«Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh Developing the Potential of Young People ...»
(Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) I would think it’s [the in-service training is] enough if you have got support [from the seconded teacher] at the start of implementing the programme. I don’t think you could do it without support at the start because there is so much material and what we didn’t do was see a class in action. I think that would be a helpful thing because we were going in blind and although the seconded teacher was there it took quite a while to get a picture in your mind of how the layout went. Although you have got the material it’s still a huge big area. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) I don’t think I could have gone from the two days training [for the psychomotor element] to actually implementing the programme, if I hadn’t had … [the seconded teacher] … for support. I would have needed longer at the training and more practise in using the cards but that’s just me personally because I feel that’s not an area of expertise for me. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) It is important to highlight the possibility that many of the positive comments regarding the impact of the psychomotor curriculum were facilitated by the perceived benefit of
having a specialist PE teacher deliver sessions within the school:
The seconded teacher is excellent with the children. He has great class control, he’s fit, he’s positive, and he’s absolutely fabulous. So I think they’ve actually chosen somebody really good to support the programme. But I think the other thing is, it just highlights the sheer inadequacies of what we have at the moment, which is no PE specialist whatsoever, which is a whole range of staff trying to do PE. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) The difficulty in distinguishing the impact of the programme from the impact of having a
PE specialist is evidenced in the following two quotes:
One example [of someone who’s benefited from the programme] is a child that has a fear of PE and new situations, she always has done and always gets upset or cries. So there was a moment there when … [the seconded teacher] … was actually teaching forward rolls and before she’d a huge fear, tummy upsets. But she came away really happy and reported to her parents that she could do that [forward rolls] now. She’s never done this sort of thing in her life before … never talked about PE and she would use avoidance all the time but the DPYPS programme and having the extra support has made a difference. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) I think it [the DPYPS programme] has worked really well - the children have thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a really good helper of course … she’s been very good, the children have responded really well to all the lessons that they have had. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) Whilst the support provided by the seconded teacher was considered a crucial element for the successful implementation of the psychomotor element of the DPYPS programme, the majority of teachers (93%) reported being comfortable delivering the psycho-behavioural angle of the curriculum.
I think that most teachers, because of the PSD [personal and social development] and health education programmes, would be okay with the psycho-behavioural side. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) However, one teacher did highlight that they would have liked greater support on
delivering this area:
I think it would be good if someone were to come in as well [to take some of the psycho-behavioural classes. It was great … [the seconded teacher] … being there, but if someone had come in and done some of the mental stuff with them too … I tried to do as much as I could but it would just be good for someone to have come in and put an emphasis on that part of the programme as well. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) The following section looks at the extent that teachers explicitly highlighted the links between the psycho-behavioural and psychomotor curricula and provides support for the value of an expert initially working with teachers to facilitate the delivery of the psycho-behavioural element.
Linking the Psychomotor and Psycho-behavioural Elements of DPYPS An essential element to the DPYPS programme is the need to make explicit links between the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curricula. The quotes below highlight how two teachers recognised this essential link.
You have always got children in the class that are quite quick to make the link between the two [the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curricula] and once they give you the answers [to questions about how the specific psycho-behaviour relates to sport], the other ones quickly understand. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) I think depending on the way you deliver it the programme will influence the way it’s [the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curriculum] linked together. As long as the purpose of what you’re doing is made clear to the children … Because they [the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curricula] are delivered on separate occasions, you would need to make sure that the kids don’t see it [the psycho-behavioural programme] as being a stand-alone programme not connected to the PE side … but then that’s all in the explanation and giving them a clear purpose as to why they’re doing this. I see the link between the two clearly because I’ve done the training, but one of my colleagues taking the pack away and looking at it might not be quite as clear. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) However, the remaining teachers reported that they had not recognised the need to make the links between the two curricula explicit to the children during the piloting of DPYPS.
I think possibly one of the things I missed was the importance of the link [between the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curricula]. Although I was doing one and the other, I really wasn’t making the link explicit … I think if I’d done the in-service immediately before the programme, I would have been much more geared up for that. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) I could see the philosophical links [between the psycho-behavioural and psychomotor curricula] but I think possibly one would have to make a conscious link as one was doing the cards. When you were doing it in the gym, you would probably have to say to them “Well, remember we were doing such and such about imagery? Do you know what it means?” I don’t feel as if I’ve done that [made the links between the psycho-behavioural and psychomotor curricula explicit]. I think possibly that is something that I probably didn’t do enough. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) Sometimes I find it quite hard to link the curricula [psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curricula] and certainly I don’t think the kids have linked them at all, not yet. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) I think it [the psycho-behavioural curriculum] links quite well to what you’re trying to get across when you’re actually doing the PE lesson.
But, I never sort of did PE and then straight away did the psychological stuff. No, I didn’t do it like that. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) A number of reasons could have contributed to the link between the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curricula not being made explicit to the children. Firstly, the interaction of the two curricula may not have been adequately stressed during the inservice training for DPYPS. Whilst an attempt to highlight the important interaction between the two curricula was made during the introduction to DPYPS, it would appear important to ensure that this interaction is revisited at the end of the training after the teachers have been provided with information about the two curricula. The value of incorporating an activity where teachers are required to plan and deliver both a psychomotor and psycho-behavioural session and highlight how links between the two curricula could be made explicit for children should be considered for future training.
Also, it may be of value to provide examples of links between the two curricula on the psychomotor and/or psycho-behavioural cards. Finally, the importance of the link between the two curricula should be highlighted to the seconded teachers to ensure they also stress the interaction of the two curricula during their involvement within the programme.
It is likely that the lack of interaction between the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural was accentuated in the three primary schools where different teachers led the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural elements of the DPYPS programme. This is
highlighted by the following comment:
We didn’t really do that [link the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curricula] because we both did it [taught the psychomotor and psychobehavioural curricula] and we did it completely separately, we didn’t really discuss the links. I just picked areas that I thought … or the lessons [psycho-behavioural lessons] that I thought would work well with the children and the PE [the psychomotor delivery] was done separately [by the other teacher]. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) Many of the primary school teachers (36%) reported that they had not been able to place equal emphasis on the two curricula. Although the tendency to place greater emphasis on one of the two curricula was attributed primarily to the time pressures faced within the primary school, it also highlights that the importance of making explicit links between the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural curricula had not been fully recognised. The following quotes underline the extent that time was seen as a barrier to implementing effectively the programme and provides some examples of the pressures faced by primary school teachers.
It’s just time [that is a barrier]. It’s trying to fit it [the psycho-behavioural curriculum] in when you’ve got everything else to fit in. It’s probably been a bad term since the summer for us because the village is 700 years old and there were celebrations and everybody had to do something. And that took up about six or seven weeks and something’s got to go. You can’t really drop your basic language and maths and that type of stuff. And then all of a sudden you’re at Christmas. Once we get into the New Year I’ve put in my plan to emphasise more of the psychological stuff. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) This year it [DPYPS] came upon us and it was great but it did come in to us after everything else had been planned and there wasn’t a hassle with that but the psycho-behavioural stuff probably suffered, having already got a PSD [personal and social development] programme in place, putting this on top of that as a stand-alone almost because I had other things planned. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) I haven’t always fitted in two sessions because we’ve had … you wouldn’t believe what’s been going on this term. We’ve had the DPYPS programme but we’ve also had all these things that have cropped up that I didn’t know I was going to have in my class. We’ve had six weeks of table tennis with a table tennis coach, we’ve had so many weeks of touch rugby with a rugby coach, we have at the present moment got a coach in for football skills. This has all had to be fitted into the curriculum. You can see the problem. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) At this time of year it’s hard to get as much time on these things [the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural elements] because there’s so much else in with it, especially in Primary 7. You’re trying to do it along with other things as well, like pantomime. It’s easy for it to slip and it has since October. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) I think because it’s a pilot, then when you take it on board you do accept you’ve got to make modifications over the way the time is used and that’s fine and we chose to go down the physical route much more than we did the mental aspect of it. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) I think PE, or the expressive arts in general, are an area which can very easily be pushed aside because schools have to reach targets in maths and language. The emphasis is not given to the other areas [expressive arts areas] that it should be because the pressure is on the class teacher, head teacher and on the council to achieve the targets. So if a child needs extra help in maths we don’t send them to PE, or we’ll scrub art this week or we’ll forget drama. So If everybody was being entirely honest, I don’t think the PE curriculum’s covered properly in many schools and it’s because of the pressure in other areas. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) One teacher highlighted how they thought that the children had not benefited from their involvement in psycho-behavioural curriculum and attributed this to the lack of time they
had had on the activities:
I know that both classes I’ve tried it with did not enjoy it [the psychobehavioural curriculum]. Within our curriculum in Primary 6 we have got a PSD [personal and social development] circle type programme which I have watered down considerably to fit the psycho-behavioural material in. If I could do it differently, and I’m not allowed to do it differently, I would do it much more intensely. That programme [the psychobehavioural programme] has been touched once a fortnight and that’s not sufficient. From my personal point of view I think we could do the programme [psycho-behavioural programme] virtually on a daily basis and that’s what I would like to do, and it might start to have an effect then. But within our timetabling arrangements, we don’t have that option and I cannot do that so the kids are only doing it once a fortnight and they don’t get used to it. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) As well as time constraints, another issue that was consistently mentioned by teachers was that they were not trained specialist PE teachers. Consequently, many (64%) teachers highlighted the importance of having primary PE specialists working in primary schools to ensure children have positive and appropriate PE experiences.