher characteristic was flexibility with a rating of most preferred, eighth was alternate instructional methods with a rating of preference, ninth was wholistic approach with a preference rating, and tenth was school-family-community involvement with a rating of preference. I would like to quote and add my appreciation to Haim Ginott (1971) with the following poem: I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt, or heal. In all situations it is my response that describes whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.(DIAGRAM, TABLE OR GRAPHIC OMITTED...PLEASE SEE DAI)

Subject Area

Special education|Teacher education|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Kenneth Wayne Edmisson, "A study of characteristics of teachers of exceptional children as perceived by supervisors of special education" (1995). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9812070.