Getting the students to think like a coach (Part 2)

This post was written by Chris Bailey @MrCwBailey.

In part 1, I explained how getting the students to think more like a coach for Learning Aim A of Level 2 Unit 6 (Leading Sport Activities) meant that they were able to have a deeper understanding of the importance of the different attributes and responsibilities a sports leader needs in order to be successful. The other purpose of getting the students to think more like a coach was so that when they had to plan their own coaching sessions, they would be actively thinking about the different attributes and responsibilities required, for example health and safety and ability to evaluate performance.
In this post, I will be focussing on the delivery of the second Learning Aim for Unit 6, within which the students have to plan two coaching sessions and independently deliver one. When planning the scheme of work I wanted to continue the trend of deliberate practice and modelling opportunities throughout the learning, prior to the completion of the BTEC Assignment. Therefore, I split the delivery into four sections with three pre-assessment activities.

Section one

The students were shown the level of detail required in the planning of a coaching session in order for it to be successful (fig.1), before having an opportunity to apply their knowledge in a plan for a sport session for a group of their choice (could be Professional or Amateur performers). I marked their first attempts at a session plan and the feedback was then analysed and used to inform the planning of two drop down sessions. The drop down sessions were specifically targeting the misconceptions or weaknesses of the students planning and allowed them time to improve their understanding prior to starting the BTEC Assignment.

Fig 1. Lesson on how to effectively plan a coaching session

Section two

Once the students and I were happy with their understanding of how to plan a coaching session, they were given the opportunity to put their planning into practice by team teaching with a member of the PE department. This year we have found that working collectively as a department (not just worrying about our own exam class), allowing students to come in and work with our Key Stage 3 classes has had a massive impact on the variety and quality of the feedback the students are getting, as well as improving the sense of responsibility the BTEC Sport students take into their coaching sessions. The students had to plan a session with the class teacher, deliver the session and then review how the session went (fig.2).

Fig.2 Team teach session plan from My Coaching Passport

Through team teaching, the students not only got good experience of delivering a coaching session, but also received instant feedback on their planning and whether or not they were demonstrating the successful attributes and responsibilities of a sports leader. Obviously these lessons could not take place during the two hours a week we get in BTEC Sport, so the Year 11 students came out of other lessons to deliver the sessions. I have been very fortunate to have very supportive colleagues at the school, who were happy to allow the students this time. During our classroom time we moved onto justifying a coaching session, the students were asked to justify their session plan for either the team taught session or their first session plan. I showed the football scene from the film Kes and got the students to list the attributes and responsibilities that were being, or not being, demonstrated. They said that it really helped them see how easy it is to overlook things like equality and values. Using a writing support sheet (fig.3) they were able to provide a far more detailed justification a coaching session.

Fig.3 Writing scaffold to support with the justification

Once the students had completed their first attempt at a justification and I had marked and provided them with feedback, they were each given a KS3 core PE group to plan a sport session for. The students needed to use all of the work they completed in their Coaching Passport, as well as the feedback from our lessons and the lesson that was team taught with a member of PE department. These lessons were set according to the PLC so that the students could be individually supported in the planning of the session, making sure that they are working towards improving aspects of the sessions that lack depth; for example, setting a differentiated session objective.

Section three

Breaking the Learning Aim down into this much detail has made a massive difference in the quality of that the work the students are completing, as well as the way the BTEC Students and the KS3 students respond to each other. The students were tasked with the challenge of delivering their session plan for the allocated KS3 class in a mock assessment. This mock assessment was marked by the class teacher as if it was the formal assessment, with an assessment sheet being completed and videos being captured of the key aspects of the session. In our lessons once the sessions were completed I sat down individually with each student and went through the session feedback and gave them access to the videos. Their PLC was updated and they had a very clear picture of what they needed to do in order to improve their performance. According to the grading criteria the planning and independent delivery of a sport session achieves Level 2 Pass criteria. Whereas, justified session plans and a successful coaching session can be awarded Merit criteria. Within my class, even though we had done a tonne of practice, there was only a handful who achieved the Pass criteria for the delivery. This was largely due to confidence and not having a presence in the sessions. However, once the students had listened to the feedback and watched the videos they seemed to be less phased by the task and far more positive about completing their BTEC Assignment. They were given two more lessons to prepare and ready themselves for their assessments.

The final section for the Learning Aim was to complete the BTEC Assignment. The students were given the same KS3 PE class to coach for their assessment. This proved to be effective because the students knew the requirements of the class and could therefore plan and justify their session in far greater detail. It also made their coaching sessions better as they were able to refer to the students by name which made the transitions within the session smoother and gave the students more confidence when giving instructions. The structure of the assessment was two hours (one week) to write and justify their two session plans, following this the students were given a timetabled lesson over the next two weeks by which to complete the coaching session. The assessment method was the same as the mock, a written observation sheet alongside video footage of key elements of the session. Once all completed I finalised the assessment evidence by writing a record of activity (fig.4), using the template provide by Pearson. I included screenshots of the session within the record of activity which was time consuming but made the document really stand out to the students. They really enjoyed reading their feedback and were rightly proud of what they had achieved. Each student managed to achieve a Merit on the delivery aspect of the coaching session, and all but one achieved the Merit for their session justification.

Fig.4 Observation sheet and Record of activity

Our next step is to evaluate the coaching sessions and create a development plan to further develop their sports leadership.