DETROIT — Forget about years in the proverbial ivory tower. A new poll of 500 Michigan students and young adults conducted by Everest Institute reveals the largest percentage believe on-the-job experience is an important factor in teachers' effectiveness.
Nearly eight of 10 respondents — 78 percent — said that when judging teacher effectiveness, real-world experience in the subject taught is considered important. This attribute even ranked higher than the importance of teachers having an academic degree, cited by 71 percent, and the number of years teaching, noted by 55 percent. Less than half (40 percent) of those surveyed said professional and business connections to share with students is important.
When asked about the important factors in judging the quality of a teacher, the highest number of respondents — 92 percent — state being knowledgeable and fair, respectively. Ranked nearly as high are being approachable (91 percent), responsive (90 percent), prepared (89 percent) and engaging (89 percent).
"Such perspectives from students past and present paint a picture of the ideal teacher," said Ken Sigmon, regional vice president at Everest Institute, who oversees Everest's five campuses in Michigan. "They value educators who know their subjects based on real-life experiences, talk in real-world terms, are prepared to instruct and focus all attention on their students."
When asked about the effectiveness of various learning environments, the highest percentage of respondents — 88 percent — cited hands-on training classes. Ranked second are small discussion-focused classrooms (79 percent), followed by externships, internships or similar short-term work experiences (75 percent) and private tutoring (73 percent).
"These findings are another strong indication that students highly value practical, realistic classes and curriculum, programs schools like Everest offer," added Sigmon.The survey also asked what factors make a teacher's classroom lecture effective. About three quarters said some humor (78 percent) and high-energy (72 percent) contribute a lot. Eye-catching visuals were cited by 60 percent and half (52 percent) said storytelling helped. Less than one half, however, said personal anecdotes (42 percent) and use of video (41 percent) are assets.
The Everest Institute poll results are based on responses of 500 adults, ages 18-44, living in Michigan. Nearly one quarter (22 percent) currently were students and 78 percent were not. The online survey was conducted in December.
Everest Institute's Michigan campuses are located in Dearborn, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Southfield.
Everest provides career-oriented diploma programs in the health care, skilled trades and business fields. Programs vary by campus. Everest has more than 100 schools in the U.S. and Canada, and is owned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America. For more information, visit www.everest.edu . For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at www.everest.edu/disclosures .