Student and instructor perceptions of teaching and the impact of learning styles on these perceptions

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Science Teaching


Marvin Druger


Learning styles, Teaching assistants, Biology

Subject Categories

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education and Teaching | Science and Mathematics Education


This research compared college student perceptions about teaching with their teaching assistants' self-perceptions about their own teaching. How these perceptions changed over time, and the effect of student and instructor learning style matches on these perceptions was also examined.

This data was collected in a large introductory biology class using a combination of student evaluations, TA self-evaluations, and student interviews. To ascertain learning style preferences, the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory was also administered to the students and the TAs.

Student perceptions and TA self-perceptions held relatively stable over the semester, showing neither convergence or divergence. Students perceived the TAs as being better at classroom management and teaching than the TAs perceived themselves. TAs perceived themselves as being better in areas of dealing with students on the individual level than the students did. These effects were especially pronounced for inexperienced TAs.

Learning style similarities between students and TAs had little effect on how these two sets of perceptions changed over the semester. The students whose perceptions most closely match their TA's perceptions shared no MBTI traits with them. Students who had completely dissimilar MBTI profiles from their TA evaluated their TA as being better than students who had the same MBTI profile as their TA.

The results of this study suggest easily implemented methods to improve student learning in and satisfaction with their courses, especially in larger introductory science courses involving TAs. The results also suggest ways of improving TA training.


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