A comparison of expert and novice golf instructors from a communication perspective
Webster, Collin Andrew
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The purpose of this study was to compare expert and novice golf instructors from a communication perspective. Specifically, expert and novice communication concerns, behaviors, and strategies were investigated, as was the impact of expert and novice instructional communication on student recall and perceptions of learning. Four experts and four novices were selected for participation based on a theory of expertise in teaching (Berliner, 1986; 1994). Questionnaires were used to solicit the instructors’ communication concerns and to collect background information on the instructors’ teaching experiences and credentials. Data in regard to the instructors’ communication behaviors and strategies were collected by videotaping each instructor teach a golf lesson to a student and, directly afterward, interviewing the instructor through stimulated recall about her communication strategies during the lesson. Telephone interviews were conducted with each instructor to further inquire about her communication behaviors and strategies when teaching. Student perceptions of expert and novice instructional communication were gathered via a telephone interview with each student approximately two weeks following her or his golf lesson. Data were analyzed using techniques for data management and reduction described by Huberman and Miles (1994). Trustworthiness was addressed through data triangulation, member checks, and an audit trail. Quantitative and qualitative differences emerged between expert and novice communication concerns, behaviors, and strategies. The experts had more concerns, used more behaviors, and engaged more strategies than the novices as communicators when teaching. In addition, the novices primarily expressed concerns about clearly communicating their understanding of golf to the student, whereas the experts were mostly concerned about being effective listeners when teaching. Similarly, the novices’ communication behaviors and strategies centered on conveying lesson content from the perspective of the teacher, whereas the experts’ behaviors and strategies centered on gathering information from the student and constructing instructional messages based on that information. Support was found for a direct relationship between communication concerns and instructional behaviors of experts and novices. The experts’ students recalled different teacher behaviors than the novices’ students, but both groups of students primarily linked perceptions of learning with behaviors the instructors’ used in relation to the constructs of immediacy and clarity.