The purpose of this study was to investigate the construct of pacing within the larger construct of teacher intensity. Specifically, this study attempted to determine the relationship between pacing and teacher effectiveness, and between pacing and teacher intensity in the context of a realistic teaching situation. This study also provided an operational definition for the previously ill-defined concept of effective pacing. A series of pacing lapses were devised and implemented to measure their effects on observers’ ratings of teacher effectiveness, teacher intensity, teacher pacing, and general perceptions. The pacing lapses were categorized as speech, velocity, movement, administrative, and technology pacing lapses. A scripted stimulus video was created in which the teacher demonstrated pre-defined pacing lapses in a counterbalanced order. Participants (N = 164) were college students attending a large comprehensive university in the Southeastern United States. They were randomly assigned to one of four groups (n = 41) to evaluate ongoing teacher effectiveness, teacher intensity, teacher pacing, or general perceptions (control group). Participants evaluated the teacher on their assigned construct using both continuous (Continuous Response Digital Interface) and summative measures (Likert-type scale).
Results showed that the three constructs have strong positive linear correlations with each other. Results of the graphic data obtained from the Continuous Response Digital Interface (CRDI) indicated that ratings from the four groups were similar in contour, indicating distinct high and low points on the graph representing “good” and “bad” moments during the teaching demonstration. There were no differences in summative measures among the groups. Participants recognized intended pacing lapses, and responded similarly to them. It was revealed, however, that the pacing group evidenced a greater response magnitude than the other three groups (effectiveness, intensity, control). The aggregate arithmetic mean CRDI ratings also revealed that the pacing group had the highest aggregate mean rating, thus suggesting that participants in the pacing group may have been reacting differently to some aspect of the teaching demonstration compared to the other groups. Examination of ratings of pacing lapses revealed that no one particular type of pacing lapse was viewed more or less severely than another. There was also a moderate inverse correlation between pacing lapse duration and group CRDI ratings. Unexpected anomalous data are also discussed.
Results demonstrated that, consistent with previous research, individuals reacted more strongly to negative teaching moments than positive teaching moments. This manifested itself both in the continuous measure (CRDI) and the summative measure (Likert-type scale). Despite spending the majority of the time on-task (75%), the highest mean summative Likert rating was lower than 6 (on a 1–10 scale). It is hypothesized that a good measure of teaching might not be duration of teacher on-task time, but magnitude of observer responses. Thus, suggesting that even short instances of teacher off-task behavior can outweigh a predominantly on-task lesson. Results also support existing research suggesting large-scale agreement regarding ineffective teaching; however, agreement regarding effective teaching is less consistent. Although there were small differences in the pacing group’s ratings, it appears that all participants in all four groups were rating some global aspect of teacher effectiveness despite their group membership (effectiveness, intensity, pacing, control). Results are discussed in the context of practical significance, and suggestions for future research are provided.