A study of the components of an effective teaching strategy
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Changes in the teacher's direction of a set of standardized class lessons were simulated by a single teacher who had been trained so that he was able to alter his frequency of use of specific teaching moves while holding constant his use of other kinds of moves. The effects of these predetermined changes in teaching behaviour during the course of the lessons were measured in terms of the level of retention and comprehension of 'target pupils' of the concepts and principles which the lessons were designed to teach. Target pupils were defined, and selected to act as experimental subjects, on the basis of their pre-experimental performance on three tests: a test of prerequisite skills, a test of prior knowledge of the topic, and the IPAT Culture Fair non-verbal intelligence test. Each experimental lesson treatment was reproduced and its effects on retention measured in at least three different classrooms. This thesis describes the results of a coordinated series of nine experiments, the last six of which were designed to measure the effects on student retention of predetermined changes in the frequency of use of specific classes of teaching moves during the oral lesson tactic. The results of these experiments indicated that student retention following the highly effective, standard lesson, treatments was dependent in part upon the number of primary questions asked (relative to the number of informing moves used), the number of reaction moves provided following pupil answers, the level of response control provided by primary questions, the level of response control provided by secondary questions, and the number of secondary response opportunities provided by the teacher (relative to the number of terminal informing moves employed). The experimental procedures employed during the investigations differed from those used during most previous studies of teaching behaviour in a number of ways. The studies made use of a single teacher specially trained to simulate the lesson behaviours typically employed by teachers and to manipulate these behaviours in predetermined ways. They made use of a lesson recording and lesson analysis procedure which enabled the characteristics of each lesson treatment to be described and reported. They made use of procedures which permitted the same lesson content to be reproduced in each experimental lesson treatment and they made use of two 'standard lesson' treatments from which all experimental treatments were derived and against which all lesson treatments could be evaluated. The studies specified in advance the population of target pupils for whom the standard lessons were designed and measured treatment effects in terms of the level of retention achieved by samples from this target population. They also provided for the replication, in several different classrooms, of each experimental lesson treatment and made use of the within replications variance, rather than the within subjects variance, as the error term in evaluating the reliability of obtained treatment effects.