Professional Development And Continuous Professional Education Education Essay

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Coaching has ambitions to be considered a profession although its roots lay back in local voluntary provision (Day, 2010; Taylor & Garratt, 2010). Jones (2006) suggests that the activity itself remains without a set of clear definitions and there are a number contested terms and understandings which inhibit its ability to bring a unified set of practices and operations (Jones, 2006). The complexity of coaching is based on its multifaceted character. Therefore, it justifiable to suggest the education of its coaches and others who wish to use as an education medium are likely to profit from an engaging and mixture of learning formats. It is now realized (Nelson, Cushion & Potrac, 2006; Cushion Nelson, Armour, Lyle, Jones, Sandford & O'Callaghan, 2010) that this learning consists of mix of formal, non-formal and informal learning. Research reports indicate that coaches find informal learning to be most beneficial and productive in relation to their own practice (Cushion, Nelson, Armour, Lyle, Jones, Sandford, O'Callaghan, 2010, Nelson, Cushion & Potrac, 2006). According to authors such as Cain coaching processes are inextricably connected with teaching and that they have both pedagogical and psychological aspects (Cain, 2004). Furthermore, Jones (2006) suggests that coaching is linked with pedagogy, because it is encompasses many educational and pedagogical theories and that the act of coaching is contextually bound in the social and culture environment (McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993) Thus, it is argued that coaches should have a wider understanding of social, cultural and educational concepts (Cassidy, Jones and Potrac, 2004). The goal for coaches and coaching practice is to be open in new ideas; alternatives and improvement in order to change what have been "taken for granted" operations (Jones, Armour and Potrac, 2003). Effective coaches should be focused on their profession development and at the same time committed to learn through their own day to day experience. This essay will discuss a number of related issues. It will consider the nature of both continuous professional development (CPD) and continuous professional education (CPE) and will draw from other professional related research to examine the nature of continuous learning by coaches in a dynamic environment (Vargas-Tonsing, 2007).

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Moreover, it will attempt to discuss if CPD meets the needs of coaches and coaching education programmes. In this essay CPD will be viewed as an indicator of continuous competence to practice and as a means to achieve fruitful outcome through learning. The development of a more challenging and productive CPD should force the governing bodies to consider the manner in which they are responsible for the ongoing development of coaches. In doing so it may well lead them to adopt a system where a CPD provision will be centered on the needs of each coach. In doing so it will locate the additional training in the practice environment and reinforce the notion that learning in and because of one's own practice is essential to the growth of professional competences. Additionally it will analyse if CPD and coach education programs should look at new ideas and ways of thinking that will add more value in their context and will produce an effective coaching practice by adopting methods such as mentoring process, reflective practice and experience/observation (Cushion, Armour, Jones, 2003).

It will argue that CPD is a career long process through which professionals remain up-to-date by augmenting and enhancing their competence (British Psychological Society, Learning Centre). Craft (1996) has defined CPD as "all types of professional learning undertaken (by teachers) beyond the initial point of training". In addition, continuous professional education (CPE) is considered to be the further education of people to improve their skills and enhance their knowledge through seminars or courses organised by society organisations. It will reach to the point that, CPD in coaching should be evolved separately from the other professions, without importing ideas that do not fit to the coaching framework and should consider the differentiation of needs of each coach and base their personal development in their background of experience, by enriching their knowledge and experience.

THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK

Coaching faces the need to be considered an established profession, in our days, although its history according to Day (2010) and Taylor & Garatt (2010) leads back to the local voluntary provision, where a professional, after his retirement, used to become coach and train new athletes. The practices of that individual had been shaped from their previous careers and from their life experiences (Jones, Armour & Potrac, 2004). For this reason, Jones (2006) suggests that the activity itself remains without a set of clear definitions and there are a number of contested terms and understandings which inhibit its ability to bring a unified set of practices and operations. Furthermore, many researches, argue that coaching and coach have a multifaceted personality that consists of teaching, continuously learning of knowledge and has both pedagogical and psychological aspects (Jones, 2006; Cain, 2004). Coaches are responsible to have a wider understanding of social, cultural and educational concepts, since the act of coaching is contextually bound in the social and culture environment and the coach should encompass the responsibilities of a psychologist (McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993; Cassidy, Jones and Potrac, 2004). According to Cook (2006), a coach has to face many and different athletes with different needs and is his duty to create a positive environment between the athletes and himself in order to increase their performance and gain their respect and trust. Thus, it is justifiable to suggest that the development of the coach is a combination of learning experiences, such as formal, non-formal and informal.

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The conceptual territory of coaching learning explores the acquisition of the knowledge and its appliance to the field. The continuing education of a coach is essential, in order to be updated and can occur through formal, non-formal and informal learning. The formal learning is defined by Coombs and Ahmed (1974) as something that has taken place in an "institutionalized, chronologically graded and hierarchically structured educational system" (p.8). The knowledge agenda of the formalised learning have the benefit to be packaged and offered through large-scale coach certification programmes developed from governing bodies or institutions (Nelson, Cushion & Potrac, 2006). Formal learning is considered to be "a powerful tool to enhance the development and beginning professionals in all fields of endeavor" (Wright & Smith, 2000, p.211). Nevertheless, coaches indicate that they find informal learning to be most beneficial and productive in relation to their own practice (Cushion, Nelson, Armour, Lyle, Jones, Sandford, O'Callaghan, 2010; Nelson et al., 2006). Coombs and Ahmed (1974) identified informal learning as "the lifelong process by which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills, attitudes and insights from daily experiences and exposure to the environment". However, the informal learning does not only include the learning of values and ways of behaviour, but also the individual learning of a new way of thinking and seeing through daily experiences in the field (Nelson et al., 2006). It can lead directly to the solution of the problem through the acquired knowledge (Reade, 2009). In addition, in the intermediate stage lies the non-formal learning, which according to Coombs and Ahmed (1974, p.113) is conceptualised as "any organized, systematic, educational activity carried on outside the framework of the formal system to provide select types of learning to particular subgroups in the population". The non-formal learning includes the gathering of coaches in numbers and their personal engagement of coaches to seminars, workshops or conferences in order to operate as communities of practice (Nelson et al. 2006).

Nonetheless there has been an increasing need for more realistic educational programmes to ensure that coaches are up to date with their profession. The need for qualified coaches has led to the development of improved ways of learning, where the combination of theory, practice and experience is necessary to become a successful coach (Vargas-Tonsing, 2007). Coaches, as well as physical education teachers, should expand their knowledge daily either through the mentoring process or the learning process (Nelson et al., 2006). Thus, coaches should "move from the narrow focus of physical skill acquisition to include the affective and cognitive domains" (Bergmann Drewe, 2000). Going further, Jones (2006, p. 4) suggests a new dimension to the term "coaching", highlighting that "the goal is to enable and to encourage us to look at coaching through fresh eyes". As a result, effective coaches should be focused on their professional development and at the same time committed to learn through their own day to day experience.

The constant change of the environment through the growth of technology and the need for more specilised skills, has led to the introduction of the continuous professional development (CPD) and the continuous professional education (CPE). Craft (1996) has defined CPD as "all types of professional learning undertaken (by teachers) beyond the initial point of training" and it is considered to be an ever-evolving knowledge, skills and understanding, in order professionals to be up-dated to the evolution of their occupation. In addition, continuous professional education (CPE) is considered to be the further education of people to improve their skills and enhance their knowledge through seminars or courses organised by society organisations, such as universities and colleges. The continuing competence in all professions is an indicator for CPD. Professionals from a number of occupational sectors are obliged to expand and improve their competence, in order to develop their future practices and be competitive in the modern marketplace.

As a result, coaches and the wider coaching arena have also been affected by these developments. The improvement of individuals' coaching practice and coaching structures, both in quality and numbers, is an indicator of continuous up-skilling and competence to practice and operates as a means to achieve fruitful sporting outcomes through learning. Coaching is much more than just teaching the basic skills of a particular sport. The role of the coach should involve leadership by appreciating the influence the trainer has upon the athletes, teaching by realising the importance of knowledge transfer and organising by recognising the value of a well organised and up-to-date training programme (International Ice Hockey Federation, 2007). In addition, coaches should never impede their knowledge, but should adopt new ideas, be innovative and open minded and most of all commit to their profession, in order to improve their practices (Jones, Armour & Potrac, 2003). Thus, CPD preserve an imperative role in the education of coaches who wish to be in a state of constant improvement and engagement with education.

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Although, coaching education is a critical component to improve coaches' knowledge and coaching, coach education continues to face many unsolved problems (Vargas-Tonsing, 2007; Cushion, Armour & Jones, 2003). Coaching is important for athlete development and national sporting success; however the education content does not meet the needs for a more holistic coaching framework. According to authors, such as Vargas-Tonsing (2007), one of the major problems education fronts is the focus on performance development such as technical and tactical skills and not within the coaching process. The knowledge coaches currently receive, seems to turn them into unskilled workers, since they seem not to develop what Jones (2000) describes as "necessary, intellectual and practical competencies, namely, independent and creative thinking skills in relation to meaning making and problem solving" (Cushion et al., 2003, p.219). Furthermore, current form of education is often based upon packaged, consumable information that bears little relation to the practice domains. Presented in this way it fails to deepen to the main knowledge, reaching the point of a neither informative nor influential education (Lyle, 2002; Vagras-Tonsing, 2007; Luikkoven, Laasko & Telama, 1996). Moreover, as Cushion et al. (2003) underlined, the current system of coaching education has failed to draw upon experience and observation, which are, suggested as, the primary sources of coaching learning. The call, therefore, is for governing bodies that are responsible for the successful growth of CPD to empower these areas, by developing imaginative, dynamic and thoughtful coach education which, hopefully, will result in better coaches (Cushion et al., 2003).

Undoubtedly, it is necessary to develop a more challenging and productive CPD with seminars and workshops that will focus on interesting and meaningful topics (Armour & Yelling, 2004). These problems should bring thoughts to the responsible governing bodies and this could lead them to adopt a system where a CPD provision will be centered on the needs of each coach (Wiersma & Sherman, 2005). This professional development should not be a regulated process, where the individual's experiences and knowledge would not be taken into account, but a personalised method of education tailored to requirements of each coach (Taylor, in press). Consequently, there is a need for a more relevant and advanced coaching education, in order to improve the quality of sports coaching and design programs around coaches needs (Vargas-Tonsing, 2007). In doing so governing bodies will locate the additional training in the practice environment and reinforce the notion that learning in and because of one's own practice is essential to the growth of professional competences. Besides CPD could be more valuable by adopting in its context, mentoring process, reflective practice and experience/observation, in order coaches and coaching practice to be more effective (Cushion et al., 2003).

In addition, the professional development should be evolved in relation to the changes of the coaching environment and reach to the effectiveness through a sociocultural context (Jones, 2000). The content of CPD in coaching should mature to the degree that it starts to be evolved separately from other professions, without importing ideas that do not fit to the coaching framework and needs to consider the differentiation of needs of each coach and base their personal development in their background of experience, by enriching their knowledge and understanding. This process should encourage a professional dialogue between governing bodies and coaches, in order to attend to specific and flourishing results and not only concentrate in fulfilling the needs of the institutions (Nelson & Cushion, 2006). Furthermore, it is necessary to underline the cost of this procedure. Although governing bodies should assess the need of a successful coaching development, they should also consider being cost effective, in order to avoid a waste of resources and in addition reach to a rewarding outcome (Brown, Belfield & Field, 2002). After consideration of the above research in the secondary data, the outcome of this essay is the need for the development of a more challenging CPD, based upon the requirements of each coach and the successful progress of coaching education by taking into consideration the multifaceted personality of the coaching process.

CONCLUSION

Although coaching has its roots back to voluntary provision (Day, 2010; Taylor & Garatt, 2010), until today it has not a clear definition and remains faceless in the clarification of its context. Coaching is based on its multifaceted personality, since the coaching processes include both pedagogical and psychological aspects (Jones, 2006; Cain, 2004). Therefore, coaches should have a wider range of knowledge around the sociocultural and educational environment, in order to provide their athletes with a comprehensive understanding of their knowledge and experiences. For this reason the development of a more challenging and productive CPD, which will be able to adapt to the needs of each coach, should be a priority for the governing bodies. The reformed CPD should be able to innovate in the coaching practices, using the experiences of the coaches and improve the coaching outcomes through productive learning. Additionally, although coaches prefer to base their practices in informal learning, the growth of a CPD that will evolve within the coaching context, will enhance the coach with a mixture of formal and informal learning and thus achieve more competent coaching programmes. As a result, CPD that belongs to the formal learning should be more relevant to the coaching education and take into account the differentiation of each coach, in order to produce more effective and fruitful coaching certification programmes. Nevertheless, further research in the field of continuous professional development is needed, since the sports environment is in a continuous state of flux and every day new data are presented.