A descriptive analysis of aerobic instructor behaviors and related student responses

Catherine Joy Fuller


The two major foci of this study were (1) development of an instrument to describe aerobic instructor behaviors and student responses, and (2) observation of instructor task presentation behaviors and related student responses. The purposes of this study were (1) to identify aerobic instructor teaching behaviors and to determine if these behaviors differed according to the instructor's type of certification, experience, or education, the perceived class skill/fitness level, class complexity, class schedule and type of task; (2) to determine whether there was a relationship between the instructor behaviors and student responses; and (3) to determine whether there was a relationship between student responses and the selected independent variables. Fifteen aerobics instructors at five different sites were videotaped during two different class sessions each. The student participants within the classes were included on the videotape. Following data collection, the instructor behaviors and student responses during the first 30 minutes of each class were coded using the Qualitative Measures of Teaching Performance Scale--Aerobics. Quantitative analysis of the data was conducted using multivariate analyses and chi-square. Qualitative analysis was also performed based on the researcher's observations during videotape coding and from the statistical analyses. The results revealed a significant difference among instructor behaviors according to specific instructor variables, class variables and task variables ($p<.05$). There was also a significant relationship between certain instructor behaviors and related student responses ($p<.05$). Finally, there was a significant relationship between student responses and specific independent variables ($p<.05$). The instructor's type of certification and level of teaching experience appeared to have an impact on teaching behaviors. Three specific teacher behaviors were of particular interest within the results--type of cue, reminders, and demonstration. The class factors that seemed to relate to student responses were class complexity and perceived class skill/fitness level. Therefore, both instructor background and class factors may be of importance when assigning instructors to teach specific aerobics classes. The findings of this investigation revealed instructor behaviors that may be associated with more or less effective teaching within this unique setting. However, further research is required in this area.