Expert Golf Instructors' Student-Teacher Interaction Patterns

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to identify the dominant instructional interaction patterns of expert golf instructors. Instructors (N = 22) were selected by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Teaching based on the following criteria: (a) 10 or more years of golf teaching experience, (b) LPGA certification, (c) awards received for the quality of their instruction, and (d) peer and student recognition for outstanding teaching. The instructors were videotaped teaching a 60-min lesson to a novice college-age woman with no previous golf experience. The tapes were then analyzed using both the Cheffers Adaptation of Flanders' Interaction Analysis System (CAFIAS) and a qualitative analysis. Based on the findings from descriptive statistics and correlation analyses of the CAFIAS data and qualitative data analysis, several trends were identified. First, the dominant instructional behavior of these teachers was providing information to the students using both explanations and demonstrations. Second, the prevailing instructional interaction pattern of the expert teachers included extensive explanations and demonstrations followed by directions. The student followed the directions by practicing skills and received praise for their achievements. Third, high rates of directions and praise from teachers prompted student practice. Fourth, engaging students in subject-related discussion was positively correlated with teachers' questions but negatively correlated with teachers' criticisms. Finally, teacher acceptance was positively correlated with student analytic behavior, while teachers' talk negatively correlated with students initiating discussions.

Key words: expert teachers, golf instruction, instructional expertise, teaching behavior


It seems everyone holds an opinion as to the constitution of expert teaching. Perhaps because more than with any other profession, people witness the work of teachers since their earliest days as school students. Surprisingly, however, the scientific analysis of expert teaching, particularly in sport and physical activity, has received far less effort and enthusiasm than the formulation of personal opinions and conjecture regarding instructional expertise.

Educational researchers have focused their attention on the closely related concept of teacher effectiveness rather than teaching expertise. The quest to systematically identify the behavior of teachers who promote the greatest increases in student achievement has a storied history. Those who study the practices of effective teachers appear to have made progress in identifying and understanding the behavioral patterns and practices of those who teach well (Floden, 2001; Graber, 2001). One reason cited for these gains was the development and application of systematic observation in the study of teaching (Evertson & Green, 1986). Flanders (1970) described a series of studies using an instrument designed to link student-teacher interaction with student attitudes and achievement. Other researchers were also effective in connecting teacher-student interaction to measures of student learning and achievement (Denham & Lieberman, 1980; Soar; 1968).

Following the trend in classroom instruction, those who studied sport and physical activity instruction were quick to adopt the methods of systematic observation in studying the impact of teaching behavior on student learning (Bain, 1996). The research goal was to develop an empirical base for the practice of sport pedagogy (van der Mars, 1996). Consistent advancements have been made in linking teaching activities (e.g., student-engaged time and class management) with teacher effectiveness and student learning in public school physical education (Silverman, 1991).

While there has been substantial investigation into effective teaching, there has not been the same vigor in studying expert teachers. The lack of a clear, accepted definition may be one reason for the lack of sustained, systematic research on instructional expertise (Graber, 2001). …