Measuring Sports Class Learning Climates - the Development of the Sports Class Environment Scale
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Teaching (in this study, coaching) is a key determinant in learning any sports skill. The coach-athlete relationship is one of the most important influences on athlete's motivation and performance (Mageau & Vallerand, 2003). One of the key leadership roles the coach has in this relationship is the creation and maintenance of the sports class learning climate. The joint influence of the athlete's motivation and the environmental press (class learning climate) can determine the cognitive, affective, and performance patterns regularly displayed by athletes (Ntoumanis & Biddle, 1999). A sports class' learning climate is a set of internal characteristics that has an important role in shaping an athlete's motivational and behavioural pattern (Ames, 1992) and is a key characteristic of class effectiveness. In sports classes, motivational climate is a sub-set of the overall learning climate and is created primarily by the sport class coach. Motivational climate can be described as the participants' relatively persistent collective perceptions of the achievement goal structure of that setting. Recent studies of motivational climate in sport have provided insight into coaching behaviour and its effect on sports class motivational climate (Ntoumanis & Biddle, 1999). In spite of the potential value of class learning climate research to the field of sports class behavioural studies, no research has consolidated the fields of classroom learning climate research and sports class motivational climate studies. This study provides a model for the investigation of gymnastics sports class learning climates that involves a consolidation of the dimensions and items of the Perceived Motivational Climate in Sport Questionnaire-2 (Newton, Duda, & Yin, 2000) and the Classroom Environment Scale (Moos & Trickett, 1987). The development and validation of a new, unique learning climate scale - the Sports Class Environment Scale (SCES) - constitutes the focus of this research. The process of developing this consolidated instrument began with the production of an initial scale, and was followed by a review by a panel of experts in coaching and independent university researchers in sport and physical education. The SCES draft was then pilot tested with a small group (n = 41) of competitive gymnasts to prompt some changes to the scale. Initial field-testing of the SCES occurred with 28 male and 180 female competitive gymnasts from 6 metropolitan and 4 regional competitive gymnastics clubs in Queensland, Australia. Exploratory factor analysis provided a revised SCES with five subscales labeled Task Involvement and Improvement, Ego Involvement and Mistakes, Coach-Athlete Communication, Effort, Order and Organization, and Affiliation. Using the revised SCES subscales as dependent variables, multivariate analyses of variance were conducted to compare club type, gender, and competitive level. In this study, the low training hours and the high training hours gymnastics classes were different in their perceptions of the Ego Involvement of their class climate. Male and female gymnasts were different in their perceptions of Ego Involvement, Affiliation, and Effort, Order and Organization aspects of their class climates. This study demonstrates the potential utility of creating class learning climates high in both Task Involvement and Ego Involvement for competitive gymnastics clubs. This study breaks new ground, and may lead to novel insights into sports class learning climates. Because class learning climate is easier to manipulate than individual achievement goal dispositions (Whitehead, Andree, & Lee, 1997) and because perceptions of learning climate account for variance in learning outcomes beyond that attributable to student ability (Fraser, 1994, 1998, 2002), class learning climate is an important variable that should be better understood, described, developed, and manipulated. Effective measurement of sports class learning climates using the SCES may lead to a greater understanding of effective sports classes, and of coach and athlete behaviours in those classes, and provides a first step in monitoring sports class learning climates.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
School of Education and Professional Studies
Item Access Status
Sports Class Learning Climates