«Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh Developing the Potential of Young People ...»
Don’t forget we are only doing it once a week and someone who is doing it all the time like a PE specialist is doing it every day and they can bring different things into it whereas at the moment we are sticking to what it tells you. We have not got the confidence to say we’ll just get rid of that and we’ll put that in. (Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) 4.2.3 Psycho-behavioural Resources All but one teacher reported that the children had reacted positively to the activities provided within the psycho-behavioural curriculum (93%).
I haven’t come across anything the children haven’t enjoyed doing [in the psycho-behavioural curriculum] and haven’t been ready to discuss.
(Primary school teacher from the North Ayrshire cluster) In the one case where the teacher reported that the children had not responded well to the psycho-behavioural activities, the teacher felt that the children had not had time to
get used to 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 your 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) Even though this teacher did not feel he had been able to carry out the psychobehavioural activities successfully with the children in his Primary 6 class, he still saw the value in promoting the concepts highlighted within the psycho-behavioural
programme and intended to give the psycho-behavioural activities another go:
The PSD [psycho-behavioural] side of it, I’ve not exactly been enthused about, but I’m going to give it another go. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) A range of positive observations were made regarding the psycho-behavioural curriculum that included (a) it tied in with the personal and social development curriculum, (b) it was flexible, (c) the content of the activities was good, and (d) the concepts promoted within the curriculum had wider applications than physical education and sport.
• Links with the personal and social development curriculum (PSD) (93%).
The psycho-behavioural side fits in really well into lots of areas in PSD [personal and social development]. The goal setting, for example, because we use goal setting in our PLP [personal learning plan], they have to set themselves a goal every block. We work in blocks here. So, it’s good to see that strategy coming through in lots of areas in their lives, so I like that side of it. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) One of the big issues is time, time is a real premium in the primary school because the curriculum is absolutely overloaded. So the strengths were where it tied in with things we’re doing in PSD anyway, like goal setting. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster)
• Flexibility within the psycho-behavioural curriculum (47%).
I was really pleased with the psycho-behavioural resources. If there hadn’t been flexibility in it, it would have been an absolute nightmare.
But it was clearly said at the training that we could adapt the activities and there was flexibility. So that was good. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) The good thing about it [the psycho-behavioural resource] was we were told there was flexibility, thank goodness and you could adapt what you were using. You didn’t have to do everything. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster)
• Content within the psycho-behavioural curriculum (80%).
Some of the stuff we used was great, for example, the three sit-ups [a goal setting activity]. All the children got the idea behind that and that was a laugh, they really loved it, the fact that the next group came up and were determined to beat the time of the first group. So they could really see what was going on there, which was good. I really loved the imagery stuff as well and they enjoyed that. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) Getting the children to look at themselves or analyse the behaviours of others, you know, there were characters that they had to analyse and there was a confident person, a nervous person. That was actually quite good because they weren’t judging themselves. They were starting from judging someone else and then putting it back to themselves, how would I feel in that situation and how would I react. And I think they got quite a lot from that and quite surprising answers from some of the children.
(Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster)
• Wider applications (93%).
We were very enthused about that [the psycho-behavioural curriculum].
We saw that as the stronger side because it lies toward the subject areas. So, again, it gave a structure to work with. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) We had a big discussion after doing the imagery task and we were talking about using self imagery in all sorts of situations, not just sport and every child volunteered a time when they could use it, or when they had used it recently. So, for example, we were having a ‘stars in your eyes’ competition and one of the girls said that to make herself less nervous what she did was she stood in her living room and imagined she was getting applause and everything and then when she actually was on the stage, she said she imagined she was in her living room. So I thought that was great. That’s what it’s all about. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster)
Additionally, all teachers indicated (100%) that they would continue using the psychobehavioural resources following the completion of the pilot programme:
I felt I didn’t do enough [of the psycho-behavioural curriculum] but I would still be willing to pick it up. I’m still excited about it, if more gaps come in, I’ll come back to it. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) I think for the classroom stuff [the psycho-behavioural resources], I think it’s something we might build on ourselves. Build up our own bank of resources. I would try and find other video clips, things that are going on in sport just now as well, like the rugby that’s just happened, things like that. But I think there’s a good basis there [in the psycho-behavioural curriculum]. (Primary school teacher from the Balfron cluster) Whilst 47% of the teachers highlighted that the flexibility provided within the psychobehavioural curriculum was a positive feature, one teacher discussed how the number of activities provided within the curriculum, which enabled this flexibility, was an initial concern.
I think maybe there was a bit too much on that [the psycho-behavioural] side, just for me speaking personally. So I found it a bit off-putting because I actually panicked a bit and thought ‘I’m never going to get through all this’ even though we were clearly told there was flexibility. So maybe just provide us with less. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) Additionally, two teachers (13%) felt that there could have been less content on some of
the work cards:
Some of them had quite a lot of work on them, you know, and maybe it could have been broken down into a few more sheets or a few more lessons as there was quite a lot sometimes involved in one sheet, quite a lot of discussion with them. But most of it was explained very well so before you started you were able to decide really what key points you wanted to do and decide the bits that you’d take out. You could adapt the lessons so you could maybe have a longer discussion or you could take it [the concept] into something else. But, it [the psycho-behavioural curriculum] didn’t need much preparation to do, you could go ahead and do it. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster) Possibly related to the extent of activities that teachers were provided within the psychobehavioural curriculum, one teacher suggested that an indication of how long should be
spent on developing each of the objectives being promoted would have been valuable:
There was no time scale [provided with the psycho-behavioural resources], it didn’t say ‘it’s recommended you do this three times a week’. From my point of view, I think that would be handy. (Primary school teacher from the Bannockburn cluster)
4.3 Professional Development Programmes A professional development programme preceded the implementation of the DPYPS programme for each of the pilot clusters. Two development programmes were designed, one which targeted the primary school teachers that would be delivering the DPYPS programme in each of the primary schools and a second for individuals involved in coaching within the pilot regions. Within the Stirling Council cohorts (Bannockburn and Balfron), active primary school co-ordinators and specialist PE teachers linked to the schools involved within the pilots were also invited along to the training days. The professional development phase of the DPYPS programme was seen as an integral element in facilitating the programme to achieve all of its aims since the resources were designed to be used in conjunction with a thorough in-service training.
The professional training days consisted of experts from the field of psychomotor and psycho-behavioural development leading a training workshop that looked to provide the
programme leaders with knowledge on not only how to teach the games but also:
• The philosophy that underpins the programme.
• How the cards link together to form a progression.
• How to use the progression to fit their class size and abilities.
• The flexibility within the programme so that individual teachers can use the programme in ways that fit their own methods and teaching styles.
• The potential for wider applications of the programme.
The in-service training was conducted over a four-day period. In keeping with the ‘organic’ philosophy of the entire project, all partners contributed to the refinement of the training packages. Thus, based on experiences from North Ayrshire, adjustments and additions were made to the training for the Stirling clusters. It is, perhaps, sod’s law and human nature that only some of these changes were positively received!
4.4 ‘Consumer’ Perceptions of the Training 4.4.1 Overview of the Data Collection During the interviews conducted at the conclusion of the DPYPS programme, those individuals who had attended the training phase were asked to reflect on the value of the training. This section provides an overview of the comments made by ‘teachers’, ‘coaches’ and ‘other consumers’.
The interviews were conducted collaboratively by the research team. Each interview lasted 40-90 minutes, and all the interviews were completed within a one month period.
No data were collected prior to establishing rapport and trust with the interviewees. This was accomplished by being candid with the interviewees and reassuring them that the purpose of the interview was not to evaluate their performance, but to gain an understanding of their perceptions of the DPYPS programme and how it could be improved. The interviews, which were semi-structured, were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim.
Following the transcription of the interviews, the raw data for the three pilot regions were arranged in text units, and were then analysed using qualitative inductive methods based on open codes, emerging themes, and emerging categories (Miles & Huberman, 1994). The emerging codes were then arranged into themes that were based on the converging responses of a number of participants to minimise the effects of personality and other individual differences, thus leading to the identification of common patterns.
Presentation follows the patterns established in previous sections.
4.4.2 Local Authorities
Many Teachers have had Very Little Previous PE In-service Training The Local Authorities commented that many teachers had not received much previous in-service training. Indeed, the fact that DPYPS looked to develop primary school teachers’ ability as PE teachers through the philosophy and methodology as well as explicit developmental content was seen as a positive advantage over other training
available from similar initiatives:
You know, DPYPS examines the philosophy behind it, and that's important. Without scaring people off you've got to do that. But it 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.
Participants felt that DPYPS provides a framework for effective practice and as a quality assurance measure for any in-service training.
I also think the programme as it stands, or the philosophy behind the programme, it's a good measuring point. It's a good vehicle in fact for inservice delivery. It's a good focus for in-service delivery. I go out now and I do TOPS training. And we do TOPS, we teach them and so it's very easy just to go through the cards.
I think the course was well presented. I think it gave everybody a boost to what Stirling Rugby Club Junior Section has been trying to do anyway which was good because they’ve said some of that previously and I think the fact that that was being reinforced by somebody externally was good.