Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Elite Sports Coaching and Feedback: The use of communication and metacognitive strategies in sport
    Jackson, Brendan Craig ( 2020)
    The similarities in skills of coaches and teachers have been of particular interest to researchers for half a century. Within coaching research, the emphasis has been on coach observation studies, whereas in education research the evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions on student outcomes has been the focus. Furthermore, most coaching literature explores coaches at the sub-elite level. Crucially, to develop coaching practice, more information is needed regarding the impacts feedback, pedagogical techniques and instructional interventions employed by coaches have on athlete outcomes in the elite sporting environment. A mixed-methods approach was used in this thesis to explore the impact of coaches’ actions and behaviours on elite teams. In Part A, communication between the senior coach, three assistant coaches and 45 players from the VFLW competition were explored across a six-week period; during meetings, training sessions and competition. Feedback was predominantly descriptive in nature, with the exception of in-competition settings, where prescriptive feedback was predominant. Coaches and players asked minimal questions of one another regardless of the format of the interactions. In Part B, nine VFLW players were interviewed about their feedback preferences. Players preferred individual, specific and prescriptive feedback. Players acknowledged the benefits of video review feedback yet suggested playing an active role in the review process would improve learning. In Part C, a metacognitive strategy (Think Aloud) was introduced into the player review process for 14 AFLW players. This occurred across an entire pre-season and season of the AFLW competition to assess the impact it had on the understanding and performance of a tactical concept. The results showed an effect size of 0.68 for the introduction of a metacognitive strategy on athlete understanding and performance outcomes, compared to 0.37 for no metacognitive strategy. Major conclusions relate to coach feedback not always reflecting player preferences for how feedback is communicated, with feedback tending to be descriptive in nature. Players and coaches evaluate understanding and performance differently, however the implementation of metacognitive strategies into coaching practice led to a higher impact on athlete learning and was similar to the effects reported in prior educational research with students. Further exploration of the overlap of effective teaching pedagogies and their applicability to sports coaching practice would be useful.
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    Investigating how students receive, interpret, and respond to teacher feedback
    Mandouit, Luke William ( 2020)
    Feedback has been studied extensively in relation to its impact on student learning and is established as a high impact intervention on achievement, emotions, confidence, and motivation. In order to be effective, feedback must be timely, actionable, related to learning goals, and provide advice as to next steps in the student’s learning. Yet research has also demonstrated the significant variability relating to the influence, with research suggesting that effective strategies vary based on the characteristics of the learner. However, the research is dominated by a focus on the giving of feedback and far less on how students receive feedback. Studies into student perceptions of feedback is lacking with little known about how the information provided is listened to, or received, along with the emotional responses that feedback may stimulate, and how this may influence learning. The aim of this thesis is to investigate student perceptions of teacher feedback, and to develop a deeper understanding of how students receive, interpret, and respond to it. Employing a cross-sectional research design using multi-methods, this study consisted of a large-scale questionnaire in which students responded to various feedback samples and gave insights as to their perceived usefulness and how each might engage the student. A smaller sample of students then participated in semi-structured interviews based on the themes that emerged from the survey data, providing insights as to how students respond to, make sense of, and apply feedback. Findings give insights into a range of feedback processes. Firstly, learners assign their own meaning to the feedback regardless of whether the information provided to them is explicit or not. Secondly, they assign this meaning based on prior feedback experiences, capacity to self-reflect, or through dialogue with teacher or peers. Thirdly, the emotional affect of the information provided influences its effect on learning. Finally, students have clear views about what constitutes effective feedback practice to enhance learning.