A comparative analysis of verbalizations used by rural band directors while teaching middle school and high school ensembles
In many rural school music programs in Texas, band directors are often responsible for teaching both middle school and high school bands. For the purposes of this study, rural school programs in the state of Texas were defined as schools with a student population between 55 and 224 and city populations of less than 2,500. While it is possible that there is extant research focused on band directors that teach multiple age levels, no current research has been found that focuses on the comparison of rural band director verbalizations. The purpose of this study was to compare the verbalizations of rural band directors who teach music to both middle school and high school students.
A modified version of the studies of Cavitt (2003), Duke & Henninger (1998), and Siebenaler (1997) was used for the observations and design of this study. Participants (N = 5) were selected who teach both middle school and high school band in rural school settings, received consistent first and second division ratings at adjudicated events and recommended by their peers for exceptional teaching behaviors. Each band director was video recorded teaching rehearsals on three consecutive calendar days to middle school and high school ensembles, which facilitated rehearsal continuity.
Band directors' verbalizations considered for the current study included the following: Directives, Feedback, Vocal Modeling, Teacher Questioning, Music Concept Explanation and Off-Task Talking. SCRIBE (Duke & Stammen, 2011), a software program used to analyze teacher and learner behaviors, was used to systematically gather data on the teaching and learning observed. Data analysis included comparison of teacher verbalizations with regard to level of the ensemble as well as comparisons between band directors.
Investigation of the verbalizations revealed band directors provided Directives with the highest frequency to both middle school and high school ensembles. Director Feedback was provided with the second highest frequency. Specifically, Positive Feedback was provided to the middle school bands at a higher frequency than to the high school bands. Finally, it is evident that a longer duration of General Feedback was provided to students compared to Specific Feedback when considering all five band directors. Discussion points included implications for future research regarding teach preparation and continuing education for current practitioners.