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Smart Stepfamilies

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Being an Effective Teacher: What Makes the Difference?




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:

·        Women preferred facilitators who clearly presented the material.

·        Men valued facilitators who managed the time well.

·        Both men and women were favorable to facilitators who drew on their personal life experiences in helpful ways.

·        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).

·        Having the same ethnicity as the facilitator was not important for women, but it was for men.

·        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.

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