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Investigating Essential Competences of Romanian Teachers: A Preliminary Study



The purpose of the article was to put into perspective the qualities and proficiencies required/needed of teaching staff when working with a group of pupils in Romania. We conducted a Focus Group with 10 teachers to kick off the research, and then we used a quantitative tool to confirm the findings. The Focus Group approach was selected because it offers freedom and a greater range for creativity and minimize researcher bias. Only teachers who were interested in the topic from the perspectives of their own experiences in the department as well as from the perspectives of their experiences as parents, grandparents, or aunts of pupils in the educational system attended the Focus Group. Thus resulted a map of traits and competencies required for a positive evolution of the professorial profession, divided into broad categories of traits. To confirm the Focus Group results or identify new trends, we invited the original participants and 33 additional teachers to reassess the specific competencies and characteristics in the same categories after 18 months. The list thus obtained helps us to better prepare the candidates for what is really needed in class and outlines a Romanian teacher’s profile.



teachers attributes, characteristics, teachers’ competences, teaching staff traits.

JEL Classification

I21, I29.


1. Introduction

The Romanian educational system needs to educate and recruit candidates with suitable traits to become performers in teaching. In this moment the recruitment system in Romania is based on a tenure exam organized annually from May to July that has two main evaluation steps:

  1. A class inspection, which is graded by two inspectors, and the grade obtained is 25% part of the final tenure grade.
  2. A written exam that lasts 4 hours and the grade obtained is 75% part of the final tenure exam.

Even if the recruitment process is often described as very difficult each year the mass media discovers teachers that manifest traits or behaviours that are incompatible with the teacher’s status and this brings great disservice of image to all teachers around the country. The problem goes deeper, and it is not unique for Romanian space only as Ewing et al. (2021, p. 506) outlines in their study on western countries in which they sum the traits that attract this kind of negative visibility as “incompetence/character flaws, promiscuity, and substance abuse”. To minimalize this possibility, we believe we can update the recruitment system in order to evaluate what matters most or at least impacts on the teacher’s image and pupils’ results. This very ample possible research will start from this exploratory study that takes into consideration a teacher’s traits, characteristics, abilities, competences, attributes needed in order to be appreciated in front of a class. We are first aiming for exhaustivity and then narrow it down to a much shorter list that encompasses all of the characteristics we found initially. Thus, this could be the key for better directed recruitment and also clearer behavioural manifestations that are important to be evaluated. As far as we researched, we found a gap between the traits, competencies and abilities that are needed from a teacher in front of the class and the traits, competencies and abilities evaluated in recruitment. In recruitment the accent falls on information while in front of the class teachers need much more. We failed to find a list that encompasses all needed from a teacher in general but, even more specific, one evaluated from the teachers/parent point of view, on Romanian specific educational system with our nested values and specific needs.

This might also help candidates prepare better for their future job individually improving what can be educated and is needed in being appreciated teachers. Another potential impact might be, after further research based on this exploratory study, to influence the educational policies in two areas: 1. Teachers’ education – find out what is really important to educate in future teachers and accentuate on practical behaviours more than on knowledge; 2. Teachers’ recruitment – find out what is better evaluated in front of the class and asses that on the exam more than the capacity to learn by heart (definitions, summaries, abstracts, premade solutions).


2. Literature Review

It is important to state that, even if the international research literature was abundant in the teaching and teachers’ traits and characteristics area, we had very little references on the specific traits, skills, competencies, and characteristics needed for a Romanian teacher dealing with the specifics of our population and national development. So, even if we did have many precedents in the international research, it was important to start from ground zero and to see exactly what teachers perceive as useful trait, competency, characteristic in Romanian classes/schools and in Romanian system. Still, we found very interesting references and similar viewpoints in international research literature. We were particularly impressed, so we had to mention a very down to earth and realistic approach of Stonge (2018, pp. 1-10) who analysed noticeable behaviours and results of a teacher as a person, as a group manager, as an instructional administrator, as a trainer, as a monitor, and finally as a professional. Their approach took into consideration both positive qualities and red flags of ineffectiveness. On this take we could make clear evaluation grids to encourage some behaviours and discourage other actions, to obtain best result and create better organisational culture. Teachers’ knowledge, skills, and beliefs (Coles et al., 2015; Rubie-Davies et al., 2011), characteristics (Wayne et al., 2003; Teven, 2009; Kukla-Acevedo, 2007; Danişman et al., 2018), qualities (Nghia, 2015), efficacy (Klassen et al., 2010; Dibapile, 2012), competencies (Chan, 2001; Shidiq et al., 2022), attributes (Ciraj et al., 2013), cognitive abilities (Bardach & Klassen, 2020) and conceptions (Barnes et al., 2017) all influence pupils’ result and performance, teachers’ wellbeing (Konu & Viitanen, 2010), class management, career development, and lifelong learning perception for both teachers and pupils.

Another interesting point of view was brought to us by Yan et al. (2018, p. 159) who brought into our attention “three core components: skills, knowledge, and principles” and then developed principles and how these impact in all teachers’ actions – even planning the lesson, deciding what materials to use or subjects to debate in learning a new language. With all this information why do we still evaluate what the teacher knows and not what the teacher is predetermined to use, wants to use or is capable to fiddle comfortable with, for the benefit of one’s pupils?

Teven (2009, p. 159) puts the spot on a relation between teacher’s characteristics and perceived caring. When we first read this, we thought that caring is “to care” about the job, being involved. But no, it is about “establishing a climate of warmth, understanding, and caring within the classroom” (Teven, 2009, p. 159), a group of abilities that make all the difference and, even if we accept that the recruitment system evaluate it threw inspection (which does not), it only matters 25% of the final grade. Teachers’ behaviours, style, education, words, characteristics, abilities, and competencies do make a difference in the outcome of the pupils. In this case we had to make a distinction between effectiveness (Al-Awawdeh & Kalsoom, 2022; Saranciuc-Gordea, 2016) and efficiency (Mogonea, et al., 2019), which refers to the expression of attaining results while using the fewest resources possible.

The teacher has a significant impact on the growth and achievement of pupils according to research done by Hattie in Aukland on a sample, the teacher is credited with the pupils’ accomplishments 30% of the time (Teachers Make a Difference: what is the research evidence? 2003). According to the same study, 50% of pupils personally contribute to their own success. The remaining percentages are split between peer group influence, family, school, and principals. This investigation compares the pupils’ achievement of novice, experienced, and expert teachers in order to find any disparities. There is an unmistakable correlation between pupil accomplishment and teacher knowledge as well as between teacher knowledge (and the type of information) and a pupils’ overall attitude toward science, according to another research made 10 years later (Van Driel, & Abell; 2010) on the situation in the domain of science education.

We also must bring up Caroll and Park’s approach, which, in 2023, evaluates teachers’ modelling and model-based instruction knowledge in the STEM subject area by comparing model-based instruction’s pedagogical application competence to model-based instruction’s content knowledge (Comparing the Use of Two Different Approaches to Assess Teachers’ Knowledge of Models and Modelling in Science Teaching. Education Sciences). The results highlight the superior efficacy of competence assessment over teacher knowledge assessment.

If recruitment assessment could be expanded to attitudes and behaviours rather than on information teachers’ education, training, recruitment, and assessment could be made more relevant. Also, in doing so, we could ensure to model the student behaviour and attitudes more on the long-life learning and sustainability, fascination towards studying, a lot further than “passing the exam” sole interest.


3. Research methodology

Recruiting a candidate after clear rules and with a transparent profile on cognition and behaviour can help not only in identifying the right people for the chair but also in helping the candidate to prepare more precisely and asses their capacity in expressing and manifesting the needed conduct for best result in activity. We need to define better the teachers’ way of thinking and way of behaving in different situations, more than assessing what they know we need to assess how are they educated to react, answer and re-think original strategies for the benefit of their pupils. For this more complex approach, we considered a first essential step as the need to identify those traits, skills, characteristics, and attributes necessary for the teacher to develop favourably in their teaching career.

Our aim is to explore the characteristics and competences necessary for the teaching staff in front of a class of pupils. To do so, our objectives were:

  • Objective 1: Identify and compile a comprehensive list of specific job-related factors or requirements that are deemed essential by responders.
  • Objective 2: Identify suitable categories to encompass all answers from O1 to put a baseline for organising recruitment and education.
  • Objective 3: Confirm the comprehensive list from O1 and the suitable categories from O2 in a different environment than the initial Focus Group (F.G.).

In achieving these objectives, we organised a F.G. in which participants had to find as many words as possible to fill and finish the following proposition: “Teachers need to ____/ to be____/ to have____” while staying true to their professional and educational experience. Further we need to confirm the results of the F.G. so that are unbiased and less influenced by the researchers’ views. To do so, we formulated two research questions:

  • Research question 1: Is the list obtained in the F.G. confirmed by other teachers threw being appreciated as very necessary or necessary in the job?
  • Assumption 2: The categories will be found to be more complex that in the F.G. as respondents will not be limited by time or others’ opinions?


3.1. Qualitative method

We found as best method for our academical approach to be the F.G., because it offers us flexibility, the possibility of a personalized semantic field, and the participants have the freedom to introduce new variables in the researcher’s analysis, so on 11.09.2021 we organized a meeting with 10 volunteers who simultaneously met the following conditions:

  1. Have experience both with written exams and class inspections and participated in at least one tenure exam.
  2. They work as teachers in schools/ kindergartens, with teaching responsibilities for at least one class of pupils.
  3. Have shown interest in the proposed topic and volunteered to participate when we invited common teachers on WhatsApp Group.

To protect our participants, we did not write names, only initials, neither have we collected e-mail addresses, phone numbers, or other specific data. In the beginning of the Focus Group, they were informed that our target group is made only of teachers, and they verbally confirmed to be in this specific group. All participants volunteered to participate and were informed on the aim of the meeting and how the data is going to be used. In selecting the participants, we collected professional non-nominal data, because we have considered that they should be from as many different categories as possible, so the attendance list contains mixed profiles of the following categories:

  1. Three teaching in rural areas, seven teaching in urban areas.
  2. Eight teaching in standard classes of “normal” education (out of which one is support teacher for inclusion), two teaching in “special” education schools.
  3. Six teaching in state schools, two teaching in partially founded schools with different specific education (one in Waldorf System, the other in Wurmbrand School) and two in private schools (one kindergarten, one gymnasium).
  4. Two kindergarten teachers, one psychopedagogue, one support teacher, one speech therapist, two primary school teachers, two teachers for humanities and one teacher in STEM.
  5. Seven have tenure jobs and three are qualified substitutes on their positions.
  6. Nine identify as women and one as a man.
  7. Nine had their tenure exam in complex form (both with written exam and class inspection), one had the tenure exam before 2012 with only written exam but has experience with inspections in various moments out of 25 years of class experience.
  8. Two do not have children but are involved in educating blood related children, seven have children in the state and private school system and one has a grandchild in private kindergarten and two graduated children who are now adults.
  9. All participants were from Iași County (North-West of Romania).

The 75-minute Focus Group was recorded throughout the conversations under the protection of anonymity and data confidentiality. All answers were given verbally, and the researcher facilitated the meeting. After all the data was transcribed, the recording was crucial to precisely duplicate the information received without distorting it and to make the data easier to analyse. The discussion’s theme, topic, and research’s goal were explained to the participants. The F.G. had two main sequences:

  1. Brainstorming all the traits, competences, characteristics, and attributes needed by the teacher in front of the class of pupils that could continue the phrase “Teachers need to ____/ be____/ have____”. We did not want to limit them in choosing only attributes, or only competences because our aim in this moment of research is to explore without superficial boundaries.
  2. Organising these traits, competences, characteristics, attributes, activities into comprehensive thematic clusters after finding words comprising the meaning of what they found. To ensure that we didn’t forget any expressions, qualities, skills, characteristics, or attributes, we wrote them all down on a flipchart before classifying them. Finding keywords that group as many terms as feasible into semantically related “clusters” was necessary. We took each term and tried to put it into a category. Others were divided into multiple groups, and some terms were eliminated by being rephrased or given complete synonyms. Argumentation and reasoning were welcomed, but escalating possible conflicts or disputes were not permitted.


3.2. Quantitative methods

On 3-5 February 2023, we gave access to Google Forms Questionnaire and a Spreadsheet to teachers to confirm quantitatively the results that the F.G. has given. The Google Forms questionnaire was named Confirmation and contained an invitation to “Please choose to what extent it is necessary for a teacher to be / have / know / do/ “____” for each of the following traits, competencies, skills, attributes etc.” and all the data from the first part of the F.G. had to be confirmed or not using a scale with 4 steps (1 – not at all necessary – up to 4 – very necessary). The purpose of this instrument was to see what items from the original F.G do not get confirmed by the same teachers after a period of time or by other teachers that did not participate in the F.G. The last item invited all respondents to find new words to finish the phrase, different from all they already evaluated in order to see if we can become aware of new traits, competencies, skills, attributes. At the end of the form there was the invitation and link to the Google Spreadsheet named Categories where they could choose the category/cluster more suitable for each word/group of words. Each respondent had its own column to select proper answers. For each word they had to choose one of the categories highlighted in the F.G. The scope of this instrument was to see to what extent the respondents will choose the same categories as in the F.G.  After the 10 participants in F.G. gave their answers, we used Facebook Chat Group (Teachers in Romania) to disseminate the information so when we closed the access, we had collected answers from 10 original participants and 33 other participants. All instruments and discussions were in Romanian language.

All participants declared to be adults, teachers/educators in the Romanian Educational System with an ongoing work contract and volunteered to answer. Also, it is important to mention that this exploratory research is a first stepping stool for more profound research, under the University steering committee supervision. Parts of the research based on this exploration have already been published with Ethical Committee approval.

Out of 43 participants, the structure of the teacher group that confirmed the data from a quantitative point of view is represented from Fig. 1 to Fig. 4, as follows:

Fig. 1. Respondents teaching levels Fig. 2. Respondents teaching systems
Fig. 3. Respondents teaching area Fig. 4. Respondents teaching contract

Because this is an exploratory study, we did not focus on representativity, but rather on diversity. Also, due to the small number of respondents we do not aim to compare statistically the answers, but rather to obtain a consistent list of representative words for a teacher’s profile and confirm it as clear as possible.


4. Results and discussions

4.1. Focus Group

The first Flipchart list contained 144 different completions for the phrase we brought in discussion. For the sake of the research we organised it alphabetically (before translation) so the list contained: skilful, updated, adaptable, adapted, considerate, funny, analyst, analytical, anticipatory, careful, attention to detail, attentive to the needs of pupils, kind, gentle, good listener, good communicator, good connoisseur of methods, good knowledge of pupils, good connoisseur of development stages, good group manager, good motivator, good observer, good speaker, good organizer, professionally developed, warm, calm, capable, capable of self-irony, capable of giving, capable of good psychological hygiene, capable of positive levelling (not capping the best), makes information accessible, charismatic, coach, team player, competent, communicative, concise, concrete,  connected, consistent (to live, feel and know what they teach), constructive, consultative, aware of the effects of what they say and do, creative, with distributive attention, with common sense, with clarity in thinking, with social skills, with inter-human skills, with well-structured thinking, with perspective, with sense of humour, with tact, responsive, entertaining, with vocation, connoisseur of didactics and pedagogy, curious, decent, dedicated, dignified, trustworthy, open, smart, casual, dexterous, diplomatic, discreet, eager for self-improvement, equidistant, balanced, fair, educated, efficient, efficient in communication, empathic, enthusiastic, erudite, highlights the qualities of pupils, demanding, extrovert, charming, fine evaluator, flexible, determined, involved, inclusive, informed, ingenious, innovative, educated, intuitive, investigative, confident, encouraging, in love with what they do, sympathetic, continuously learning, just in evaluation, leader, lacking apathy,  unprejudiced, logical, model, moral, motivator, intrinsically motivated, diverting, doesn’t take a position of superiority, unbiased, optimistic, organized, original, passionate, improvable, polite, presentable, punctual, patient, realistic, respectful, responsible, inspires, makes their pupils confident, trusts himself, helpful, secure, sensitive, serious, sincere, sociable, solemn, living spirit, masters the methods, hearted, talented, tenacious, tolerant, valuable, vertical, and visionary. Making the list itself under the brainstorming rules took 25 minutes because everybody just spoke their minds and brought new ideas building on top of other ideas.

The difficult part was to put all these word in specific clusters and name the cluster with a word that cand fit in the same proposition “Teachers need to ____/ be____/ have____”. After 35 minutes of discussing, we had the list with the main traits, but participants were still undecided for the affiliation of some terms. Under time pressure some of them convinced others and we finally had a final list. As a result, there are eight basic attributes that can encompass other traits from the initial list, have similar meanings, exhibit synonymy, or be complicated traits that encompass several the traits described in the first list. To summarize now we speak of vocation, empathy, creativity, personal charm, morality, pedagogical tact, subject knowledge, and motivation, as in Fig. 5.

Fig. 5. Focus Group results


Secondly, in addition to the 8 listed above, 3 additional traits, characteristics, skills, attributes, or competences emerged that might be pertinent and are or should be evaluated in the recruitment process, but for which it was not possible to clarify the significance or even the relevance of the meaning through open discussion, only that they are elements or partial synonyms that matter to knowledge and understanding:

  • Erudition
  • The capacity to communicate all information by heart, with exact quotation.
  • The capacity to modify content so that learners can understand it.

We have decided to note them as such, without additional clarification, to avoid starting an unproductive argument. We are aware and noticed that even for other words the consent was not unanimous, because the participants experience is different, and they relate different to words caused by having  different experience as pupils or parents and even because they teach to different aged pupils or different domain of subjects. Even though they tended to explain why their pick was so crucial, we had to reiterate that our goal was to compile a comprehensive list rather than compare choices based on relevance. Another propensity was to argue why something belonged in a category other than the one that was already selected, leading us to classify some words under more than one category. This is the case with patience, which can be found in work and empathy, but isn’t also present in pedagogical strategy and personal charm, because the participants who initially submitted it withdrew it due to time constraints.

For the purpose of this article, we broke the initial flipchart image into clusters, so that it could be more easily apprehended, as it can be seen below in Fig. 6 – Fig. 12:

Fig. 6. Vocation Cluster Fig. 7. Empathy Cluster
Fig. 8. Creativity Cluster Fig. 9. Motivation Cluster
Fig. 10. Personal Charm Cluster Fig. 11. Subject Knowledge Cluster

Fig. 12. Pedagogical Tact Cluster

Fig. 12. Morality Cluster


4.2. Quantitative confirmation for the first list

In the Google Forms Sheet, besides demographical data, we had the following text in the opening of the form: “Please choose to what extent it is necessary for a teacher to ___/to be__ / to have ___ for each of the following traits, competencies, skills, attributes etc.”. After this, each term from the list resulted in the F.G. was followed by a scale from 1 to 4, where 1 was not at all necessary and 4 was very necessary. The sheet took about 3 to 5 minutes to be answered. The last item was an open one with the invitation: “Please fill in any other appropriate terms to complete the sentence that helps us portray the teacher.” After submitting the form, the final message that appeared on screen was: “Thank you for answering! We are waiting for you at link to choose the right categories for each term.” and took them to the categories confirmation form.

The answers distribution was not a normal one, and all respondents choose a majority of 3 and 4 for most items. No item was noted with 1 (“not at all necessary”), so it is appropriate to consider that the 1st research question is confirmed, and the list obtained in the F.G. is confirmed by nonparticipants in FG through having all items appreciated more as “very necessary” or “necessary” in the job.

Thus, we still need to pay attention to some specific answers that bring value, from the exploratory point of view:

  1. Out of 144 items we had 12 of them noted with 2 (”little necessary”) and those are: capable of self-irony (6,97%), with distributive attention (4,65%), with sense of humour (4,65%), with good knowledge of teaching and pedagogy (4,65%), curious (9,30%), discreet (2,32%), demanding (4,65%), extrovert (16,27%), investigative (4,65%), original (4,65%), presentable (2,32%), solemn (2,32%).
  2. At the final question when they were invited to bring some new terms 15/43 draw a line and did not complete anything, 9 answered with variations between “have nothing to add” and “they are already enough” and the rest added the following: worthy, modest,  incorruptible, with broader vision, with contagious passion, transparent (in teacher-parent relation), well paid proportionally with its qualities, playful, cheerful, preventative, that creates a safe space and 2 answered with loving and loving towards children.

To conclude, we not only have confirmed the necessity of the items from the list obtained in the F.G., but we also came closer to the exhaustivity we want, even if some items have similar meaning with the ones from the first list.


4.3. Quantitative confirmation for the category list

Why is it important to find out what is a category’s structure? Well, when we recruit someone for being a teacher we cannot evaluate it in a thousand tests, each showing that the person has or can do but we can make an evaluation for the most important areas necessary in the field of work. So, instead of evaluating adaptability, leadership, intuition etc. each separate, we can evaluate vocation in a way that also responds to all characteristics and competencies included in it. Also, if we really want to evaluate vocation for a candidate is important to know exactly what behaviours, competences, traits are manifested in someone perceived as “with vocation”. Of course, we might have a category of least importance that has only a few manifestations so we might decide that it is less important to evaluate it. Also, there are a few traits that show affiliation to more than one category – patience is one of those, so we might evaluate it more carefully if that tells us that a candidate with patience in showing to have both vocation and pedagogical tact.

For confirmation of the result, we will start with reference to the Focus Group result, but we will do it from two standpoints:

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation.
  2. New items that are brought in the category map.

The proposition we used to help them choose the category was: “When a teacher demonstrates that they are (column A with the words and groups of words) you are thinking that they have (category from the button)”.


4.3.1. Vocation

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation: we confirm that all the items that were in the F.G affiliation for vocation were still taken into consideration and evaluated as belonging in the Vocation Group. The least frequency for each item in the original map is 8 options out of 43.
  2. The final and complete list of items affiliated quantitatively to Vocation Group, with a frequency of more than 10 options out of 43 respondents is: adaptable-17, analyst-11, analytical-10, anticipatory-23, attention to detail-10, good knowledge of pupils-10, good group manager-12, good motivator-14, good observer-19, good speaker-20, good organizer-17, professionally well-10, capable-10, capable of giving-17, capable of positive levelling-19, coach-34, team player-19, communicative-10, connected-16, with social skills-10, with well-structured thinking-10, with vocation-36, dedicated-10, highlights the qualities of pupils-25, fine evaluator-16, involved-11, inclusive-18, ingenious-13, intuitive-19, in love with what they do-17, leader-20, lacking apathy-11, model-18, motivator-16, intrinsically motivated-14, original-14, passionate-10, solemn-10, talented-24, visionary-15.


4.3.2. Empathy

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation: we confirm that all the items that were in the F.G affiliation for empathy were still taken into consideration and evaluated as belonging in the Empathy Group. The least frequency for each item in the original map is 8 options out of 43.
  2. The final and complete list of items affiliated quantitatively to Empathy Group, with a frequency of more than 10 options out of 43 respondents is: considerate-24, careful-18, attentive to the needs of pupils-25, kind-32, gentle-25, good listener-17, good communicator-10, good knowledge of pupils-24, warm-26, calm-25, capable of giving-24, capable of positive-14, aware of the effects of what they say and do-15, with common sense-24, with inter-human skills-17, open-10, empathic-43, highlights the qualities of pupils-15, inclusive-13, intuitive-15, encouraging-18, sympathetic-35, doesn’t take position of superiority-15, patient-37, makes their pupils confident-18, helpful-26, secure-10, sensitive-33, sociable-16, hearted-40, tolerant-41.


4.3.3. Creativity

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation: we confirm that all the items that were in the F.G affiliation for creativity were still taken into consideration and evaluated as belonging in the Creativity Group. The least frequency for each item in the original map is 9 options out of 43.
  2. The final and complete list of items affiliated quantitatively to Creativity Group, with a frequency of more than 10 options out of 43 respondents is: adaptable-13, good speaker-13, constructive-16, creative-33, smart-15, dexterous-17, ingenious-14, innovative-33, diverting-15, original-19, to inspire-13, tenacious-14.


4.3.4. Personal charm

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation: we confirm that all the items that were in the F.G affiliation for personal charm were still taken into consideration and evaluated as belonging in the Personal Charm Group. The least frequency for each item in the original map is 8 options out of 43.
  2. The final and complete list of items affiliated quantitatively to Personal Charm Group, with a frequency of more than 10 options out of 43 respondents is: adapted-13, funny-36, careful-13, attention to detail-13, gentle-16, good motivator-10, good speaker-10, capable of self-irony-32, charismatic-37, communicative-17, concise-13, with distributive attention-13, with social skills-16, with inter-human skills-17, with sense of humor-28, open-17, smart-10, casual-19, diplomatic-24, discreet-27, balanced-14, enthusiastic-19, extrovert-33, charming-43, flexible-18, confident-11, lacking apathy-14, logical-13, model-18, diverting-16, optimistic-17, presentable-28, realistic-17, helpful-15, sociable-18, living spirit-17, visionary-15.


4.3.5. Morality

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation: we confirm that all the items that were in the F.G affiliation for morality were still taken into consideration and evaluated as belonging in the Morality Group. The least frequency for each item in the original map is 7 options out of 43.
  2. The final and complete list of items affiliated quantitatively to Morality Group, with a frequency of more than 10 options out of 43 respondents is: considerate-10, capable of good psychological hygiene-31, aware of the effects of what they say and do-25, with common sense-19, decent-35, dignified-41, trustworthy-42, equidistant-27, balanced-19, fair-26, educated-13, demanding -13, determined-18, just in evaluation-41, leader-13, unprejudiced-17, moral-42, doesn’t take a position of superiority-19, unbiased-27, polite-18, punctual-27, respectful-16, responsible-22, secure-30, serious-20, sincere-21, solemn-32, vertical-40.


4.3.6. Pedagogical Tact

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation: we confirm that all the items that were in the Focus Group affiliation for pedagogical tact were still taken into consideration and evaluated as belonging in the Pedagogical Tact Group. The least frequency for each item in the original map is 8 options out of 43.
  2. The final and complete list of items affiliated quantitatively to Pedagogical Tact Group, with a frequency of more than 10 options out of 43 respondents is: skillful-22, adapted-10, anticipatory-10, attentive to the needs of pupils-11, good listener-18, good communicator-18, good connoisseur of methods-17, good connoisseur of development stages-24, good group manager-22, good motivator-17, good organizer-18, professionally well -18, capable of positive levelling–10, competent-17, concise-27, concrete-20, consistent-26, constructive-16, constructivist-25, consultative-11, with distributive attention-17, with clarity in thinking-17, with social skills-15, with well-structured thinking-17, with tact-26, responsive-19, connoisseur of didactics and pedagogy-19, dexterous-18, educated-10, efficient-33, efficient in communication-16, demanding -10, fine evaluator-18, flexible-10, inclusive-11, encouraging-22, unprejudiced-10, logical-17, motivator-15, unbiased-14, organized-26, presentable-13, realistic-10, respectful-18, inspires-17, makes their pupils confident-22, serious-16, valuable-15.


4.3.7. Subject knowledge

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation: we confirm that all the items that were in the F.G affiliation for subject knowledge were still taken into consideration and evaluated as belonging in the Subject Knowledge Group. The least frequency for each item in the original map is 9 options out of 43.
  2. The final and complete list of items affiliated quantitatively to Subject Knowledge Group, with a frequency of more than 10 options out of 43 respondents is: updated-25, analyst-24, analytical-17, good connoisseur of methods-26, good connoisseur of development stages-10, makes information accesible-18, competent-18, concrete-16, conected-11, consistent (to live, feel, and know what they teach)-18, connoisseur of didactics and pedagogy-24, smart-10, erudite-32, informed-34, educated-24, logical-12, masters the methods-42.


4.3.8. Motivation

  1. Confirmation of the original affiliation: we confirm that all the items that were in the F.G affiliation for motivation were still taken into consideration and evaluated as belonging in the Motivation Group. The least frequency for each item in the original map is 8 options out of 43.
  2. The final and complete list of items affiliated quantitatively to Motivation Group, with a frequency of more than 10 options out of 43 respondents is: capable-21, with perspective-40, curious-24, dedicated-18, eager for self-improvement-34, enthusiastic-23, demanding -10, determined-17, involved-26, innovative-10, educated-17, confident-32, in love with what they do-10, learn continuously-34, lacking apathy-17, motivator-12, intrinsically motivated-28, optimistic-11, organized-15, passionate-26, improvable-26, living spirit-10, tenacious-10, valuable-10, visionary-11.

This confirms our 2nd research question: the categories we found out to be more complex than in the F.G. as respondents were not limited by time or others’ opinions. Take into consideration that writing down all frequencies (not only those above 10/43) would have been too space consuming, but it is a possibility if this research is to be continued.

To highlight the traits that are clearly in only one category and those common to many categories we will use just the most extreme values. Out of 144 traits, characteristics, attributes, competences only empathic (empathy) and charming (personal charm) were assigned unanimous to one category, all while investigative was assigned to each category except empathy, with equal frequency in vocation, morality, and subject knowledge, so if someone is behaving “investigative” will be perceived equally as having vocation, morality, and subject knowledge. In the same situation, with lesser intensity, we have adjusted, with attention to detail, consultative, responsive, educated, efficient in communication, flexible, patient, self-confident, and valuable – each one tagging along 6 out of 8 categories.


5. Conclusions

We reached all objectives and confirmed the research questions in this exploratory study, we outlined many important characteristics, competencies, abilities that are not evaluated or educated in order to have good teachers in our school system. Of course, some are basic human skills, and we know teachers that have these traits but if we really want to reduce risks of recruiting unsuitable candidates, we should take a closer eye into evaluating what makes the difference in teaching/learning process, not only the minimum necessity knowledge aggravated with demands of learning by heart.

We need to further address this research, see exactly what teachers perceive as being evaluated in our recruitment system and in front of class, select what matters most and what is most efficient in terms of behavioural development and improve our selection methods and education of future teachers so that they learn what is relevant and desired, not only information and knowledge, but also coping mechanism, strategies, attitudes, and conduct.

To conclude, yes, it is important to evaluate candidates’ knowledge of the subject, but we might assess it differently if we establish exactly what a teacher needs most: capacity to learn so that they can adapt information for pupils, capacity to learn to reproduce information by heart, capacity to learn and become an erudite are really hanging in the balance. Also, we want to make sure we have the proper tools that also evaluate vocation, empathy, creativity, personal charm, morality, pedagogical tact, and motivation in all their complexity, eventually, each component of each category could be transformed in behaviour that can be educated, trained, and encouraged to be a part of all successful candidates’ profiles. Information in the era of huge speed is less important than modelling threw behaviour, passion, context, equilibria. We should pay extra attention to those qualities and competencies that, once used, transmit more than the mastering of one category of traits but many (how, for example, being “investigative” will transmit the presence of vocation, morality, and subject knowledge) because these are the most efficient ones in changing the general perception of the professional category thus should be thoroughly developed.

We are limited in our exploratory research by language – all instruments and answers were in Romanian language and some translations might be approximative because Romanian language has fluid meaning and multiple understandings and nuances on some words. Another limit is that we did not separate or analyse the differences obtained in the quantitative instruments between teachers with different domain (technical or social subjects) or teachers teaching different aged pupils’ groups (because it might be common sense to understand and value empathy different when you teach pre-schoolers vs. when you teach highschoolers) and we are leaving this part for another more extended research.



This work was co-funded by the European Social Fund, through Operational Programme Human Capital 2014-2020, project number POCU/993/6/13/153322, project title “Educational and training support for PhD pupils and young researchers in preparation for insertion in the labour market”.


About the Authors

Cristina Gavriluță

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7566-6435

Philosophy and Social-Political Faculty of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University from Iași, Romania


Alexandra Apetrăcheoae

ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0655-5536

Philosophy and Social-Political Faculty of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University from Iași, Romania



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