«Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh Developing the Potential of Young People ...»
Although it was seen as a big job to educate primary teachers to this level, it was recognised that if the teachers had been through the process then they will be able to start to cater more effectively for the children’s individual needs. This is due to an understanding of the developmental content and teaching methodology within the programme.
I think teachers, if you've been doing this for a length of time or you've been involved in the planning and realise the amount of variations that can actually come into the development of one skill area. I think if they've been through that process, they must then realise that kids are achieving at different levels and they will be able to cater more for the individual.
The Local Authorities felt that it gave the teachers a backdrop of understanding on which to develop their practice and feel confident that they were doing the right thing for the right reasons. It enabled them to tweak their lessons to emphasise the things that were most important for the children.
I think it gave them confidence about what they were doing because sometimes you feel a wee bit challenged because what they were doing was right but they were not doing it in the right way.
The Local Authorities acknowledged that pre-prepared resources were useful but that teachers needed to ‘go beyond’ them intuitively in terms of methodology and progression. The DPYPS curriculum acts as a resource on which this ‘missing component’ is made more explicit. Of course, naturally this results in more complex and demanding resources, and may look ‘impossible’ until teachers are taught and supported through them.
During the TOPS training of trainers that is actually accentuated. Because they realise that what they have in front of them are guys who run about a lot and are enthusiastic about their subject, and will want to just teach the cards.
And they highlight the fact that your job is more than that. You have to go beyond that, but what they don't have is the back-up, the actual resource back-up that you have, complex as it is. But it is a much more thoughtful resource. It's a horrendously difficult resource for somebody to come upon for the first time.
The need to develop this knowledge base and teaching methodology, however time consuming, was seen as crucial if we want to develop teachers’ abilities to cater for their children and provide quality experiences. Pre-prepared rote lessons do not allow this level of development and learning. Of course, while they are extremely useful as an additional resource, unless the curriculum or teacher is already effective, they become far less effective.
In primaries and secondaries at the moment what they will tend to use is a pre-prepared pack, like the Borders pack. Which is lesson by lesson, so what you have is right, that's my lesson. There's my class. Right. That'll do. I'm doing that lesson today. Now, for a third of the class that's appropriate. For another third of the class, it's too easy. For the final third of the class, it's too difficult. So you're only ever just hitting the middle ground. And what you have to do is actually have a resource that will allow you to be a bit more individual in the way you teach kids. The way you teach classes and class teaching has to become less whole class orientated and more individual target orientated.
I have to give TOPS their due. I don't know what the project or the people involved in the project themselves think about TOPS but, having worked with TOPS, TOPS are aware of the limitations of their initiative. They know their limitations and they don't make any claims to be anything other than an additional resource. It's a sticky-on to the curriculum. And it won't be very effective unless the curriculum is effective. They realise that, and I think we all realise that.
We take what we learn from TOPS, you know, their presentation, their cards are people friendly, user friendly. They're colourful, you know? And to use some of what they've got … I have to say that yours is an educationally sound project. It's educationally sound resources. They don't make claims to do that.
Regardless of the inherent need for the DPYPS cards to be more complex than a preprepared set of cards, it was noted that there is still a need to simplify them as much as possible to aid teachers in their ability to plan and utilise them in as easy way as possible.
I think they're a bit busy in terms of too many words. I'm more of a visual person and that's just me. I think they're presented in a more accessible way, so it's a refinement issue. It’s difficult to make specific comment about the detail because I haven't used them directly. I've scanned through them and I understand the majority of them without any problem but I think because you're steeped in it and you know a bit more about it as being from a PE background, then that becomes easier for you. But someone who is a class teacher who is busy, who's just come from a challenging situation in the class and is going to pick that up to deliver that directly, well that's a feedback you're going to have to get from them.
As discussed in the philosophy section, the psycho-behavioural resource was instantly seen as useful for the children and their ability to learn effectively. Additionally, the resource itself is less complex than the psychomotor cards and they were more suited to the primary teachers’ prior knowledge and classroom teaching style. Indeed, as explicit learning outcomes were made apparent, teachers were able to expand and extend the ideas as and when their children required.
Kids don't know. Sometimes it's hard to get better. And to actually review their own ability, in a realistic way, and say ‘well wait a minute, I really am no good at this at the moment. So my long-term goals … well what I thought were short-term goals might in fact be long-term goals’. And if you can get kids to actually sit down and do that, you might get a bit less frustration with not being good now and failure. So no, I think teachers themselves saw that as an immediate benefit of being involved with this.
I think if you individualise the programme and you get kids to take a bit more responsibility through the psycho-behaviour input, they then take some responsibility for their own learning.
I think the teachers were very confident in the psycho-behavioural programme. We've said already it was a ready-made resource, decisions were made for them, and some would then take that resource and expand on it.
Methodology The Local Authorities felt that DPYPS looked to develop explicitly the knowledge base of the teachers, both in terms of content and also teaching methodology. This was seen as a much needed and crucially important factor to the quality and usefulness of this programme. It is something that other programmes need to take on board by presenting it explicitly and giving it the time it needs in education courses.
My view is that, in the kind of first level coaching posts in a whole range of sports, that we're all focused on the technical information about that sport.
There's no methodology, there's no issue around the methodology of how you present and deliver and learn. It's more about – here's a series of practices you can engage numbers of kids with, by engaging these practices you might get this outcome or not. My view is that it's not probably the case because the inputs are not as explicit or as comprehensive as they need to be. There really needs to be a more sort of fundamental administrative organisation of methodology input to allow better basis for development. And the only way people learn that is just by osmosis I think.
I think the methodology bit is really crucial to it. I don't think it's just about the programme in terms of the content of the programme being the practices and the cards. It's the interaction about the philosophical issues about how you keep them involved, how if we're saying we want to get them to be self determined, we want to get them to be motivated.
DPYPS examines the philosophy and it looks at how to use these resources, how to become a better teacher, how to become a more effective teacher.
That's better than TOPS training.
The aspects of pedagogy that deal with the contextual needs of skill learning was also noted by the Local Authorities as a very beneficial part of the DPYPS programme.
Again, it is something that teachers and coaches tend not to know very much about and it is often completely missing from in-service training and educational packages.
However, it is very important in the transfer of skills to game situations. Hence it is crucial not only for talent development but also for encouraging participation.
There's a danger, and it's just perhaps in the implementation part rather than the philosophy. People term basic movement skills as kind of dry and boring rather than fun and exciting because kids want to participate in an exciting activity and they see that happening through a game or a sport because we've all had the experience of when are we going to get a game rather than practice? They see practice as boring and repetitive and dull. They see the game as, romantic, exciting, dynamic. So the task is and the challenge is to make it game-like all time.
It's difficult, the organisation of it. It's not neat and I think that's sometimes a problem for people. People like order and when it's not as ordered as you might want it to be, it can be problematic. I think also organisationally, there's a big challenge in terms of teachers particularly in primary schools to have that game participation and input. Their understanding of that is quite low.
The DPYPS Model Needs Ongoing Support
The content and the methodological input from the DPYPS programme was seen as extremely useful in both a practical and a theoretical way. However, the Local Authorities felt that without ongoing support and in-service education that is drip fed consistently over time this or any programme will not be sustainable.
I think having somebody seconded to do it is crucial. You could never have done anything like that in another way because the pressure's on to do other things and the position I hold, I have to delegate that to someone who is fine doing that … and that worked fine.
That won't be happening in every PE lesson. It's very seldom the fault of the primary teacher, and primary teachers are overworked, over-burdened and don't have time to prepare properly. If they had some systematic support … From a wider perspective, the Local Authorities felt this kind of support could also be provided by the development of coherence amongst initiatives and in-service training. In this way, far more people are around to provide support to each other and to promote the philosophies, content and methodologies in a more consistent way to the children.
I think these are big barriers and I think there's a consistency as well. I think from a local authority point of view, it would be sport development officers, it would be Active Schools Coordinators, it would be specialist teachers and delivering through that way. I think it's going to be massively difficult to ask teachers to give these and I can't see that happening in real terms. The programme in terms of support is just absolutely vital, you know, I just think most programmes, if they're not supported, they'll not work and this won't be any different.
The Local Authorities felt that the support provided needs to take on a specific role, particularly regarding the amount and type of support for the primary teachers in particular. It may be that too much support may have hindered the development of autonomous independence of teachers in some schools. Indeed, it has been noted that the role of the seconded teacher would need to be made explicit, with appropriate training for techniques such as effective reviewing and supervision.
Too much support. And then they became very reliant on that support and maybe the teacher said to themselves, “I'm not even thinking about this because [Seconded Teacher] will come in and we'll do our planning session” and “[Seconded Teacher] will help you plan it, so you didn't actually think about it until [Seconded Teacher] came in to do that session.” The role of the seconded teacher is somebody that should be there to help them review their own thinking and development and not to do the thinking for them.
3.2.3 Seconded Teachers DPYPS Provides New Ideas in PE The seconded teachers felt that DPYPS was the first PE programme to cover mental skills training explicitly in any depth at all. Indeed, even PSD style curricula didn’t really impact on the fundamental mental skills and attitudes that underpin for example, learning, development, confidence and self-determination.
As far as a PE point of view, I've certainly not come across anyone that specifically deals with psychological characteristics. In terms of Standard Grade PE and the Higher PE, a certain amount of talk is given to effective development but, realistically, it's non assessable and therefore it's pretty much ignored. So therefore there's not a great deal in it.
There's Council guidelines but again the guidelines are very vague and the head teachers themselves decide which package to buy into. Before they would do things like maybe a citizenship thing and it mentions vaguely something about how everybody has different strengths and weaknesses but it's like one page out of a book that's got 250 pages in it.
They skim across the surface of a few of them but they're definitely not catered for in the way that DPYPS did.
The seconded teachers highlighted the content of the DPYPS programme as particularly appropriate in light of the poor standard of fundamental skills and lack of awareness of physical capability particularly apparent in secondary schools. Therefore the double stranded DPYPS programme provides particularly pertinent content.
I have to teach third year girls how to skip because they don't have the coordination and I just think it's absolutely atrocious. Boys generally can't skip anyway but just basics that you would assume that kids have.
Somewhere along the line, they're not getting it.