Jerraco L. Johnson, Mary E. Rudisill, Julia Sassi, Danielle Wadsworth, Peter Hastie


Research suggests that both practice and reinforcement are necessary for skill learning. In school settings however, there is typically only one teacher per class, and by consequence, providing individual feedback and reinforcement to all students is more challenging. Thus, the design of the task in schools/classes is extremely critical to maximize opportunities for practice and feedback. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different teacher behaviors (i.e., explicit instruction and feedback) within mastery climates on motor skill performance. 99 Preschool age children (Mage= 4.75 years) participated in a mastery motivational climate physical play programme intervention bi-weekly for 7 weeks. Children were randomly assigned to a motor skill condition, physical activity condition, mixed condition, or a free play control group. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with pre-test scores as the covariate were conducted to determine the effects of condition on post-test motor skill scores. Results indicated that the children from the motor skill and mixed conditions showed significantly greater improvements than the other two groups. These findings suggest that instruction matters in learning motor skills. In the two conditions where children were given explicit instructional cues and feedback about performing tasks, they showed far superior gains than those children where the lesson focus was simply just on physical activity or when no instruction was given at all.


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feedback, cues, intervention, motor development


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