ERIC Number: EJ818174
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 70
Teaching Coaches to Coach Holistically: Can Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Help?
Jones, Robyn L.; Turner, Poppy
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v11 n2 p181-202 Jun 2006
Background: Coaching, as related to improving others' sporting experience and/or performance, at any level is unquestionably a complex business. General agreement exists that the dynamic and intricate nature of the work in teaching, guiding and managing others in this regard precludes any paint-by-number plans that practitioners can easily follow. Consequently, the need to coach holistically, in terms of viewing coaching as a complex social process, which involves a myriad of interacting variables, has increasingly gained recognition. Despite this awareness, more definitive plans about how we can better educate coaches to meet the integrated, pressured and fluid nature of their work have not emerged. Purpose: The aim of this paper is explore a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach as one means through which this neglect can be addressed, and the goal of coaching holistically can be realised. Its purpose lies not only in emphasising the interdisciplinary nature of coaching knowledge in practice, and of the need to educate coaches with this in mind, but in actively presenting a way through which this can be done. Participants and setting: PBL was introduced to a final year class of 11 undergraduate students during a two-hour weekly session over the course of a 12-week semester. Design: During Week One the students were introduced to the principles of problem-based learning and of holistic coaching and were divided into working groups, with three or four in each group. At the end of the session each group was given a focal problem or scenario. Week Two opened with intra-group discussions of findings so far, before a set of interruptions (i.e. smaller problems demanding immediate attention) were introduced. This forced them to think decisively under pressure, with little time for lengthy discussion and reflection. This pattern was repeated with second interruptions in Week Three. Week Four then allowed time for the refinement of the students' preferred solutions to their focal problems and for the preparation of related group presentations. Week Five consisted of group presentations to the class, followed by questions. Week Six witnessed the important phase of reflection, consisting of a tutor-led discussion and consideration of the learning derived from the given scenarios. In Week Seven, new groups were formed and organised, and second focal problems were introduced. The first five-week cycle (Weeks Two to Six) was then repeated. Data collection: Data were collected through continuous observations and reflection over the duration of the course, and semi-structured group interviews with the attending 11 students (eight male, three female) at its termination. Each interview was attended by three or four students and lasted approximately 90 minutes. The field notes and interview data were carefully sifted through by both authors to identify common themes. A tentative analysis and concluding thoughts: In respect of the unit's learning outcomes, the students encouragingly reported that it had "opened [their] eyes to something new" (Kerry) and that it provided an explicit opportunity to use some theoretical knowledge "for the first time really, in a practical situation" (Phil). There was also some evidence that the students had begun to think differently about coaching as a result of their PBL experience, in addition to developing a better appreciation of the inherent complexity of coaching which relates to the many interrelated knowledges needed to excel at the activity. There was also greater recognition of the structural constraints upon coaches' role fulfilment and the subsequent limits of their agency. Problems, however, were also encountered, centering principally on the use of peer assessment and the perceived ambiguity in a couple of the presented scenarios. In conclusion, although it carries the possibility to make some defensive and dismissive, we believe that PBL also possesses the potential to help coaches towards the higher goals of transferable knowledge, considered flexibility, critical reflection and lifelong learning--qualities which recent research suggests comprise effective, holistic coaching practice.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Problem Based Learning, Lifelong Learning, Teaching Methods, Athletic Coaches, Holistic Approach, Interdisciplinary Approach, Group Discussion, Foreign Countries, Interviews, Observation, Outcomes of Education, Theory Practice Relationship, Student Attitudes, Peer Evaluation, Teacher Education, Teacher Educators, Physical Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)