Analyzing Teacher Prompting, Questioning Skills and Other Essential Skills

As a physical education teacher, I know I have a lot to constantly be working on to improve the way I deliver a quality lesson.There are a variety of pedagogy practices that we know of from our work at universities and staying current within in our field. However, we do not always know the best way to evaluate these practices. The use of event recording will uncover a variety of ways to improve our practices and thereby improve our students’ ability to become physically literate.

For the fourth installment of the systematic observation series on PHYSEDagogy I will be discussing how to evaluate teacher prompting, teacher questioning skills, and other essential teaching skills through event recording analysis. As a review, event recording analysis allows you to analyze teacher and student behaviors by reviewing a recorded lesson and tracking specific types of behaviors (i.e. teacher feedback). Please look at my blog on Analyzing Teacher Feedback for more on event recording in teacher feedback.The attached spreadsheet then allows you to calculate the rate at which the specific behaviors being assessed occur. Specific directions for using this spreadsheet are included at the end of this post.

Defined below are different types of teacher prompting, teacher questioning skills and other essential teaching skills that can be analyzed through event analysis. These definitions were found in the Behavior Category Definitions packet given to me by Dr. Hans van der Mars.

Teacher Prompting

Prompting is a huge part of helping students find success within all learning activities. Positive prompts will leave students reflecting and yearning to try again. Teacher prompting and cues refer to what the learner should try on the next practice opportunity.

  • Verbal technique prompts/cues: specific verbal reminders for previously acquired techniques that can be used to produce a subsequent student response. These generally occur right prior to the next practice attempt or during the practice trials that are continuous. For example, saying to a student who is dribbling the ball, “get into a low athletic position.”
  • Verbal tactical props/cues: specific verbal reminders for previously acquired tactical moves that can be used to produce a subsequent student response. For example, during a badminton match the teacher would say, “make sure you vary the spot you hit the birdie to keep your opponent guessing.”
  • Verbal management behavior prompts/cues: specific verbal reminders for previously acquired routine behaviors that can be used to produce subsequent student responses. For example, the teacher telling the students, “don’t forget to show me the ready position when I say freeze.”
  • Verbal social behavior props/cues: specific verbal reminders for previously acquired general class behavior that can be used to produce subsequent student responses. For example, the teacher reminding students to, “ try to avoid the negative comments to your classmates.”
  • Verbal promotion of in class moderate to vigorous physical activity: promotes in class physical activity/fitness or motor skill engagement by prompting or encouraging physical or fitness activity during the interval. For example, the teacher could simply encourage and praise students while they are being physically active.
  • Verbal prompts to promote physical activity engagement beyond class/school: verbal reminders to encourage students to engage in PA outside of PE class or during out of school time. For example, the teacher could say “don’t forget to practice your soccer dribbling skills when you get home tonight.”

Teacher Questioning Skills

Part of what we do as physical educators is challenge students to think deeper about what they are doing. Teacher questioning skills engage students to cognitively think about the particular learning objective they are practicing. Teacher questions require a student response.

  • Tactical question: a verbal statement by the teacher that requires a student response regarding a tactical dimension of gameplay. For example, asking students, “what is the best position to receive the ball in?”
  • Technique question: a verbal statement by the teacher that requires a student response regarding technique. For example, asking students, “what will give you the most backspin on the ball?”
  • Managerial/behavior question: a statement by the teacher that requires the students’ response regarding non-subject matter related to dimensions of the lesson. For example, asking students, “after you get your partner, what do you do next?”

Other Essential Teaching Skills

Teacher demonstrations, use of first names, verbal desists, and verbal interaction with particular types of students are also critical to student success and engagement in any lesson.

  • Use of demonstrations: a display of technique, tactical feature and/or management task by the teacher or student in support of a verbal instruction regarding the skill. For example, the teacher showing students what the locomotor movement skipping looks like.
  • Use of first names: using the first names of students in connection with a response of the student. For example, the teacher could say, “Laura, good job.”
  • Use of verbal desists: teacher verbal used in an effort to terminate students’ inappropriate or misbehavior. For example, saying “Laura, make sure not to sit on the basketball.”
  • Verbal interaction with particular types of students: any instance where the teacher interacts with an individual student of a particular sex skill level, racial/ethnic origin, socioeconomic background or cultural origin. For example, boy versus girl or Asian versus Hispanic. Note: For more on this read my blog, Analyzing Race, Gender and Skill Level in Physical Education.

How to Use the Event Recording Spreadsheet

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 10.26.38 AMThe event recording spreadsheet (Excel and Numbers) I’ve included with this post will help you to analyze different aspects of evaluating teacher prompting, teacher questioning skills, and other essential teaching skills through event recording analysis while teaching. First, refer definitions listed above and select four that you would like to concentrate on. Next, have a colleague or administrator video record your lesson, making sure they follow you as you move around the gym. Also, make sure to wear a wireless microphone so you can hear all of the feedback you are giving students. After you finish your recording, simply download the spreadsheet and type the specific teacher prompting, teacher questioning skills, and other essential teaching skills you desire to analyze in the cells labeled Behavior 1, 2, 3 and 4. As you watch your video, record each time you use one ofScreen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.36.26 AM the chosen categories listed above. At the end, type the total number of times you used the specific category in the Total Feedback column. Finally, add the total number of minutes for the observation in the Total Time column for each category. This will be used to calculate the rate at which you used a specific category during your lesson.

For my next blog in this series on Systematic observation I will be discussing analyzing student behavior in physical education.

Connect with me on Twitter if you have any questions: @collinbrooksie.

10 Comments on “Analyzing Teacher Prompting, Questioning Skills and Other Essential Skills

  1. I work with the SWIS DATA and has a lot of options on assessing and utilizing students off task behavior.
    Well done.

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  6. Great use of event recording to improve teacher effectiveness. I can’t wait to share this with my teachers!

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