Analyzing expert, postulant, and novice instruction in culinary and pastry arts laboratory classrooms
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Research on teaching expertise in theoretically-oriented classrooms suggests the instructional characteristics exhibited by experts, postulants, and novices. This study explores whether instruction in postsecondary, experientially-based classrooms would result in teachers exhibiting similar characteristics of instruction across the levels of teaching expertise. Several aspects of the methodology were adapted from the Clarridge study (1988). Six teachers of various levels of expertise (two experts, two postulants, and two novices) volunteered and were given one half hour to plan a lecture on a previously undisclosed topic. They were then allowed one half hour to present the lecture to culinary and pastry arts student volunteers while being videotaped by the researcher. Nine expert observers from three different perspectives (pedagogy, subject matter, and nonverbal communication) then analyzed the videotaped lectures. The findings of the study were derived from ratings by the nine expert analyses of the teaching subjects, descriptive statistics, and analysis of variance calculated using the Friedman Q-statistic test to determine inter-rater reliability. The alpha level was set at .05 for all statistical tests. The study found that expert teachers outperformed postulants and novices in their organization and comprehension of content knowledge, display of pedagogical content knowledge, and comfort level in their roles as teachers. Most significantly, the study found that postulants in experientially-oriented classrooms may exhibit and more effectively teach subject matter than novices although both groups were weak in their pedagogy and pedagogical content knowledge. Postulants also appeared more confident in their roles as teachers in experientially oriented classrooms than did the novices. The Friedman Q-statistic test concluded that the expert observers' ratings of the subjects were not significantly different from each other across the perspectives and were not significantly different from each other in their ratings of cross category items. The items rated across all six subjects were not good predictors of inter-rater reliability. The findings of this study combined with further postulant research could reveal a way to improve postulant teaching in culinary and pastry arts laboratory classrooms. In the long run it could make alternative teacher certification programs more pedagogically comparable to traditional teacher training programs, thus addressing postulant deficiencies. In addition, the study could have implications for designing other differentiated preservice and inservice training programs targeted toward various levels of teaching and subject matter expertise.
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