In the dance classroom: Perceptions of dance competence

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Cheryl Spaulding


Physical education, Dance, Competence, College students, Self-perception

Subject Categories



The purpose of this study was to examine how college-age students in a beginning dance class develop their self-perceptions of their dance competence. The subjects (N = 26) were students enrolled in either a beginning jazz or beginning modern dance class taught at a northeastern university during the spring semester. The teacher of the classes was also considered as a subject. Each class was videotaped one class period per week for twelve weeks. During the twelfth week a perceived competence in dance scale, based on Bandura's self-efficacy measure, was administered to determine the students' self-perceptions and the teacher's perceptions of the students' competence. Three ability levels were identified (low, middle, high), and the students' and teacher's perceptions compared. The results indicated that 57.7 percent of the students' perceptions of their dance abilities were congruent with the teacher's perceptions; 42.3 percent were incongruent. Of those labeled incongruent, 27 percent rated themselves lower in ability while 15.3 percent rated themselves higher in ability than the teacher did. Following the analysis of the perceived competence instrument, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 of the subjects and the teacher. These three groups of students (two incongruent, one congruent) displayed distinct characteristics regarding their interpretation of the teacher's feedback, their attribution for success, and their focus on classroom activities. The videotapes were coded using the Dyadic Adaptation of Cheffer's Adaptation of Flander's Interaction Analysis System (DAC). The DAC teacher behavior categories were factor analyzed and five factors resulted. A series of five two-way ANOVA's were conducted examining the teacher's treatment of the students based on whether the students' perceptions were congruent or incongruent with the teacher's perceptions; a series of five one-way ANOVA's were also conducted using the students' perceptions of their competence (low, middle, high). The results of the ANOVA's indicated there was no differential treatment of the students by the teacher. It was concluded that rather than the teacher expectation effect, it was the students' interpretation of themselves in the instructional context which accounted for how the students developed their self-perceptions of their dance competence.


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