Title page for ETD etd-04012008-111116

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Whitaker, Jennifer A.
URN etd-04012008-111116
Title Analyses of High School Band Students' and Directors' Perceptions of Verbal and Nonverbal Teaching Behaviors
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cornelia Yarbrough Committee Chair
Charles Teddlie Committee Member
James Byo Committee Member
Melissa Katia Madsen Committee Member
James Honeycutt Dean's Representative
  • qualitative
  • quantitative
  • mix methods
  • case studies
Date of Defense 2008-03-14
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this study was to document and explore the use and perception of verbal and nonverbal teaching behaviors of selected high school band directors. Participants were six successful high school band directors and members of their top-performing ensembles. Directors were videotaped during rehearsals. Videos were subsequently analyzed. Systematic observation data consisted of frequencies and percentages of conductor magnitude, filler use, and time spent on and off podium; frequency and time of each sequential pattern component; and instructional pacing.

Directors and students viewed and rated video excerpts of their directors using 10-point Likert scales. Participants then completed a 22-item questionnaire, and selected students and all directors participated in interviews. Results showed that high school band directors were more disapproving than approving, mostly used complete sequential patterns, spent more time in student response than teacher talk, used fillers, spent a large amount of time moving, used more strict than expressive conducting gestures, had a mostly neutral facial expression, varied the pitch of their voice, spoke steadily with a normal voice volume, spent the most time looking at the score, and averaged longer mean student activity times than teacher activity times.

Student evaluations showed that excerpts containing drill, all strict conducting, and more teacher talk than student response were rated lowest. Excerpts containing more or relatively equal amounts of student response and teacher talk, some expressive conducting, and 57% or lower levels of neutral facial expressions were rated highest. In two cases, a significant difference in excerpt ratings by principal instrument was found. Student interview results revealed a respect for director’s musical abilities and knowledge regardless of personal liking or disliking of director, a desire for more praise, and the concept of disapproving feedback as a “critique.”

Director perceptions were similar but generally more critical than student perceptions. Directors rated excerpts containing high levels of neutral facial expressions and more or equal amounts of teacher talk than student response highest. They rated excerpts containing no feedback, more disapproval, or equal amounts of disapproval and approval lowest. Director perceptions did not consistently match observed events. Student perceptions were sometimes more accurate.

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