Appendix C: Additional Characteristics of Good Teaching

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Chickering and Gamson (1987) identified seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education which have guided much research and practice in teaching in higher education for the past three decades. You may find these principles a useful starting point in developing mid-course evaluation questions that will provide feedback on the issues most important to the success of the course. These principles are as follows:

  1. Encourages contact between students and faculty
  2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
  3. Use active learning techniques
  4. Gives prompt feedback
  5. Emphasizes time on task
  6. Communicates high expectations
  7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning

Adapted from Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association of Higher Education Bulletin, 3-7.


In 1987, H.W. Marsh developed the Students’ Evaluations of Educational Quality (SEEQ) instrument, based on the aspects of teaching that student evaluations should address to be the most valuable and reliable. SEEQ identifies nine multidimensional factors to address in student evaluations. Instructors may score highly in one area and not in others. Consequently, no one area on its own is a valid indicator of instructional quality, but taken together, the different factors may establish a thorough portrait of teaching strengths and weaknesses.

SEEQ is primarily used to ensure the reliability and validity of formal teaching evaluations, but it may also be usefully employed in more informal mid-course evaluations as a way to ensure that representative teaching and learning activities are being evaluated.


  1. Learning/value: describes the amount of learning students perceive has been taking place
  2. Instructor enthusiasm: measures whether students perceive the instructor to be enthusiastic about teaching and the course material
  3. Organization: evaluates the structure of lectures, presentations, assignments, and other course materials and activities
  4. Individual rapport: evaluates the degree to which students feel comfortable and welcomed by the instructor
  5. Group interaction: assesses whether the instructor encourages constructive discussions and group work
  6. Breadth of coverage: asks whether the instructor contextualized the course material and offered connections with other areas of study
  7. Examinations/grading: assesses whether students found feedback on tests and assignments to be useful
  8. Assignments/readings: evaluates whether students enjoyed the assignments and readings and found them essential to their understanding of the course material
  9. Workload/difficulty: measures the relative difficulty and demand of the course

Adapted from Marsh, H. W. (1987). Students’ evaluations of university teaching: Research findings, methodological issues, and directions for future research. Sydney: University of Sydney.


Developed in 1997 by Harry Murray at the University of Western Ontario, the Teaching Behaviours Inventory classifies 60 teaching behaviours in 9 categories. These behaviours are typical across most disciplines, and are drawn from the actions of instructors with high student ratings and from cognitive research connecting specific teaching activities to improved student learning.

CLARITY: methods used to explain or clarify concepts and principles
1. Gives several examples of each concept.
2. Defines new or unfamiliar terms
3. Repeats difficult ideas several times
4. Stresses most important points
5. Uses graphs or diagrams to facilitate explanation
6. Points out practical applications of concepts
7. Answers students’ questions thoroughly
8. Highlights key terms
9. Explains subject matter in familiar conversational language

EXPRESSION: use of non-verbal behaviour to solicit student attention and interest
10. Speaks in a dramatic or expressive way
11. Moves about while lecturing
12. Gestures with hands or arms
13. Makes eye contact with students
14. Gestures with head or body
15. Tells jokes or humorous anecdotes
16. Reads lecture verbatim from prepared notes or text
17. Smiles or laughs while teaching
18. Shows distracting mannerisms

INTERACTION: techniques used to foster students’ participation in class
19. Encourages students to ask questions or make comments during lectures
20. Offers constructive criticism
21. Praises students for good ideas
22. Asks questions of individual students
23. Asks questions of class as a whole
24. Incorporates students’ ideas into lecture
25. Presents challenging, thought-provoking ideas
26. Uses a variety of activities in class (e.g., group work, guest lectures, etc.)
27. Asks rhetorical questions

ORGANIZATION: ways of organizing or structuring the course’s subject matter
28. Uses headings and subheadings to organize lectures
29. Puts outline of lecture on blackboard or overhead screen
30. Clearly indicates transition from one topic to the next
31. Gives preliminary overview of lecture at beginning of class
32. Explains how each topic fits into the course as a whole
33. Reviews topics covered in previous lecture at beginning of each class
34. Periodically summarizes points previously made

PACING: rate of presentation of information; efficient use of class time
35. Clarifies fundamental points
36. Digresses from major theme of lecture
37. Covers very little material in class sessions
38. Asks if students understand before proceeding to next topic
39. Sticks to the point in answering students’ questions

DISCLOSURE: explicitness concerning course requirements and grading criteria.
40. Advises students as to how to prepare for tests or exams
41. Provides sample exam questions
42. Provides clear expectations for all assessed work
43. States objectives of each lecture
44. Reminds students of test dates of assignment deadlines
45. States objectives of course as a whole

SPEECH: characteristics of voice relevant to classroom teaching
46. Speaks at an appropriate volume
47. Speaks clearly
48. Speaks at an appropriate pace
49. Says “um” or “ah”
50. Speaks with voice modulation (fluctuates)

RAPPORT: quality of interpersonal relations between teacher and students
51. Addresses individual students by name
52. Announces availability for consultation outside of class
53. Offers to help students with course-related problems
54. Shows tolerance of other points of view
55. Talks with students before or after class, when possible

TEACHING AIDS: use of media and materials to enhance learning
56. Uses visual teaching aids
57. Makes effort to ensure readability of visual aids
58. Uses audio, video, and computer equipment
59. Uses presentation software
60. Uses video programs

Adapted from: Education Development Office, Wilfred Laurier University, Teaching behaviours. Retrieved August 23, 2007, from id=12499&p=18132.