Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

Pre-Athletic Training Students Perform Better on Written Tests with Teacher-Centered Instruction

Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

Pre-Athletic Training Students Perform Better on Written Tests with Teacher-Centered Instruction

Article excerpt

There are many different methods of instruction used in the academic setting. Little experimental research exists examining which mode is more effective in educating students. The purpose of this study was to compare scores obtained on the written and the practical examinations of students on a single topic taught through either a teacher-centered format or a student-centered format. A 2 × 2 × 6 factorial design was used in this study. Independent variables were teaching style (teacher-centered instruction and student-centered instruction), order (first or second), and learning style (competitive, collaborative, participant, avoidant, dependent, and independent). The dependent variables were the scores obtained on a written and a practical examination of gait and crutch fitting. Forty pre-athletic training students in their first semester of their first year (16 males, 24 females) participated in this study. The Grasha-Reichmann Student Learning Style Scale was used to determine the learning styles of the subjects. The total subject pool was divided randomly into two groups, one taught by teacher-centered instruction and the other by student-centered instruction. Both groups took the same written and practical examinations, and scores were recorded. A 2 × 2 × 6 fixed model multivariate analysis of variance was performed. A difference was observed for teaching style (F^sub 2,21^ = 5.35, p = 0.01), on the combination of written and practical exam scores. A difference also was observed on the written examination scores with the teacher-centered format producing better results (p < 0.05); but teacher-centered format scores did not differ from student-centered scores on the practical examination (p > 0.05). Teacher-centered instruction improves written test performance compared with student-centered instruction. When initially teaching a skill, direct teacher involvement may help students learn and perform better. J Allied Health. 2004; 33:200-204.

PEOPLE POSSESS CERTAIN qualities, such as personality, learning strategies, and communication skills, that aid in their abilities to learn information effectively. These qualities define a person's preference for learning, or their learning style.

Learning style has been defined as "personal qualities that influence a student's ability to acquire information, to interact with peers and the teacher, and otherwise participate in learning experiences."1 Learning style inventories commonly are used to determine a person's preferred learning style.

The Grasha-Reichmann Student Learning Styles Scale (GRSLSS) is an inventory used extensively in higher education and in educational research to determine a student's learning style. The GRSLSS inventory was designed to identify and categorize the students' preferences in working with peers and the instructor and the way students approach classroom tasks. It categorizes students into one of six types of learners: competitive, collaborative, participant, avoidant, dependent, and independent.1-3 Characteristics of these learning styles are summarized in Table 1.

In addition to identifying students' preferred learning style, inventories have been designed to determine educators' preferred teaching style. One particular inventory, Teaching Style Inventory,1,4 combines five individual styles-expert, formal authority, personal model, facilitator, and delegator-into four different clusters or combinations of styles. The clusters are set on a continuum where at one end is the teacher-centered cluster comprising expert and formal authority, and the other end is the student-centered cluster comprising facilitator and delegator. An instructor who employs a teacher-centered style has complete control of the classroom. He or she uses technology-based presentations, emphasizes examinations and grades, and leads class discussions and questions. Conversely, an instructor who uses more of a student-centered form of instruction allows the students to have most of the control in the classroom. …

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