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Clinical instructional strategies in athletic training education

Mary G Barnum, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Objective. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of teaching strategies used by approved clinical instructors (ACI) to facilitate student learning during clinical experiences in athletic training. Design and setting. A qualitative case study design was used to examine the questioning skills of ACIs at an athletic training education program (ATEP). Subjects. Participants consisted of eight ACIs and 24 athletic training students (ATS) affiliated with an ATEP. Measurements. Data consisted of: 23 field observations and field audio recordings, eight interviews with ACIs, and 64 stimulated recall interviews with ATS and ACIs. Data was analyzed through open, axial, and selective coding and coding for process. Cognition level of questions posed by ACIs was analyzed using a Question Classification Framework (Sellappah et al, 1998). Results. Three themes emerged. Theme 1: Approved Clinical Instructors in Athletic Training: training technicians or educating problem-solvers. Theme 2: Creating and nurturing learning relationships to establish enriching clinical learning environments. Theme 3: Cognitive engagement of the learner: active or passive participant. Conclusions. The affective and cognitive tone of the clinical learning environment appears to be related to ACIs beliefs and attitudes, ATS active or passive participation in the experience and the strength of the learning relationship between the ACI and the ATS. ACI selection and utilization of teaching and questioning strategies is related to ACI beliefs and attitudes toward clinical education and the purpose of clinical experiences. ACIs who identify more strongly with ACI as athletic training educator tend to possess student centered teaching strategies that support student exploration and creativity. ACIs that identify more strongly with ACI as service provider tend to possess instructor centered teaching strategies that support student identification and replication of athletic training skills and knowledge. Implications. ACIs use of strategic questioning and student centered teaching strategies appears to be strongly related to the ACI's beliefs and attitudes toward clinical experiences and his or role as an ACI. A shift away from apprenticeship learning environments toward problem-solving learning environments may require a shift in ACI beliefs and attitudes.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Health education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Barnum, Mary G, "Clinical instructional strategies in athletic training education" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3163648.