A study to determine if a modified Flanders Interaction Analysis diagnosis and critique with volunteer faculty members in lectures at two German medical universities lead to improvements in teaching as judged by student and expert evaluations

April 2008


Harold C. Lyon, Jr, (LMU and TU), Thomas Brendel (LMU), Alexandra Hesse (TU), Matthias Holzer (LMU), Max Mornau (TU) and Martin R. Fischer (LMU)




Background: Ludwig-Maximilians-University and Technical University Munich have experienced dynamic curriculum reform. Interactive learning has replaced lectures (reduced from 70% to 30%). Research shows that “empathic,”[1] more “indirect” teachers who encourage “student talk” tend to be more effective than “direct” teachers.[2],[3] The Flanders Interaction Analysis has been shown to be reliable for diagnosing teaching.[4] Work Done: We modified the Flanders Interaction Analysis by adding measures of empathy (Jefferson Empathy Scale [JES] among other tools)[5],[6] and measures of teaching-organization[7]. We stratified 22 volunteer lecturers from LMU and TU by teaching experience into two matched groups: One had an active intervention after their lecture in the winter semester, the other group didn’t. Our intervention consisted of an expert critique of their lectures based on our modified Flanders Interaction Analysis. Student and expert evaluations of both group’s lectures were compared. We compared the JES done by faculty members with students’ and experts’ evaluations of empathy. Conclusions/Take-home messages: 1) Our modified Flanders Interaction Analysis showed high inter-rater reliability. 2) Active intervention motivated faculty members to improve lectures. 3) Empathy-measures by experts and students correlate. 4) Both groups will be reanalyzed in summer semester to confirm that our experimental-group-intervention improves teaching.

[1] Hojat, Mohammadreza: Empathy in Patient Care: Antecedents, Development, Measurement, and Outcomes. Springer: 2006. pp. 1-425.

[2] Amidon E and Flanders NA. The Role of the Teacher in the Classroom (Revised Edition). St. Paul, Minnessota,  Paul S. Amidon and Assoc. Inc. 1971.

[3] Kishi, Keiko Imai, “Communication Patterns of Health Teaching and Information Recall,” Nursing Research, July-August, 1983. Vo. 32, No. 4 pp. 230-231.

[4] Flanders NA, Teacher Influence, Pupil Attitudes and Achievement, Washington, DC.: (US Office of Education Research Monograph # 12). U.S. Government Printing office, 1965.

sAspy, David N. Towards a Technology for Humanizing Education. Champaogn, Illinois: Research Press Co. 1971

[6] Aspy, David N. and Roebuck, Flora N. “The Relationship of Teacher-Offered Conditions of Meaning to Behaviors Described by Flanders Interaction Analysis. Education Vol. 95. No 3. pp 216-220.

[7] Carkhuff, RR and Berenson BG. Beyond Counseling and Therapy. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. 1967