Task 1- How can you alter your styles of teaching to meet the demands of different practice and competitive situations for individual, racket and team activities? Researchers have analysed approaches to teaching and identified a number of different styles. A gentleman called Woods (1998) distinguished three of these styles and he called them the Command style, the Reciprocal style and the Discovery/Problem solving style. These styles can all be adopted to efficiently teach a class and can change throughout the lesson or training session depending on the objective and the pupil’s responses.
The main feature of Command style is that ‘this style is thought to inhibit cognitive learning as thinking and questioning are not encouraged by the teacher.’ It is very teacher directed and regimented. Everything is controlled and the pupils are all doing the same thing. It is based upon a behaviourist idea of stimulus response and leaves students with no individual choice. Reciprocal style is based upon cognitive theories of learning and allows learner more freedom than Command. The pupils must work with each other in order to improve individual performances by comparing, contrasting, concluding and communicating. ‘The major difference between command and reciprocal teaching is that the students assume more responsibility for observing the performance of their peers and providing feedback on each attempt.’ (Mosston and Ashworth, 1986) (This style is not recommended for complete beginners.)
The discovery/problem solving style allows individual creativity but also requires basic background knowledge of the sport and some basic skills. Brown and Wragg (1993) thought that ‘children should be involved in, rather than being passive recipients of an explanation.’ The teacher must be prepared to step in and guide if the performer runs out of strategies or looks to be developing bad habits. During a lesson a teacher should analyse the variables in each situation so that performance and motivation can be fully optimised. Age, type of activity, level of performer, environmental factors all affect the choice of style. Therefore some sports are restricted to being taught primarily in one style.
To teach an individual sport such as swimming to a year nine class, I would preferably use command style as it is good to use if the teacher needs to keep good discipline, if the group is large or even if the situation is dangerous. For example, when you need the entire groups attention and focus for their safety. It would be completely pointless to adopt a problem style as the class would have too much responsibility and would not know how to respond to it. ‘The learner is not allowed to develop responsibility for his or her own learning.’ Also there is not much feedback to individuals.
When teaching a racket sport such as tennis to a class of A-Level students, I think that it is best to use reciprocal style as it helps the individuals to try and achieve their personal bests. Reciprocal style tends to be favoured by most teachers that I’ve studied and if I was about to use it then I would need to make sure my students were able and motivated and most importantly, trustworthy to use their skills against each other. I could then move among the students helping to give additional assistance and clarifying the task if necessary.
Finally for team activities such as a G.C.S.E netball lesson I would use discovery style. For example when pupils are practising their passing or shooting. I wouldn’t have to supervise them permanently and they could assess their own abilities and help each other to improve. This style is also a very good tool for pupils to set standards and goals which they can work on achieving – they then learn through understanding.
As problem solving relies upon the student knowing a little about the activity, I feel that it is best to use it in an advanced group such as a G.C.S.E group, where they can use communication and solid skills. For example, in a game of doubles tennis, if there was the decision of who should take a shot straight down the centre of the court and how exactly they should position themselves on the court when a shot is about to be returned. It would mean that the teacher would then be able to work more closely with the less able students and teach them reciprocally. However, I do not think that this style would be appropriate for an individual sport such as 100m run in athletics. This is where you would want the pupil to learn the stages correctly and stay focused. With ‘discovery’ they could easily go off task.
Mosston and Ashworth devised a spectrum of teaching styles, which describes the options available in the interaction between teaching behaviour and learning behaviour. The more decisions which are made by the teacher, the more authoritarian the style. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages and should be chosen bearing in mind the factors earlier mentioned. I think that successful teachers can use a wide range of styles and know how to adapt them according to the environmental circumstances and the different needs of the performers.