The effect of scaffolding on the acquisition of rowing
The aim of this thesis is to examine the nature of scaffolding in learning to row. Four
studies were carried out to investigate the nature of instruction in relation to learning to
row. Study 1 investigated the relationship between contingent tutoring and learning to
row. Contingency tutoring was significantly related to learning to row. The coaches in
this study were coaching individual boys on a one-to-one basis, in a single environment.
Study 2, tried to replicate study 1, with the introduction of three other learning
environments: the 'ergometer', the 'rowing tank'and the rowing boat. Unlike study 1, this
study found a negative relationship between scaffolding and learning to row. There were
also differences between the environments. It was therefore, necessary to conduct a
Study 3 was an observational study, designed to examine the nature of coaching itself. It
found that, most of the coaching activity was based on generalised instructions, with only
8% of the time employing scaffolding techniques. Grouped-based instruction made up
26% of the instruction, while individual instruction made up 33%; the coach simply
observed for the rest of the time. The study found differences between the environments,
in terms of the amount spent on each coaching activity. Contingent tutoring varied
according to the environment in which the instruction was given.
Study 4 interviewed 10 coaches about their coaching. It found strong evidence of the
coaches using the functions of scaffolding. The coaches also adopted different coaching
strategies, based on the different learning environments, the time of the session, physical
state of the boys and the physical state of the river. The theoretical, practical and
methodological implications of these findings are then discussed.
This thesis found that the 'learning environment' had a large impact on the nature of
teaching and learning to row. Each 'learning environment' required a different approach
to teaching/coaching, which in turn produced different responses from the learners'.