Analyzing Student Behavior
It’s human nature to quickly blame an external source when something goes awry within your class as a teacher. I often catch myself wondering why students are not listening to me as opposed to what I can do as a teacher to change this. Students’ behaviors in class can be seen as an indication of whether or not the lesson being taught is engaging and developmentally appropriate. For the fifth installment of my systematic observation series on PHYSEDagogy I will be discussing using event recording to analyze behaviors exhibited by students.
Defined below are several student behavior categories that can be analyzed through event recording. The definitions came from the behavior category definitions packet given to me by Dr. Hans van der Mars.
Behaviors Exhibited by Students
Appropriate motor engagement (MA): student is actively and appropriately involved in subject matter orientated to motor activities. An example of this would be doing curl ups during a fitness lesson. Appropriate motor engagement can be analyzed using time and/or frequency. This is because it can take longer to complete some skills than others. Therefore, MA can be separated into two categories: academic learning time and opportunity to respond.
- Academic learning time (ALT): the time a student spends engaging in a subject matter motor task in such a way as to produce a high degree of success. An example of this would be the time in which a student skips during the duration of an activity. A great way to measure engagement in academic learning time would be the use of the time analysis form. Refer to my first blog on systematic observation entitled Time Analysis. This blog will give you the steps on how to measure engagement into academic learning time.
- Opportunity to respond (OTR): The frequency of appropriate trials and performing a subject matter motor task. An example of this would be throwing a ball during a lesson focus. Opportunities to respond are short in duration and therefore best measured by the frequency in which they occur. Use the event recording spreadsheet below to analyze opportunity to respond.
Student on task behavior (ON): student is engaged appropriately in caring out an assigned non-subject matter task. These most likely will occur during managerial, transitional and organizational tasks. An example of this would be standing back to back with a partner when the teacher says go.
Student off task behavior (OF): Student is either not engaged in an activity he or she should be engaged in or is engaged in activity other than the one he or she should be engaged in. An example of this would be talking when the teacher is giving instructions.
Cognitive (Co): The student is a appropriately engaged in the cognitive task related to the subject matter content. An example of this would be a student engaging in a peer-to-peer discussion on the lesson focus.
How to Use the Event Recording Spreadsheet to Analyze Student Behaviors
The event recording spreadsheet (Excel and Numbers) I’ve included with this post will help you to analyze student behavior through event recording analysis while teaching. The steps to analyze student behavior are different than teacher behavior. First, select a specific student you would like to watch. Second, 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 the student as he or she movesaround 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 student behaviors 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 of 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.
There are various ways analyze different aspects of our teaching through event recording. For more on event recording review the following blogs: Analyzing Teacher Feedback and Analyzing Teacher Prompting, Questioning Skills and Other Essential Skill
For the next blog in my systematic observation series I will be discussing methods to analyze signals for attention in a physical education setting.
Connect with me on Twitter if you have any questions: @collinbrooksie.