Comedy coach vs Quality coach

We can begin to analyse how the two different coaches (played by the same person) uses talk to teach their students. Overall, we can see that the comedy coach uses the talk to intimidate his students, and convey that he is the ‘king’ of the class and that he is a great footballer. However, the attitude of the Quality coach is contrasting to that of the comedy coach. The quality coach is genuinely interested to help and teach his students (as evident by the choice of words and phrases such as ‘fantastic’, ‘perfect’, ‘well done’). I will begin analysing their similarities and differences by first looking at how their talks are initiated.

The comedy coach initiates his talk by using a colloquial greeting – ‘right then you lot’. So, his initial beginning suggests that he is very casual, and unprepared. He addresses the children by saying ‘you lot’, which exemplifies his lack of respect for the children and his indifference about their education. After this, he asks the children what happened in the last game, but instead of taking a neutral (or even a positive) attitude, he asks the question in an pessimistic manner – he predicts that the team has lost ‘again’.

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His low confidence in the team demoralises the children, and has a negative effect on them – they feel angry and violently protest that they have won instead. When he comes to hear that they have won, his surprise is very overt, and he interject their protests by exclaiming ‘You won?’. When the children confirm this, he is incredulous of their achievements and sarcastically asks them if they had played with the ‘nursery’. So, his initial beginning presents him as a contemptible character – his words are negative and his pessimistic and sarcastic tone clearly shows that he does not enjoy being the team’s coach. He doesn’t even seem to be interested in their victory – he does not ask the score.

The Quality coach’s talk’s beginning is much more, formal, encouraging and appreciative than that of the comedy coach. The coach initiates the talk by politely saying ‘good afternoon everyone’ which shows that he respects the students and he is prepared. After the students’ reply, he continues by complimenting the ir punctuality. He asks about their last game positively – he asks them if they had won, not lost, as the comedy coach had. So, we can see a difference in attitude – the quality coach is confident about the team’s capabilities whereas the comedy coach is not. The quality coach is also much more credulous about the team’s achievements. His enthusiastically backchannels (‘five nil!’, ‘You ohh. Fantastic …’) and expresses positive body language and facial expressions (which suggest that he is really pleased with their performance) to encourage the students to interact with him later on, and they do when they politely say ‘yes’ and ‘okay’ when he instructs them.

Now, the choice of words, tone, pace, the delivery and the volume of each coach impacts on how the students react to them, and how the audience feel about the coach. The comedy coach uses negative adjectives. His purpose is to show that he dislikes teaching the children. For example, when the comedy coach is on the phone with his friend, he says ‘nothing important – I’m just teaching a bunch of kids’. The word ‘nothing’ clearly demonstrates that he does not care about the students and would prefer to leave the place as soon as possible. On the other hand, the quality coach uses encouraging words such as ‘fantastic’ and ‘brilliant’ to keep the students engaged and boost their moral. The coach repeats ‘fantastic’ and ‘brilliant’ to motivate the students and convey his pride in the team.

The two coaches use tone to distinguish between their normal preparatory talk and their instructions, but their tones have different effect on the audience and the children. The comedy coach frequently raises his voice to reprimand the students and to instruct them. For example, he shouts when he is asked a question which seems inappropriate to him. He asks ‘WELL, YOU WERE NOT WATCHING PROPERLY, WERE YOU?’. His raised voice insinuates that he is frustrated with the student. However, we can see that his frustration is unjustified as he does not explain to the student how to head the ball down, he just demonstrates it cursorily. The effect of his screaming is that he intimidates the students. His screaming also causes the audience to dislike him because he appears to be an unfair teacher. The purpose of his raised voice is to stem the flow of questions from the students, and screaming does have this effect.

Both coaches use techniques such as raising their voice, repetition and body language, but for different purposes and effects. The dialogue between the quality coach and the students is much more than it is between the comedy coach and the students, because the quality coach uses kind body language and gestures and motivates the students (by saying well done etc), whereas the comedy coach uses intimidating body language and derides the students (by mocking them and mimicking them when they ask questions).

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