«Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh Developing the Potential of Young People ...»
From that point of view, I think they also know from their own personal experience that what was being said was true, so this is not theoretical. It was … ‘yeah, you're right, this is right, that's it exactly. See when that was happening, I can explain what was happening there. I now have a framework, I now have a model to apply to what was happening which I didn't understand’. So I think it gave them confidence about what they were doing because sometimes you feel a bit challenged because what they were doing was right but they were not doing it in the right way.
Both respondents felt that the time for discussion was an advantage to the DPYPS training. However more emphasis on how the content, methodologies and philosophy
converts to practice would be even better:
I thought the in-service day with Stirling was the best by far and I think there were a few reasons for that but one reason for it was that everyone was doing rugby, everyone also knew each other, everyone also was coaching together, so they had some good discussion. So I think in terms of the first day talking about how do you interact with kids and how do you promote these characteristics, these mental skills, it worked better because there was discussion about it. There was … oh, tell us examples about how that worked.
The one thing I would say is the more you can link it to practical, the more they've got the opportunity to actually work with the resources.
The Local Authorities felt that one way to provide a transition into the flexible nature of the packs and allow the teachers and coaches to see the cards into practice is to provide a set of pre-prepared lessons based from the cards.
So it's getting that right balance and getting the timing of that right but maybe showing how it could be integrated within, just take as an example from a 5-14 scheme where there was a programme of study and saying, ‘well, let's just look at that, here's where the different elements could fit in’.
Just think of a bigger example than that. Maybe that could be another development of the programme in short time speed.
The Local Authorities noted that, in line with the organic nature of the programme, the in-service did develop and become better as the programme progressed and matured.
People got more time actually to work with the resources and develop and understand the resources. And I think well that's good. And that's probably something you would want to come out in the findings. That the in-service got better.
The programme provided a sound background to what was needed, but the Local Authorities felt the crucial thing, especially for the coach development, is how do you maintain and support the programme and the coaches who were involved.
I think the issues are about maintaining the rugby club education now.
What it did give them was a theory and then a practice and the practice matched the theory. Most coaching courses, there's no theory. It's just this is it, this is what you get and this is what you do and there's not a lot of discussion about and it was very much a series of practices on these coach courses. I think there's some challenges now to take that forward. I think the issues are about, well what do they do next? What they’ve been trying to think about in the club and still have a bit to go in that but from their perspective, they’ll just do it anyway.
It was noted that, for DPYPS to have an ongoing and permanent impact on the coaches, continuous drip feeding of support and in-service would be required.
That’s how development goes, you know, it's not a one-off. It's not going to change the world by having a couple of nights. And if they could have small inputs like that dotted throughout and continuous, it's continuous development. There isn't one thing that's going to make a difference because you're going to keep developing, they’re going to get really good.
And they continue to keep getting really good and next year they might have some different people in and it'll all be starting again, because that's life and volunteer coaches. That’s the way it is. But if they get some key people who have got a good philosophy, who have good thinking and they're experienced, then they're the mentors for the new parents.
The Local Authorities believed that a follow up in-service incorporated in addition to the
support from seconded teachers would have been beneficial for the teachers:
Initial in-service was great! But give them another one later on. Once they've had a chance to use it then that becomes a much more interactive in-service. I think that would have been useful.
Furthermore, another lesson learned was to have meetings between the local areas, sportscotland and The University of Edinburgh. Such communication was valuable to clarify roles, issues and provide feedback on how the programme is going on a continuous basis.
Let them go and have a go now, but I think we then left it to the seconded teachers to be the support at that point. I think it would have been useful, how useful was our recent meeting [with sportscotland, clusters and the University of Edinburgh]? It was great but it should have happened ages ago.
As a way forward for DPYPS and in an attempt to solve the general problems of lack of good in-service, one way forward may be to utilise the specialists who have been involved in this programme and set up more in-service training.
A number of opportunities exist for coach development and teachers who are working with kids in schools sport development as well as teachers in PE. There's lots of room for good in-service. Not necessarily for Edinburgh University per se. Let's take the people who have worked with this programme and who are practitioners, you know, and developing inservice providers who are also practitioners. This is possibly one way forward with the material that you have.
4.4.2 Seconded Teachers Many Teachers have had Very Little Previous PE In-service Training The seconded teachers highlighted that very few of the teachers had actually had many PE in-service training programmes in the past. Indeed, many of them had not had any for two decades. This was a considerable problem for the quality of PE provision.
Only one of them took part themselves in physical activity and only one of them, the same person, who was the youngest member of staff, has had any in-service training since they left teacher training college. The rest of them have all been teaching for 20-25 years without any.
Only one of them has had PE in-service in the last 22 years, which is quite scarey.
The seconded teachers felt that other in-services that have been offered have not appeared to have had a big impact. However, they did incorporate the provision of good resources, which enabled schools to benefit from extra equipment.
Everybody's encouraged to go on the in-service training because if you go on the in-service training, you get your bag and then the whole school can use your resources. I think again it's more an issue of who the teacher is.
Across the different primary schools, you'll get different reactions. I think they do like it because they're user friendly but I wouldn't have said it's had an enormous impact at all.
The DPYPS In-Service was Well Received The DPYPS in-service was received very well and key factors such as the philosophy, methodology and explicit content were covered. However more practical application in the in-service training itself would have helped.
Again, the philosophy is great, come and give me the ideas, methods and resources, let's try it, how do I use this with my kids. And we sat and we learned how you would use planning and evaluating in your sport and each individual coach had their own stuff and we worked with them.
The more practical applications you can have, the better your in-service days. Like coaches’ in-service, looking at the methodology. The psychomotor did require a lot of follow up work and I kind of neglected the psycho-behavioural work with the thought that the teachers would find that relatively easy.
People need to sit down and work it out. It's a huge trade off between having enough theory so that they understand the underpinning philosophies of what they're trying to do, but yet having enough practical applications so they can go away and teach it relatively easily. The last or follow up day really could hit home about how the philosophies are underpinning everything you do, how the transfer between parts of the package, and that could be a day for doing that. I think if you had an inservice day with the teachers just now who had undergone the programme, they would get so much more out of it and so would be able to adapt it a great deal.
Seeing whole lessons actually done for them where they can sit back and look and then maybe take in a little bit themselves. But it's huge because, I mean, ‘the PE specialist from the University of Edinburgh’ came down and did a bit of basic moves and even though we had four days, but even more would still have helped more. But again, it's not to do with the programme.
I think it's just they just didn't have the experience of teaching such a wide range of skills.
However, the seconded teachers felt that feedback was used to improve the in-service training on an ongoing basis.
In-service developed as it went along. Well, for me, certainly the psychomotor, we gave more practical application and actually more practice.
Planning, leading. That's something we changed. In the first one, they had a demonstration from ‘the PE specialist from the University of Edinburgh’ on the Basic Moves programme and that was all the practical applications they had. Whereas when we did the second one, we had an entire day of first of all planning, second of all I led a session and then third they got to lead in small groups, you know, plan and organise a lead a session. I think that really worked well.
I think that would give them big scope for a CD Rom as a support package as well and I think the last thing about the in-service was even the two inservices that I did within Stirling Council, they evolved as we went along.
So we actually made them better. By the last in-service, it was better than the first one and I think we know now that we've got a better idea of what needs to be in them and what the teachers need out of them through working with the teachers and through asking them and feedback.
Some Disappointment in Coach Training
The seconded teachers felt that the coach training was a disappointment at the beginning, and although the coaches who were there reported gaining a lot from the experience and commented that it was the best in-service that they had had, the ability to follow up and support these coaches was extremely difficult. Several attempts folded through an inability to get dates when everyone was free or enough interest could be gained.
It's so difficult to support any of that. It's very, very difficult. It's so difficult to even contact them again, you know, and I've to contact them. That's the problem and that was, I think, a weakness in it was maybe naïve to think that councils have a massive body of coaches that you could tap into and look straight at. But that's a coaching fault I think more than a programme fault.
Me, personally, I couldn't go to these clubs to see how things were going on. It was a phone call or a message left or a fax or an email that never got replied to. So it was quite difficult to gauge. It was more of a trust … they left inspired, so the assumption was made that this would go. It was impossible really to keep track of what's going on.
I was very disappointed in the coaches, just the actual response from the clubs that we got. The coaches that came along to the in-service thought it was great stuff but again the follow-ups for it were kind of insignificant really.
I think that's been the weakness of the programme, and I wouldn't blame that on the programme. I would blame it on coaching in general, in that Stirling Council has a very, very good policy on coaching but actually to get coaches together and to present material to coaches and talk them through a new programme, you either hit the wrong coaches or it just … it was difficult.
The target audience of initial in-service training may have been inappropriate. The seconded teachers felt that the programme would have been better targeted at coaches at a higher level, and that dissemination could have occurred better that way.
I think the level of coaches that we had in the initial, certainly the initial inservice and I know it's very derogatory but I don't think they were at a level where they really took in what we were doing, they could obviously see the practical applications but I don't think they were at a level where they would particularly evaluate what they were doing anyway. And I think banging in at a higher level might be a better idea.
One successful progression occurred through the development of the in-service leading towards providing in-service to a club or specific sport in order to educate into an environment where there is already a natural support system and basis where people would be able to discuss and develop ideas after the in-service.
Like a rugby club, somebody could have, or two clubs that are close to each other. I don't know how that would work. The swimming club's quite big and the tennis clubs. I don't know. It tends to be the same people so maybe the swimming and tennis clubs could have had one night and get everybody. But then again, they were all asked, they were all asked what days they wanted to come and I got about five responses.
Other advantages about the Stirling Rugby, obviously they're all part of the same club and there was one coach in particular driving a lot of that and it seemed that they were going to try and use that structure as a kind of philosophy for the whole club; the structure of the coaching in the club.
And again, it's one club together and it's a group of five or six coaches in the same area, so they can support each other, they can ask each other.
It's easier for Edinburgh University team to go out and support them. If you've got like the last time, where it was 16 coaches from every sport under the sun from bowling to I don't know.
This ability to be able to support the coaches and teachers appeared to be crucial in building upon the initial excitement and enthusiasm that the in-service days provided.