"Spectrum of Teaching Styles: The Institute, Current Research, and Directions for Future Research"

In 2024, the Spectrum Institute had a symposium titled "Spectrum of Teaching Styles: The Institute, Current Research, and Directions for Future Research" at the AIESEP Finland conference. There board members and colleagues gave five presentations on what we are currently doing and what the institute's future plans are. Below is information about each of the presentations along with links to the presentation recordings which are on our YouTube channel.

Presentation 1 - “Spectrum Institute for Teaching and Learning (SITL): Promoting Research and Collaboration” N. Digelidis, M. Byra, M. Espada, R. Deng-Yau Shy, & Feng-Min Wei

Background information about this presentation: The Spectrum (Mosston & Ashworth, 2008), recognized worldwide, has been embraced in physical education for over 50 years as an instructional structure for teaching in schools, for designing and delivering courses in PETE programs, and for conducting research on teaching and learning.  Over the past 50 years, much research has been conducted around the Spectrum of Teaching Styles, and today the number of research studies published in peer-review journals continues to grow.  It is an instructional framework that is receiving a lot of attention around the world.  The potential of Spectrum as an educational tool is not yet fully explored, and there is a need for further research in many areas. This symposium is planned to focus on the promotion of further pedagogical and scientific research on the Spectrum.  The aim of this introductory presentation is to explain the mission and initiatives that have been deployed to promote and disseminate further research with the Spectrum of teaching styles and collaboration among colleagues around the world.  Special attention will be directed towards the SITL Educational Curriculum currently being unveiled in the form of online courses/modules.

The recording for this presentation can be found on our YouTube page here: 

Presentation 2 - "Reciprocal Style of Teaching – What We Know and Directions for Future Research."  M. Byra

Background information about this presentation: 

The aim of this presentation is to examine some of the past and most current research findings specific to the reciprocal style of teaching (style C).  In style C, learners work in pairs.  While one performs the modeled task (the doer), the other observes, assesses, and offers feedback (the observer) according to priori movement criteria (Mosston & Ashworth, 2008).  The pair then switch roles.  The name of the style, reciprocal, is reflective of the paired learners serving in the roles of doer and observer.  This process of reciprocity is what distinguishes style C from other peer teaching strategies/peer-assisted learning formats.

What do we know about style C?  Physical education teachers from many different countries around the world report using this style within their regular instructional practices (Cothran et al., 2005; Jaakkola & Watt, 2011; Kulinna & Cothran 2003; Syrmpas et al., 2016).  Results from numerous studies show style C to be effective in enhancing learner motor skill performance (Ernst & Byra, 1998; Goldberger & Gerney, 1986; Goldberger, Gerney, & Chamberlain, 1982; Hennings, Wallhead, & Byra, 2010; Iserbyt & Byra, 2013; Kolovelonis, Goudas, & Gerodimos, 2011).  Researchers have determined that allowing learners to select their own partner in style C (i.e., an impact phase learner decision) positively impacts amount of learner feedback offered, learner comfort giving and receiving feedback, and general affect generated between learners (Byra & Marks, 1993; Chatoupis, 2015; Goldberger, Gerney, & Chamberlain, 1982).  Researchers have also found that task sheets (task cards) and how they are designed positively impacts student learning in style C (Iserbyt, 2013; Iserbyt & Byra, 2013a, 2013b; Iserbyt, Elen, & Behets, 2010).  Mosston and Ashworth (2008, p. 125) identify the task sheet “as the single factor that can determine success or failure of an episode” in style C.  The impact of style C on students’ motivation has been examined over the years as well.  Positive effects have been reported on learners’ enjoyment, interest, and effort (Morgan, Sproule, & Kingston, 2005), learners’ feelings of relatedness and perceived competence (Lentillon-Kaestner & Roure, 2023), learners’ perceived satisfaction and intrinsic motivation (Chatzipanteli, Digelidis, & Papaioannou, 2015), and learners’ perceptions of a motivational atmosphere (Pitsi, Digelidis, & Papaioannou, 2015).  Most recently, research on training students to better serve in the role of observer in style C has been examined, a role that requires knowledge about the critical elements for correct performance, common content knowledge, and knowledge about identifying and correcting performance errors, specialized content (Iserbyt & Madou, 2022; Iserbyt, Mols, Charlier, & DeMeester, 2014); Iserbyt, Theys, Ward, & Charlier, 2017; Madou, Depaepe, Ward, & Iserbyt, 2023).

Research indicates that style C is a valuable instructional strategy to employ to meet multiple educational learning in physical education.  Potential directions for future research will be discussed during this presentation.

The recording for this presentation can be found on our YouTube page here: 

Presentation 3 - “Spectrum of Teaching Styles: The Evolving Research – Where We Are and Where to Go Next” Feng-Min Wei, R. Deng-Yau Shy & Ching-Wei Chang

Background information about this presentation: The continuous attraction of the Spectrum of Teaching Styles (The Spectrum) research to researchers in physical education has led to ongoing and expanding related research activities. However, since Byra (2000), there are few detailed research reports on the exploration routes and outcomes related to the Spectrum. This study aimed to depict the state of the international peer-reviewed empirical literature on The Spectrum over the past 25 years. Based on this, it explored unresolved issues and knowledge gaps worthy of further investigation. Using the keywords "teaching styles AND spectrum OR Mosston," the study literature was searched in several databases. The following criteria were applied to delete literature for analysis: non-English, non-journal articles, inability to obtain full text, lack of peer review, and absence of empirical data analysis. The study found that published literature mainly focuses on the effectiveness of various teaching forms on students' learning outcomes. However, physical education learning involves the teaching method and the integration of specific teaching materials. The effectiveness of physical education learning is not only related to cognition, skills, or affective domains; perhaps human well-being is the goal. Landmark styles are just the outward manifestation of the content of the teaching spectrum, and their effects on student learning may need to be assessed from the source of "decision-making." Future research needs to consider both theoretical and practical aspects. On the academic side, it should be emphasized that the teaching spectrum is not just about pedagogy but also about making reasonable and adequate attributions to learning outcomes. On the practical side, it should plan how to help pre-service or in-service physical education teachers master the operational logic of the Spectrum, enabling them to flexibly apply their understanding for continuous interpretation and correction across projects and domains.

The recording for this presentation can be found on our YouTube page here: 

Presentation 4 - “Developing and Testing SITL Educational Courses: A Pilot study” K. Simonton

Background information about this presentation: Although knowledge about The Spectrum appears foundational to having effective pedagogical knowledge, a more traditional and homogenous approach to teaching prevails. The nascent use of The Spectrum strategies has consistently been identified within in-service PE teachers. The reasons for a narrow pedagogical approach are typically due to limited knowledge, experience, difficult contextual situations, and negative attitudes towards extensive planning. Many researchers suggest that The Spectrum training must be foundational in pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) development as a way to restructure their perspectives and attitudes toward teaching and learning, and in using The Spectrum when entering the job force. Previous evidence shows that when PSTs are left to their own devices, they rely on the same one to two instructional strategies as reported by in-service teachers. In addition, their naïve understanding on what the teaching and learning process is, or can be, limits how they perceive the use of multiple strategies. Thus, researchers have called for more foregrounding techniques for PE PSTs with the idea of teaching and learning is completely centered on knowing The Spectrum. Research shows that PSTs can positively shift their beliefs about the usefulness and perceived ability to deliver The Spectrum. However, that research also showed that PSTs require additional learning materials. These items include more style task/lesson examples, task sheet examples, video-based examples, and field practice. Thus, the purpose of this presentation is to highlight the development of an online Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) system used for PST training on The Spectrum. This presentation will describe ways in which the team explored the impact of the MOOCs on PSTs over one academic year. Specifically, PE PSTs (N=13) from one university participated in this study. All participants completed a pre-post survey, each of the two semesters (n=4), on their perception of usefulness and ability to use each of The Spectrum. In addition, all participants completed short answer questions and reflection of using a total of seven of the 11 styles. Throughout the year all students completed a series of MOOCs (1. Introduction to the Spectrum; 2. Command Teaching; 3. Practice Teaching, 4. Reciprocal Style, 5. Self-check, 6. Inclusion style , 7. Guided Discovery style). The investigation foci were two-fold, one was exploring student perceptions of completing the multiple facets of each MOOC course (included readings, examples, video descriptions, video of styles in action, quizzes, writing assignments, and reflection tasks). Secondly, we explored the potential impact it had on PSTs use and confidence in understanding The Spectrum as part of their developing pedagogical knowledge and readiness. Results of the strengths and weaknesses of the MOOCs will be shared as well as evidence (survey and interview) as to the development of PSTs knowledge and abilities for The Spectrum.

The recording for this presentation can be found on our YouTube page here: 

Presentation 5 - “An in-Depth Analysis of the Taxonomy of Teaching Styles” Nikolaos Digelidis

Background information about this presentation: The aim of this presentation is the conduction of an in-depth analysis of the theory. The Spectrum is a pedagogical framework, an educational tool, and possibly a manner of classification of teaching methods based on the dynamics of teaching. Since 1966, Mosston and Ashworth, with at least five publications of their book (plus one online), advanced in the delimitation of 11 different teaching styles: from the «command style» where the teacher takes all the decisions in the teaching process, up to «self-teaching style» where all the decisions are taken by the student. This presentation will focus on the Spectrum as a method to analyze and possibly classify teaching based on criteria that this theory includes.

The recording for this presentation can be found on our YouTube page here: 

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