• Introduction
  • The self-check style (d)
  • Pros and cons of the self-check style
  • Final thoughts
  • Sources
  • Pre-impact set: a set of educational decisions that define the intent of the lesson. Includes planning, preparation, organizing, etc.
  • Impact set: a set of actions made during the lesson and one-on-one feedback. The implementation of the pre-impact decisions in the actual lesson.
  • Post-impact set: the assessment made after the lesson. Evaluating the goal and the outcome.


Muska Mosston’s spectrum of teaching styles (1966) was designed as a guideline for physical education teachers to ensure that all students learn the necessary processes, skills, and concepts found in physical education. Mosston himself characterized it as ”a framework of options in the relationships between teacher and learner”.

The spectrum of teaching styles offers eleven distinct teaching methods that vary from teacher-driven to more student-oriented styles – each of these having its own specific characteristics and function in teaching physical education.

This post explains the basics of the self-check style, and what makes such a significant method in teaching sports. 

The self-check style (d)

The self-check style is characterized by the learner participating in both performing the task and self-assessment according to the teacher’s criteria. On the other hand, the teacher’s responsibility is to make all necessary decisions before the lesson (logistics, the subject matter, criteria, etc.) while giving room for the learner to work independently and at their own pace during the lesson. 

When compared to the practice style (b), where learners learn to do a task, or the reciprocal style (c), where they learn to use criteria and give peer feedback, the self-check style teaches the learner to use the same skills for self-assessment. Thus, self-check focuses on two dimensions of behavior; individual practice and self-assessment.




Pre-impact set:
(decisions that define the intent – specific planning & preparation of the lesson)


Impact set:
(decisions related to the implementation of the lesson plan & face-to-face interaction)


Post-impact set:
(decisions concerning assessment after the lesson)


The interesting thing about the self-check style is that it offers intrinsic feedback about the learner’s performance. For example, in skateboarding, the trick is either successful or not, or in darts, the dart lands where it is supposed to. 

The success of the task is ultimately guided by self-feedback, where previous performance allows you to make technical adjustments (body positioning, timing, etc.) for improved success. With this in mind, the more knowledge the learner has about the correct technique, the better they are able to provide themselves with meaningful feedback. Thus, improving their learning process.

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The Self-Check Style (d)

Learner performs the task & assesses their own performance according to specific criteriaImproves self-awareness about one’s proficiency in performanceTeaches the learner to be less dependent on the teacherDevelops independence & intrinsic motivation

Pros and cons of the self-check style

Since the self-check style relies heavily on self-assessment, it offers a great opportunity for self-reliance. This goes hand-in-hand with intrinsic motivation because the learner must learn how to analyze their performance and give themselves valuable feedback. Furthermore, the self-check style allows the learner to identify their strengths and weaknesses privately. This makes the entire self-checking process a safe way to reflect and improve one’s performance. 

On the other hand, using the self-check style shows that the teacher values the learner’s independence and trusts their ability to self-evaluate their performance. These factors have been shown to increase feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. All of which are integral to maintaining good motivation. 

However, the self-check style also has a few drawbacks. It is important to understand that not all physical education tasks can be taught most effectively via self-examination. This is especially apparent in the early stages of learning a skill, where the learner may not understand what criteria are important for success. For example, when to shift your weight from one edge to another while ice skating. With this in mind, learners should have learned the basics of said skill before putting emphasis on self-assessment.

Final thoughts

The self-check style marks the first major step towards more student-oriented learning. Here, the teacher deliberately focuses on self-evaluation in the midst of training a new skill, while taking a step back from being constantly in charge of the teaching situation.

For the teacher, it is important to let the learner repeat the skill and answer whatever questions the learner might have. This behavior shows that the teacher trusts the learner to make their own decisions, while also providing support when needed. 

Before utilizing this teaching style, the learner must know what the criteria are for a successful task. Only then will the learner be able to compare the optimal performance with their own. If this is not clear yet, or the learner is still in the early stages of learning a skill, they might be better off with the practice or reciprocal styles, where the learner has another set of eyes analyzing their performance and providing constructive feedback. 

Did you learn anything new about the self-check style? Let us know in the comments.


  • Mosston, M. & Ashworth, S. (2008) Teaching Physical Education. 1st Online Edition.

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