Very often evaluation instruments do not describe effective instruction concretely. They focus on what effective instructors are like--enthusiastic, friendly, accessible--as opposed to what those who teach do. The distinction is an important one because if you are interested in improving your performance in the classroom, it is much more helpful to identify what you are doing instead of what you should be.

The Teacher Behaviors Inventory makes an important contribution in this area. The developer of this instrument reviewed research that attempted to identify some of the components of effective instruction. He then hypothesized what teaching behaviors might be associated with those components. A collection of those behaviors appear on the inventory which follows. In subsequent research he found that a number of the behaviors on the inventory did correlate significantly with student ratings of overall instructor effectiveness.

Because the items on this form describe behaviors it will provide input that focuses more on the "presentational" aspects of instruction than on the "content." This does not mean that content competence should be ruled out as an ingredient of effective instruction--only that the focus here is more on the processes of instruction. This behavioral orientation makes this form especially well suited to courses where the lecture or lecture-discussion method is used to present content.


Have students complete the form in class, allowing approximately 15 minutes for its administration. Before distributing the form, spend a few minutes telling students why you are interested in this feedback and how you intend to use it.


If you used a computer scorable response form, request that the means and standard deviation for each of the individual items be reported. The standard deviation will indicate the extent of agreement among students. If the standard deviation for the responses to an item is large this may indicate a need to discuss the item with the students to see if they can explain their different responses. This instrument does not lend itself well to overall averaging of the item means as there are negatively worded items included. The instrument works well in documenting progress that may be part of an instructional improvement effort that extends across a number of semesters. Two or three behaviors can be targeted for improvement and the results of those efforts monitored regularly with this form.


This inventory was developed by Professor H.G. Murray, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario. It is not copyrighted and may be reproduced for any valid research or instructional development purpose.

Download a copy of the Teacher Behaviors Inventory.