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Models of Teacher and Student Centred Learning

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Published: Mon, 11 Sep 2017

In this part of the essay, I will examine reasons for the shift from teacher-centered to student-centered learning and arguments to why models based approaches are considered more effective than traditional approaches, reflecting on the education value of Siedentop’s (1994) sport education model.

Modern education is shifting from being teacher-led to being more student-centered. Traditional approaches in Physical education (PE) originally follows a sequence which begins with direct teaching of skill in isolation via teachers. This advances into drills to practice skills learned and then executed via games to apply the skills. Direct instruction and teacher-led lessons are criticised regarding the effectiveness of this model. Placek (1983) declares physical education was traditionally marginalized and administrators cared little about the content learned by students in PE, as long as classes were under control. He/she also found the primary focus of PE lessons were to teach students the skills necessary to play sport and perform the activity. Poynton (1986) states PE classes traditionally have been centralized on the psychomotor aspect of learning showing how cognitive, and socio-affective growth was not encouraged. The traditional approach is regarded unproductive/ineffective for learning; It utilizes a ‘One-size-fits-all’ approach, opposing that individuals learn uniquely and produce different attitudes/behaviour patterns’. Lessons using the traditional approaches are “Not modified to suit developmental needs of learners” and are “Limited in capacity to meet diverse needs/goals”. Students neglected by this approach are those with learning difficulties and unable to cope with how lessons are delivered. Students above average may consequently be disadvantaged due to unchallenging tasks. Disadvantages occur from command and practice styles of teaching, as only a single method for performing skills is illustrated, with one conceivable response accepted in return: This is ideally catered to the average student. Evidence however opposes views exaggerating the ineffectiveness of traditional approaches as they’ve been effective in education for thousands of years. An advantage of this approach is students learn the appropriate content needed, to excel in the real world. Teachers also enforce traditional approaches when teaching as they’ve encountered it in their experiences as pupils, in order to uphold the traditional approach legacy. Teachers also experience positive feelings for this approach due to previous success performing skills themselves, therefore, they understand the need to develop skills, as a focus of this approach in PE. (Capel, Piotrowsk, 2000). From calls for more models based approaches, Casey (2014) suggested that “teachers are concerned that making changes to their pedagogies and curricula will only serve to break something that already works” relating to how successful traditional approaches have been.

Kirk (2009) examines the conditions for radical reform and introduces three potential physical education futures: ‘More of the Same’, ‘Radical Reform’ and ‘Extinction’. Kirk argues ‘more of the same’ is “the most likely short-term future” and ‘extinction’ will occur if radical reform is not incorporated. Radical reform is the most likely long-term future, which advocates for a models-based approach to be put incorporated.

Predominately, traditional approaches used to teach PE were direct and teacher centered in the past. However, the prevalence of model based approaches emphasizes a more indirect/student-centered approach, which has caused a shift in teaching. “models-based practice is concerned with ensuring teachers and coaches have a comprehensive and coherent plan for teaching/coaching and learning” (O’Donovan, 2011 p.326).To overcome limitations of the traditional approach , a models -based approach has been advocated; this model proposes practicable resolutions to problems by “limiting the range of learning outcomes, subject matter and teaching strategies appropriate to each pedagogical model and thus the arguments that can be used for educational value.”( Kirk (2013).

Physical education (PE) journals over the years have found models within this approach have proved to be effective in terms of meeting the student’s individual needs/differences. The models involve students in the decision-making process, which unlike the traditional approach, allows psychomotor, cognitive, and socio-affective growth. Students can exercise different ways to perform skills before they are perfect unlike traditional approaches where teachers directly introduce how skills are performed. Models based approaches proved a more effective way of teaching to understand the effectiveness and advantages of performing different moves in games. Furthermore, Models based practice prepare students with the proper utensils to incorporate the skills learned into other movements in different situations.

Advantages of student-centered approaches outweigh the duration taken to apply models effectively, but certain concerns have emerged about using models based approaches. Teachers learning to implement models based approaches have found it’s a tedious process. However, advantages of models based approaches are justified, regardless of the time spent developing lessons. Techniques used in the models are difficult for teachers to interpret without putting exertion. Significant practice is required for teachers to effectively use models based approaches.

Are models based practice a great white hope or a great white elephant? Although when models based approaches were applied, changes in attitude, positive feelings, enthusiasm, vigour and efficacy occurred; the significant issue with advocating the models was teachers lacked experience, leading them to feel like beginners. For “neophyte teachers, with little or no prior experience”, support was needed for the theoretical move from direct instruction to models based practices. Some teachers found it challenging and intentionally returned to old teaching methods; Others found the change happened gradually. A two-year period was the point which teachers begun to feel comfortable in the changes. To conclude, “reviewed papers suggested that practitioners need to see proof from other schools that show that MBP works”.

Siedentop (1982), suggested replacing physical education with Sport Education.” Hastie’s (2003) states Sport Education(SE) is “a response to three major concerns of ‘traditional physical education’: the “lack of content, discriminatory and abusive practices, and boring and irrelevant content.”. An authentic and enjoyable environment is created when SE is used, compared to past PE lessons.SE “is a curriculum and instruction model” which aims to deliver authentic sporting experiences in PE. An implication of SE is it “cannot be fitted easily into a short unit, multi-activity program”. “Lund and Tannehill (2010) that one model was not capable of delivering the entire breadth and depth of learning required in the different national contexts in which physical education curricula operate”. SE emphasises strategic play through three objectives: helping students develop into competent, literate, and enthusiastic sportspeople. Competent sportspeople develop skills and strategies to participate successfully in games. Literate sportspeople are knowledgeable regarding rules, traditions and values in sport and can distinguish good and bad sport practices. Enthusiastic sportspeople play and behave in ways that preserve, protect and enhance the sport culture (Kirk 2013). SE has six features: seasons, affiliation, formal competition, culminating events, record keeping, and festivity. In SE, units are seasons of 12 lessons or more which differs from multi-activity physical education where units are as short as four or six lessons.SE implements teaching strategies from traditional teacher-centred command styles, to more student-centred guided-discovery and problem-solving, depending on the specific context of the Sport Education season.SE allows for a greater depth of learning and better educational outcomes as “students experience several roles in addition to player, such as umpire, coach, journalist, timekeeper, equipment officer” and “students remain in the same team for the course of the season”.

In conclusion, although models based approaches act as effective solutions to meeting student’s individual needs/differences and assisting teachers in developing their pedagogies in comparison to traditional approaches; It’s important to note the learning process is complicated and we’re far from fathoming the effect of changing to models-based approaches.

This essay will examine on how gender a social factor and other cultural factors such as race, ethnicity and religion intersect with gender to influence teaching/coaching practice.

In physical education(PE), physical activity and youth sport, there is a focus on the pedagogies that teachers use to be effective. Teachers and coaches should recognise individual’s needs , in order to implement the “appropriate pedagogical encounters in sport in the form of programmes, lessons, sessions or activities”(armour 2013)pg21.This focus is due to youth voices in physical education where “young people tell their experiences of learning in physical education “(McPhail 2011) ; This can provoke pedagogical changes. “Characteristics such as gender, physical skill ability, (dis)ability, socioeconomic status and ethnicity may influence young people’s interaction, participation and performance in both physical education and sport.” (Armour 2013pg 106); thus, teachers and coaches adapt their teaching practice accordingly.” by implementing the three dimensions of pedagogy. According to Armour , these are: knowledge in context, learners and learning, and the teachers/teaching. Enacting this pedagogy, teaching/coaching practices can be structured to be inclusive when delivering programs/activities and teaching/coaching approaches “(Armour & Harris,2013)

My focus here is how gender as a social factor might influence teaching/coaching practice; Gender equity in PE has been a focus of extensive research in teaching and coaching practices. Research shows females are asked questions less frequently than males in lessons, especially in maths and science which stereotypically favour males. (Fagot, 1981; Lundeberg, 1997). Males are also hindered due to stereotypes, as they’re penalised more ofter for behavioural issues than females. Stereotypical behaviours associated with females are preferred more in education, which consequently puts males at a disadvantage (Fagot 1981). Studies have demonstrated that physical education complies with this rule as there’s a lack of equal treatment depending on gender. PE has been male dominated with notions where boys are perceived to have greater physical and social competence than females and where masculinity and femininity are separated, masculinity being encouraged more in sport. Masculine traits involve being strong, aggressive, muscular and powerful whereas Feminine traits involve bring soft, weak, passive, slim or expressive. consequently, students are refused equal opportunity to participate. When planning lessons, teachers should recognise female and male students don’t experience PE equally and fairly. Female participation in PE tends to decrease during adolescence as girl will avoid being sweaty due to stereotypes such as ‘girls don’t sweat’ and therefore are afraid of judgement: Girls may feel uncomfortable in sports kit during puberty as their bodies may develop at different rates compared to other female peers. Perpetuation of masculinity with decrese female participation as girls should be ‘slim’, and not ‘aggressive’ and ‘muscular’ like boys. Gendered disengagement from PE is a concern regarding body image during adolescence.

Gendered practice in PE is concerned with the type of activity where students participate differently based on gender. “Activities traditionally associated with masculinity and femininity place expectations on females and males that may influence their opportunities for participation.” (Valley2013). In general, in both gender groups, those who have high levels of competence also have high levels of physical activity. However,looking further into both groups, boys overall have greater “beliefs regarding their physical abilities, and (are) more physically active than females.” Boys generally prefer competitive sports or contact sports such as football or rugby whereas girls embody creative activities such dance and gymnastics. Thus, gendered teaching occurs when teachers engage in gendered practice. Some research has found “male physical education teachers are, in general, particularly conservative” when conducting lessons of dance or gymnastics to female students by showing levels of resistance. Similarly, research found female PE teachers found delivering dance challenging due to conflict presented by the male students; Male teachers would have been more appropriate to teach boys these activities. Therefore, roles when teaching the national curriculum of PE are considered in terms of matching teachers to students based on gender when it comes to specific activities, and when planning lessons for both gender groups. The influence gender has on teaching/coaching practice can be both negative and positive. If a positive environment is created in PE, then gender should not inhibit learning.

Remarkably, gender does not act independently thus it’s important to examine how gender intersects with other social and cultural factors such as religion, ethnicity, social class, which all predominantly interact on multiple and frequently simultaneous levels. Teachers and coaches therefore need to considers such factors into their practices (for inclusion). When gender intersects with these axes of identities, notably females are presumptively more likely to encounter multiple layers of inequity. For example, many religious requirements can impact on structures and practices in physical education. Islam emphasises modesty in dress codes for boys and girls, especially adolescents. Thus, a need for boys to cover from “waist to knees and girls to cover hair, arms and legs”. In teaching and coaching practice, teachers should plan inclusive lessons to meet these requirements, especially swimming where religious beliefs preclude participation rate of this group in PE. In coaching, more than teaching, Muslim girls and boys should be granted permission to wear leggings or tracksuit bottoms that cover the body more fully, which will enable them to take part, without neglecting religious requirements. Another aspect of Islam is Ramadan where students may choose to fast; this will influence teaching and coaching practice in regards to ensuring that physical activity continues, without compromising health and safety regulations. Less intense physical activity should take place during Ramadan and activities such as swimming which may compromise Ramadan should be considered; Muslim boys and girls may suffer anxiety from accidently swallowing water during swimming practices.

Gender, race and ethnicity also intersect when it comes to participation. Patterns predominantly show:

Black students

Asian students

White students

Football, Boxing, Basketball, Athletics and Gym

Cricket, Boxing and Gym

Cheerleading, netball, football, Rugby League Golf, Hockey, Cricket, Tennis Gymnastics, Horse Riding, Swimming, Athletics, Gym

Research suggests: gender and racial power relations are institutionalized in schools through sports social practices in PE classes. “By encouraging students’ participation in specific physical activities and promoting gendered or racial physical activities (i.e., basket-ball, track and field, dance or football), boys learn to become white or black men and girls learn to become White or Black women.” This may be due to stereotyping cultures with certain sports. For example: Black male student’s having a genetic advantage of playing basketball or running the 100 metres and Asian male student’s engagement in cricket; Because of this, teaching and coaching practices are affected as race and gender influence activity choice in sport. Overall, students may be racialized by parents, friends or teachers to take part in physical activities associated and stereotyped with their race and ethnicity. As a consequence, there’s limited opportunities to engage in a range of sports. “King (1994) argues for a racially responsive pedagogy to disrupt racial segregation and patterns of participation in physical activity often produced by teachers in physical education classes and coaches in school athletics” About armours dimensions, knowledge in context is valuable in teaching and coaching practice as teachers/coaches may use it as tool for to meet the diverse needs individuals.

To conclude, concerns of gender and race, ethnicity and religions effect on teaching and coaching practice need to be questioned further to improve physical education/activity and youth sport. Youth voices from different genders and races , ethnicity and religion should continually be analysed , to improve teaching and coaching practices. Understanding the intersection of gender and other factors will act as a resolution in physical education to create pedagogical change.


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