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A recent study published in the professional journal Family Relations examined what factors contributed to high class ratings of the teacher from participants of a stepfamily education program. How a teacher/facilitator managed the class was more important than whether the teacher had stepfamily life experiences. This is good news for ministry leaders and pastors who don’t live in a stepfamily and may have been reticent to teach a class before now.

Other notable findings from the study include:

  1. Women preferred facilitators who clearly presented the material.
  2. Men valued facilitators who managed the time well.
  3. Both men and women were favorable to facilitators who drew on their personal life experiences in helpful ways.
  4. The facilitator’s experiences did not have to include living in a stepfamily. In fact, having grown up in a stepfamily was negatively correlated with facilitator approval (that is, they got lower ratings).
  5. Having the same ethnicity as the facilitator was not important for women, but it was for men.
  6. Both men and women rate the program higher when taught by a woman.

Reference: Brian J. Higginbotham & Cory Myler (Feb, 2010). The influence of facilitator and facilitation characteristics on participants’ ratings of stepfamily education. Family Relations, 59, 74-86.