The classification of language of high school choral directors
Strauser, Matthew Lynn
The revised Bloom's cognitive taxonomy classifies thinking into ways and kinds of knowing. The ways of knowing are remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create. The kinds of knowing are factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive. Higher order thinking requires analysis, evaluation, or creation. It has been suggested that ensemble directors spend little time teaching higher order thinking and concepts. Rehearsals of six expert high school choral directors were audio-recorded at the beginning, middle and end stages of performance preparation. The directors' language was classified by type of activity. Language containing cognitive content was further categorized using the revised Bloom's taxonomy. The data were coded using audio annotation software developed by the author. The software enabled the user to hear the recorded audio, mark event locations, and add annotations. Annotations included transcribed text, coding, and comments. The software tracked event time and frequency and calculated event duration and word counts of transcribed text. Results found that student performance was 44% of rehearsal and teacher talk 47%. Teacher vocal modeling was 12% of rehearsal. Teacher talk percentages of rehearsals overall were 26% task presentation, 2.4% questioning, and 2.5% specific feedback. Cognitive content was split almost evenly between lower levels of thinking--recall, understand, apply--and higher levels--analyze, evaluate, create. Conceptual thinking occurred in 4.3% of rehearsal. Rehearsals were fast paced with average overall event durations of 6.3s. Several ways to define higher order thinking in the two-dimensional revised taxonomy are presented as are suggestions for challenging students to higher order thinking. The concept of a cognitive topography or cognitive signature is proposed as a key component for describing a director's teaching style and may have implications for teacher training and assessment.