Exploring the Characteristics of Effective Iranian EFL Teachers from Students’ and Teachers’ Perspectives

Document Type : Research Paper


Bu-Ali Sina University


This study investigated the characteristics of effective secondary school Iranian EFL teachers from students’ and teachers’ perspectives. To this end, 376 junior secondary school students and 32 EFL teachers teaching at various Iranian secondary schools participated in the study. A validated open-ended questionnaire was distributed among the student and teacher participants and asked for their opinions on key characteristics of an effective EFL teacher. A semi-structured interview was also conducted with the teacher participants to investigate why they deemed the characteristics important. The results of the content analysis of the data obtained from the questionnaire and the interview indicated that students and teachers were approximately of the same opinion, both highlighting teachers’ professional qualities (e.g., knowledge of the subject matter, ability to impart knowledge properly, etc.), classroom management-related qualities (e.g., involving  all students by assigning pair work/group work activities, assessing their learning progress regularly, etc.), and interpersonal relationships as being of crucial importance for effective EFL teaching. However, they differed in the degree to which they perceived these qualities to be important


Borg, S. (2006). The distinctive characteristics of foreign language teachers. Language Teaching Research, 10(1), 3-31.
Brown, S., & McIntyre, D. (1993). Making sense of teaching. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Cann, A., & Matson, C. (2014). Sense of humor and social desirability: Understanding how humor styles are perceived. Personality and Individual Differences, 66, 176-180.
Chen, J. (2012). Favorable and unfavorable characteristics of EFL teachers perceived by university students of Thailand. International Journal of English Linguistics, 2(1), 213-219.
Cooper, P., & McIntyre, D. (1996). Effective teaching and learning: Teachers’ and students’ perspectives. Philadelphia: Open University Press.
Falout, J., Elwood, J., & Hood, M. (2009). Demotivation: Affective states and learning outcomes. System, 37(3), 403-417.
Gourneau, B. (2005). Five attitudes of effective teachers: Implications for teacher training. Essays in Education, 13, 1-8.
Jacobs, G. M., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2003). Understanding and implementing the CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) Paradigm. RELC Journal, 34(1), 5-30.
Krumboltz, J., & Farquhar, W. (1957). The effect of three teaching methods on achievement and motivational outcomes. Psychological Monographs, 71(14), 1-26.
Miller, P. (1987). Ten characteristics of a good teacher. English Teaching Forum, 25(1), 36-38.
Pennings, H. J. M., van Tartwijk, J., Wubbels, T., Claessens, L. C. A., van der Want, A. C., & Brekelmans, M. (2014). Real-time teacher-student interactions: A Dynamic Systems approach. Teaching and Teacher Education, 37, 183-193.
Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Roseshine, B. (1971). Teaching behaviour and student achievements. London: NFER.
Roseshine, B., & Furst, N. (1973). The use of direct observation to study teaching. In R. Travers (Ed.), Second Handbook on Research on Teaching (pp. 122-83). Chicago: Rand McNally.
Sherman, J. (2003). Using authentic video in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stempleski, S. (2002). Video in the EFL classroom. In J. C. Richards & W. A. Renandya (Eds.), Methodology in language teaching: An anthology of current practice (pp. 364-367). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Shepherd, M. A. (2014). The discursive construction of knowledge and equity in classroom interactions. Linguistics and Education, 28, 79-91.
Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1-23.
Telli, S., den Brok, P., & Cakiroglu, J. (2008). Teacher-student interpersonal behavior in secondary science classes in Turkey. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 42(2), 31-40.
Vialle, W., & Tischler, K. (2009). Gifted students’ perceptions of the characteristics of effective teachers. In D. Wood (Eds.), The gifted challenge: Challenging the gifted (pp. 115-124). Merrylands, Australia: NSWAGTC Inc.
Wallace, M. (1994). Training foreign language teachers: A reflective approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Williams, M., & Burden, R. L. (1997). Psychology for language teachers: A social constructivist approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Woolfolk, A. E., Winne, P. H., & Perry, N. E., (2003). Educational Psychology (2nd Canadian ed.). Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Education Canada.
Xuerong, F. (2012). Excellent English teachers’ classroom strategies: A case study of three college English teachers in China. Higher Education of Social Science, 2(1), 1-7.
Zeichner, K. M. & Liston, D. P. (1996). Reflective teaching: An introduction. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.