The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

The Association between Temperament and Selection for Teacher Training and Academic Achievement among First-Year Teacher Candidates

Sari Mullola, Columbia University Teachers College, National Center for Children and Families (NCCF), New York, United States; University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Helsinki, Finland (United States)

Christian Hakulinen, University of Helsinki, Medical Faculty, Department of Psychology, Helsinki (Finland)

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University Teachers College, National Center for Children and Families (NCCF); Columbia University, The College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York (United States)

Jari Lipsanen, University of Helsinki, Medical Faculty, Department of Psychology, Helsinki (Finland)

Marko Elovainio, University of Helsinki, Medical Faculty, Department of Psychology; Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki (Finland)


It has been suggested that the temperament traits of teacher applicants contribute to who is selected for and who succeeds in teacher education studies. Using two well-established temperament inventories (TCI and EAS), we examined (a) the associations between the temperaments of teacher applicants (N=1023-1035) and admitted teacher students (N=120-177), and (b) whether these temperament traits were associated with the teacher candidates’ achievement during the first year of studies (N=120-121). Analyses were conducted using regression analysis (linear, logistic and zero inflated Poisson) adjusted for gender, age, parental socio-economic status, and previous academic achievement. Data on the application process and on study success were obtained from administrative registers.

          TCI and EAS temperament traits explained 14% and 13% of the variance in applying for teacher education for the fully adjusted model, respectively. Teacher applicants selected for teacher education scored higher in reward dependence and lower in emotionality than the applicants who were not admitted. All the EAS and TCI temperament traits, except persistence, predicted teacher students’ study achievement. The strongest associations were found between higher reward dependence and higher academic achievement and between higher emotionality and lower academic achievement.

           The results show that the same temperamental traits higher reward dependence and lower emotionality which help the applicant to advance in the application process and eventually enter teacher training, also promote the student teacher's early academic success during the training. Through study achievement, temperament traits may have an independent effect on the professional development of prospective teachers. The implications for future research and teacher education are discussed.

Keywords: teacher student; temperament; academic achievement; teacher professional development; teacher education


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