Are teachers’ relational skills a key leverage for their effectiveness?

21 February 2019 | 17:00


vicolo dalla Piccola 12

FBK-IRVAPP is pleased to invite you to the following seminar: “Are teachers’ relational skills a key leverage for their effectiveness? Results from a large scale randomized controlled trial”.
With the partecipation of: Gianluca Argentin.
Language The seminar is held in english.
Abstract Researchers widely agree that the quality of the teaching force is one of the key factors explaining the success of educational systems. Literature shows, indeed, that a crucial role in determining student achievement is played by teachers. However, the sources of this effect aren’t clearly explained and teachers’ characteristics linked to effectiveness have still to be identified. As a consequence, teacher quality remains mainly a black box, making it hard to design policies in order to increase it. The aim of the presented RCT is to test in a rigorous way whether teachers’ relational skills play a role in defining their effectiveness and whether it is possible to increase this kind of skills through large scale interventions. We developed a light-touch self-training intervention focused on the improvement of relational skills and addressed to lower secondary school teachers in Italian schools. The intervention took the form of a brief booklet and short online videos dealing with several relational issues that teachers are called to face every day at school. To assess the intervention’s impact, we designed a cluster randomized controlled trial, which involved almost 198 lower secondary schools, located in eleven Italian provinces. The schools have been randomly assigned to the control or to the treatment group: teachers from the latter received the intervention in the school year 2016/2017. We found that the intervention was effective in producing a statistically significant impact on teachers’ self-efficacy and in improving students’ interest and achievement in the main subjects (Italian and mathematics). Overall, results suggest that teachers’ relational skills are a relevant leverage for teachers’ effectiveness and that also light-touch interventions may produce relevant impacts.


  • Gianluca Argentin
    Guest Speaker
    Gianluca Argentin is Assistant Professor (tenure-track) at the Department of Sociology and Social Research – Milan-Bicocca University. His research is focused on policies devoted to improve teacher quality and on impact evaluation of school interventions, especially through randomized controlled trials.

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