T.E.T. Research

We are frequently asked if the outcomes and benefits of Teacher Effectiveness Training (T.E.T.) have been proven by research.  Included here are a number of studies that validate its effectiveness.


Talvio, M., Berg, M., and Lonka, K. (2015). How does Continuing Training on Social Interaction Skills Benefit Teachers? Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences 171, 820-829.

Teachers benefit from social interaction skills, and studying such skills is often recommended. In the present study, we explored whether comprehensive school teachers of Finland participating in the three credit follow-up training learned to use social interaction skills during the intervention. The studied skills were based on Gordon’s theory (2003). The participants were 20 teachers who attended the training, and 20 teachers not attending the training. The effects of the intervention on teachers were examined by using the DCI-instrument (Talvio et al., 2012). Qualitative, theory-driven content analysis was used to classify the data. The statistical differences between the pre-test and post-test scores were examined with the Wilcoxon signed rank test. After the intervention, teachers who participated in the training used significantly more active listening skills and communicated in constructive ways. In the comparison group, no differences between pre- and post-tests were perceived. To conclude, the teachers’ course on social interaction skills appeared to achieve its goals, since the teachers learned to apply the studied skills during the intervention. This study adds to the development of continuing teacher training.

Talvio, M., Lonka, K., Komulainen, E., Kuusela, M., and Lintunen, T. (2015). The development of teachers’ responses to challenging situations during interactions training. Teacher Development 19 (1) 97-115.

Our previous investigations indicated that the teachers after participating in Teacher Effectiveness Training (TET) used statistically significantly more listening, confrontation I –messages, and messages promoting agency. In addition, statistically significant increases in Positive I-messages among secondary school teachers and a decrease in Roadblocks among elementary school teachers were found after the TET training. This study explored how the descriptions of teachers in challenging situations changed during TET by focusing on Listening, Positive feedback, Promoting agency and Confrontation in which the statistical significant change was perceived in our previous study. The participants were 43 teachers from one elementary and one secondary school participating in TET and 26 secondary school teachers not participating in TET. The data from the DCI questionnaire were collected twice within a six month period. A new instrument, Dealing with Challenging Interaction (DCI), was developed for this study by the authors. DCI consisted of seven cases where teachers were asked to describe their possible actions in typical interaction situations in their work. Each task consisted of a description of a case and an open-ended question about how to manage it. Quantitative content analysis was used to analyze the data. Ten response categories emerged from an analysis of the answers. After participating in Teacher Effectiveness Training (TET) instead of generalized labels and subjective interpretations of the students’ behaviour, the teachers learned to describe the perceived behaviour and express their feelings and concrete consequences of the behaviour. They were also more likely to support students’ autonomy and agency by giving room to students by increased listening or by asking students to participate actively in problem solving. This study deepens our understanding of the nature of the qualitative shift in teachers’ thinking during interaction training.

Talvio, M., Ketonen, E., and Lonka, K. (2014). How long lasting are the effects of training on interaction skills? Teachers’ sample. Proceedings of 2014 International Conference on Advanced Education and Management (ICAEM2014), 125–131.

Social interaction skills are emphasized as key tools in modern learning psychology. Research, however, is scarce how teachers study and learn these skills. The aim of the present study was to investigate how long lasting are the effects of teachers’ training on social interaction skills after nine months of completing the training. In their descriptions most participants expressed the ways of benefitting the skills studied on the training. In addition, almost all the teachers would have recommended the training to their colleagues. Even though training on social interaction skills is often recommended, there is not much evidence about its long lasting effectiveness. This study adds to both theoretical and practical development of continuing training.

Talvio, M., Lonka, K., Komulainen, E., Kuusela, M., and Lintunen, T. (2013). Revisiting Gordon’s Teacher Effectiveness Training: An Intervention Study on Teachers’ Social and Emotional Learning. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 11 (3), 693–716.

This study explored the development of social and emotional learning skills by using Teacher Effectiveness Training as an intervention with two groups of teachers. The effects of TET intervention on teachers were examined by utilizing Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick’s model (2006), since we found it important to look at various levels of the outcomes of the intervention, including the participants’ reactions, knowledge, knowledge application (skills) and overall well-being.The teachers participating in TET were class teachers (n=20) from one elementary school and subject-matter teachers (n=23) from one secondary school in Finland. The comparison group comprised subject-matter teachers (n=26) from one secondary school who did not participate in TET. Both the statistical differences of the post-test scores were examined with dependent sample one-way ANOVA. In comparison group, no differences between pre- and post-test measurement were found. Among participants, reactions towards TET were positive. Further, there were significant results at two other levels: both knowledge and knowledge application improved. TET training appeared to reach its goals, since teachers learned to apply the SEL skills during the intervention.

Talvio, M., Lonka, K., Komulainen, E., Kuusela, M., and Lintunen, T. (2012). The development of the Dealing with Challenging Interactions (DCI) method to evaluate teachers’ social interaction skills. Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences 69, 621–630.

The Dealing with Challenging Interaction (DCI) method was developed to measure social interaction skills of TET teacher study groups. The participants were 70 teachers from three schools. The results of the supplementary instrument were equivalent to the cluster analysis maintaining criterion oriented validity of the method developed. The DCI appeared to be a reliable tool to measure teachers’ development during their TET course.

Dembo, M.H., Sweitzer, M., & Lauritzen, P. (1985). An evaluation of group parent education: Behavioral, P.E.T., and Adlerian programs. Review of Educational Research, 55(2):155-200.

Presents an extensive review of three group parent education programs, each of which has applications to educational settings.

Aspy, D., & Roebuck, F. (1983). Researching person-centered issues in education. In C.R. Rogers, Freedom to learn for the 80s. Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill.

A study of 600 teachers and 10,000 students showed that the students of teachers who were trained to offer high levels of empathy, congruence, and positive regard missed fewer days of school, had increased scores on self-concept measures, made greater gains on academic achievement measures, presented fewer disciplinary problems, committed fewer acts of vandalism to school property, increased their IQ test scores, made gains in creativity scores, and were more spontaneous and used higher levels of thinking.

The study also showed that these benefits were cumulative; the more years in succession the students had a high functioning teacher, the greater gains when compared with students of low functioning teachers.

Bear, G.C. (1983). Usefulness of Y.E.T. and Kohlberg’s approach for guidance. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, 17(3):221-225.

Examines the usefulness of these two models of affective, or values education, and concludes that gains in self-esteem are higher among the Effectiveness Training participants.

Chanow-Gruen, K.J., & Doyle, R. (1983). The counselor’s consultative role with teachers, using the T.E.T. model. Humanistic Education and Development, 22(1):16-24.

Concludes that T.E.T., a program specifically designed to enhance communication, human relationships, and conflict resolution, has much to offer.

Beck, M.A., & Roblee, K. (1982). Teacher Effectiveness Training: A technique for increasing student-teacher interaction. College Student Journal, 16(2):131-133.

Tested a T.E.T. training program with 20 teachers to see if positive teacher-student interactions could be increased. Communication skills did increase over the training period.

Dennehy, M. N. (1981). An assessment of Teacher Effectiveness Training on improving the teacher-student relationship, maintaining classroom discipline, and increasing teacher and student capacity for problem solving. Dissertation Abstracts International Online, 42/02, 113. (Order No. AAD81-15864)

Data suggest that T.E.T.-trained teachers can be expected to increase significantly behaviors demonstrating a positive teacher-student relationship-namely, acceptance of feelings, use of encouragement, and a decrease in such activities as giving directions and the use of negative criticism.

Chanow, K.J. (1980). “Teacher Effectiveness Training”: An assessment of the changes in self-reported attitudes and student-observed attitudes of junior high school teachers. Dissertation Abstracts International Online, 41/08, 95 (Order # AAD81-02538)

Results revealed that the teachers in the T.E.T.-trained group showed a significant gain in non-authoritarian attitudes and made significant changes in the direction toward more desirable student-teacher relationships.

Cleveland, B. (1980). Active listening yields better decisions. Social Studies, 71(5):218-221.

Concludes that teachers will be amazed at the high level of discussion that can develop in classes where teachers use active listening.

Nummela, R. Avila, D. (1980). Self-concept and Teacher Effectiveness Training. College Student Journal, 14(3): 314-316.

Elementary students of teachers given Teacher Effectiveness Training showed a significant gain in positive self-concept over students who did not receive this instruction.

Aspy, D. (1977). Evaluation of Teacher Effectiveness Training in the Newport News, Virginia School District. National Consortium for Humanizing Education.

A study of T.E.T. found the following results: students taught by teachers with T.E.T. demonstrated significant gains in their math and verbal skills (they achieved a significantly higher mean on the Gates McGinitie Reading test than did students in similar classes with teachers who had no such training and achieved scores on the SRA Mathematics Achievement test that were significantly higher than those achieved by comparison students who were taught by teachers who did not receive T.E.T. training). In addition, the pupils of T.E.T. trained teachers were absent 30% fewer times than was predicted for the program based on the three previous years absentee rate.

Regarding teachers who received T.E.T. training, the training improved significantly their ability to: identify an interchangeable interpersonal response, and formulate an interchangeable response. Since these skills have been previously related to significant gain in student achievement, it is assumed that the trainees improved some of the skills which will facilitate student learning. And, based on anecdotal records, it appears that attitudes toward the school environment (climate) were affected by T.E.T.

The data suggests that T.E.T. programs are a positive factor in the areas investigated. The T.E.T. program resulted in changes in teachers’ classroom behavior as well as improved performance for students. This suggests that this program translated into positive results which can be transferred from teachers to students. These findings support two hypotheses: 1) teachers’ classroom behavior can be changed through systematic training and, 2) students’ classroom performance can be enhanced when their teachers receive training in the T.E.T. skills.

Pedrini, D.T., Pedrini, C., Egnoski, E.J., Heater, J.D., & Nelson, M.D. (1976). Pre-, post- and follow-up testing of Teacher Effectiveness Training. Education, 96(3):240-244.

Following T.E.T. training of 20 teachers, the study showed significant differences between pre-testing and post-testing, and between pre-testing and follow-up testing.

Note: some of these research studies were reported in the book Classroom Management by C.M. Charles.

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