Sabado, Pebrero 25, 2012

Stephen G. Hartlaub and Frank A. Lancaster’ Teacher Characteristics and Pedagogy in Political Science: A Critique

By Sandro J. Rebadio

I believe that the question of method is ultimately reducible to the question of the order of development of the child's powers and interests. The law for presenting and treating material is the law implicit within the child's own nature. Because this is so I believe the following statements are of supreme importance as determining the spirit in which education is carried on:

                                                                                        -John Dewey in My Pedagogic Creed
                                                                                                School Journal vol. 54 (January 1897)


This was the excerpt statement of the famous educational philosopher, John Dewey who narrates his belief on the nature of methods in his My Pedagogic Creed. His creed was personally crafted as a basis of his fundamental theory and philosophy. Moreover, his perception, interest and emotion will entirely affect his pedagogic style.Likewise,teachers personal characteristics and training will likely influence the way he/she  teach the subject matter. In the journal written by Stephen G. Hartlaub of Frostburg State University and Frank A. Lancaster of Michigan State University explore the characteristics and pedagogy in political science that try to explain the differences by looking at how professional training, current institutional situation and other personal characteristics influence the pedagogic choices of political scientists. The paper further discussed the aspects of pedagogy and faculty characteristics and the survey methods and so with the results and its interpretation.

The survey made was clearly presently graphically with utmost presentation of the result. The 21 question survey was randomly selected 115 schools out of 450 schools taken from APSA website. The sending of the research tools was narrated accordingly. On the otherhand, the use of scale of almost never, rarely, sometimes and so on was utilized to measure the pedagogical techniques. In general, the result really consolidated the real picture of the teachers’ characteristic and pedagogy in political science.

To summarize, the survey results conclude that teachers in political science use a variety of techniques in their classes besides lecture, with small-group exercises and study guides being the most common. They also use a wide variety of pedagogical tools from study guides to curving of grades and points for attendance. In trying to identify what factors influence these decisions they  looked at three areas. First, Hartlaub and Lancaster looked at the undergraduate educational experience of the faculty member to see how their own experiences as a student influence their pedagogical choices. The research did not detect any significant influences in this area. The experiences as an undergraduate may have more influence in where they go to graduate school and what kind of jobs we look for, rather than the use of certain pedagogical techniques or tools certain pedagogical techniques or tools.

The second area of influence we explored was the current institutional setting. The current institutional setting had more discernable influence on pedagogical choices then our own undergraduate experience. The number of students at the institution and highest degree offered had some influence on the pedagogical techniques and tools used by faculty. In their research, the climate of the school seemed as influential as the objective number of students taught. The pressures and culture of the institutions where they work do influence how they teach their classes. The last area of influence was the personal characteristics of the faculty members themselves. Results show that gender, years of experience, and rank have some influence on the decisions faculty make in the classroom. None of the relationships in their study point to any major factors that determine their teaching. While faculty at larger schools may lecture more, the relationship is quite weak. The most important factor in how they teach is they own choices, and it seems that faculty in all institutions make a wide variety of pedagogical choices.

 From results to implication to classroom  

In our Philippine context, University of the Philippines is regarded as the home of famous academicians where the great political analyst and economist teach and graduated. Accordingly, Ateneo, UST, La Salle, UP, FEU, San Beda have its differences in any aspects.Meanwhile, state universities students is slightly different from private schools. According to the survey results that the vast majority of faculty attended either a private liberal arts or state-supported liberal arts school for their degree (37.8% and 56.2%, respectively). There was no substantial difference between these two groups as far as their percent of lecturer use of small groups or simulations of service-learning. In addition, the number of students did not correlate with any of our pedagogical practices. The results of this analysis indicate that structural aspects of a faculty member’s undergraduate experience do not play a major role in determining the pedagogical choices in their own careers (p.381).

Result exposed that faculty in the universities with more undergraduate students were more likely to use high percentage of lectures and less likely to use small group exercises, simulations among others. With this, I deem that it may not likely happen so it’s unworkable to use small group exercises with a big class size. Three years ago, I’ve been a part time instructor in one of colleges in our locality. I observe that the classroom space and the class size really matter in crafted your teaching strategies and activities. Lecture is always a conventional mode of teaching. But it is an ideal for the simulations and grouping with big class size actually. The survey results also revealed that the highest degree offered by a program produced one significant relationship. As the degree offered increases from associates to master’s to doctorate, faculty is slightly less likely to use small-group exercises in their upper division courses. The last characteristic they analyzed was the relationship between the average size of the instructor’s introductory and upper division courses and their use of these pedagogical techniques. The relationship between class size and percent lecture was significant.

In this case, universities offering graduate and post graduate courses may less likely to use small group exercises and simulations and the likes. I think I would agree with this because advanced studies really did not utilize a bulk of teaching techniques. Lecture is still applied. I attended graduate studies from 2006 in my alma mater to pursue masteral degree in my specialization and in the minimal enrollees, lectures is being employed.

There is no also significant on the political ideology and party ID as the survey revealed. I believe that with the teacher interest, student may likely influenced the teacher maybe because of the enculturation of knowledge and ideas.Then, higher order thinking skills will be developed. For this reasons, we finds different minds, ideas and interest in the classroom.Sometimes, student may be divided in their beliefs. When teacher open the subject on Corona case for instance, I think there will be a varied commentaries.

To end up, I appreciate this awesome survey research for political science.S.G.Hartlaub and L.A.Lancaster really dig the reality of most tertiary schools in United States which is also relevant and useful to our context.


I believe, finally, that the teacher is engaged, not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation of the proper social life.

-John Dewey in My Pedagogic Creed


John  Dewey My Pedagogic Creed.School Journal vol. 54(January 1897) Retrieved at

Stephen G. Hartlaub & Frank A. Lancaster (2008): Teacher Characteristics and Pedagogy in Political Science, Journal of Political Science Education, 4:4, 377-393. Retrieved February 7,2012 6:05 PM. at: or


In South Africa Gandhi set up an ashram at Phoenix, where he started a school for children.
Gandhi had his own ideas about how children should be taught. He disliked the examination system. In his school he wanted to teach the boys true knowledge—knowledge that would improve both their minds and their hearts.
Gandhi had his own way of judging students. All the students in the class were asked the same question. But often Gandhi praised the boy with low marks and scolded the one who had high marks. This puzzled the children.
When questioned on this unusual practice, Gandhi one day explained, “I am not trying to show that Shyam is cleverer than Ram. So I don’t give marks on that basis. I want to see how far each boy has progressed, how much he has learnt. If a clever student competes with a stupid one and begins to think no end of himself, he is likely to grow dull. Sure of his own cleverness, he’ll stop working. The boy who does his best and works hard will always do well and so I praise him.”
Gandhi kept a close watch on the boys who did well. Were they still working hard? What would they learn if their high marks filled them with conceit? Gandhi continually stressed this to his students. If a boy who was not very clever worked hard and did well, Gandhi was full of praise for him.

In this story, It reminds me of my accountability and responsibility to teach children accordingly. The school is a home for me that I act as their parent. As parent, we interact and discipline them accordingly. We impart our knowledge and ideas to prepare them in their future life.Actually, when I graduated freshly in my undergraduate; I am so much realistic in pedagogy and in personal. I wanted my students to what I expected. The fact is we imposed such strategy which is not primary new to them. As a result, not all of them adopt with us.
Public schools is very different. This is the reality of Philippine education. The pedagogy of teaching will depend on the culture of the school, location and class size. In my past school assignment, I freely use various strategies and methods in teaching because I handled mono grade class. For instance, in my HEKASI class I utilized cooperative learning approach and I even have debate, simulations, round table and panel discussions. I can do utilized strategies depending on the topic and skills. With 40 plus class size, it is ideally that lecture should have brainstorming and an in depth discussions. Class participation will boost if teacher will allow learners to participate actively in the class.
For elementary learners in my locality, I deeply disappointed that rarely are interested with politics or socio political topics. No one read newspapers, listen to radio public affairs program or watch TV newscast, documentaries and commentaries. So when you ask something topic even in the height of the news, almost all of them will just stare in my eyes.Sadly, that sometimes they never meet or heard some important political dignitaries especially in the national level. It is very hard to transmit and open topic that our pupils will not relate to it.
Anent to this, I let them watched documentaries, new clips and let them read newspapers to augment this predicament.Actually,I  have so many things to be learned in my workplace. I ‘m just started.

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