The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and The Curriculum for Excellence (CFE), aims are for the education system to develop and meet the needs for every student. It is crucial for teachers to continue their practice and keep up to date with these changes to create positive learning experiences for every specific pupil. Continued Professional Development (CPD) is a pathway for teachers to achieve this. Furthermore, it is a vital part of professional development as it allows teachers to advance their knowledge of their own personal practice as well as becoming the most effective teacher as possible to achieve the highest quality of lesson for the pupils, in which they are responsible for. Avalos (2011) refers professional development as ‘learning how to learn’, therefore teachers are widening their knowledge to support their pupils meaning that they can thrive in lessons by effectively teaching their pupils. Therefore, Physical Education (PE) teachers remaining up to date with the changing education system benefits the students as they’re able to develop social skills and their emotional wellbeing, as well as physical fitness, psychomotor skills especially with the greater pressure placed on PE teachers to prevent children developing health issues. Donaldson (2010) quotes that, “The overall aim of programmes of initial teacher education is to prepare student teachers to become competent, thoughtful, reflective and innovative practitioners, who are committed to providing high quality teaching and learning for all pupils.” (Donaldson, 2010, p31). If the main objectives are reached during teacher education, qualifying teachers will have effectively met the requirements of the standards and are able to become effective teachers as they can lead their students to their thoughts and actions. However, using reflective practice and action research to positively impact pupils learning environment is key when successfully carrying out CPD. Throughout this essay, I will discuss the need of professional development from my own knowledge through lectures, seminars and academic readings. The professional learning about teaching models are sport education and cooperative learning but I will be focusing on exploring Teaching games for understanding (TFGU). I will critically analyse academic literature to determine if I believe I can use this as a future practitioner.
Practitioner enquiry provides teachers with inspiration to develop their own practices by carrying out their own study. Completing one’s own personal research is much more valuable to the teacher as improvements can be made ahead, during or after lessons providing all pupils with a positive learning experience. To continue professional development as a physical education teacher there are many different methods but the two, I will go into further detail in ways which educator can effectively use reflective practice and action research. Campbell, Gilroy and McNamara (2014) believe both methods are vital to the professional development of educational teachers as reflective practice and action research will improve teaching practices in their own significant way. Therefore, this proves that the use of these methods will have a positive impact on professional development.
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Firstly, reflective practice is essential to all teachers and their professional development. Reflective practice is described as ‘reviewing, reconstructing, re-enacting and critically analysing one’s own and the class’s performance, and grounding explanation in evidence’ (Shulman, 1987, p. 15). Being able to reflect allows the teacher to observe and study the lesson in greater detail to understand how successful the lesson and automatically reflect back on what happened and ask ‘how?’, ‘why?’, ‘where?’,’ what? ‘and ‘what next?’. Additionally, reflecting on success or possible areas of development benefits future PE lessons and determines what needs to be improved to provide the highest quality of lessons to benefit all students become Successful Learners, Effective Contributors, Confident individuals and Responsible Citizens (Education Scotland, 2011). McAteer (2013) clarifies that not having the basic context of teachers reflecting after lessons means that the important research afterwards is lost, and the practices will not be as useful as they could be to pupils. Therefore, reflective practice helps engage in to make sense of the ever-changing environment of teaching with the goal of finding better outcomes to meet students’ needs.
The second method is action research. Carr and Kemmis (1986) examples that ‘Action research is simply a form of self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of their own practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out’. (Carr and Kemmis 1986: 162). According to McAteer (2013), action research ‘explores and theorises practice, changes, evaluates and develops practice’ (McAteer, 2013, p13). This type of research allows teachers to become more effective as they are encouraged to study and evaluate their teaching and then reflect on ways of working differently, it motivates teachers to demonstrate that they are able of constructing and using knowledge. Action research is carried out several times when teachers support each other by working collaboratively, by working with colleagues helps teacher’s professional development, meaning that the post research reflection can benefit the researcher to make any appropriate changes to benefit teaching practices. If correctly carried out action research can be effective in a physical education environment, however any conflict within a department would need to be put aside. Community of Practice benefits a department as ideas can be shared, when carrying out action research it tends to be less time consuming as the work load can be divided up equality making the process a lot less stressful. Overall, it is crucial for PE teachers to become more reflective in their practices by using action research and can make a teacher’s job more enjoyable.
The area of professional development that this essay will be focusing on is Teaching Games for Understanding (TGFU). TGfU was a teaching model that myself discovered when completing a group research project in University which was identified as a community of practice TGFU is a model that is described as an inquiry approach, therefore the teacher leads a game like lesson where the play of a game is taught before the skill (Hopper, T & Kruisselbrink, D, 2001). When carrying out TGfU, it lets pupils to improve their game awareness and skills, the teacher’s role is employing limitations upon games and then pausing the games to ask question-based approach to the students to enhance their knowledge and understanding. Gray and Sproule (2011) believe that TGfU can help students develop skills in game like situations and help them become more accomplished in their decision making, highlighting how beneficial adopting this style of teaching could be for students. While carrying out the group research project upon TGfU. Gray and Sproule (2011) highlights the benefits of using TGfU; lets pupils become capable of decision making as well as developing skills during the game like scenarios.
During the group project on TGfU, the task carried out was a practitioner enquiry project by giving evidence that you understood how to teach using TGfU and that you can teach it effectively to reach one of the following learning outcomes, my group decided to do enjoyment. By completing the group project this gave myself the opportunity to witness the model first hand and it being applied as well by using it in a lesson myself. After the practice, the group reflection and the post self was evident to me that to improve my own personal professional development I must concentrate on giving my students open-ended questions as I need to be expand on my questioning technique, this will benefit my pupils in the future by giving them the opportunity to understand and as a teacher gives myself an understanding into what stage of learning the pupils are at.
The first piece of literature I will be looking at is Casey and Dyson (2009), followed by Thorburn & Seatter (2015) and finally Gray and Sproule (2011).
In Casey and Dyson (2009) report highlights pupil learning when successfully using TGFU in a physical education environment. The report takes place in a selective grammar school in England and only 67 male pupils took part in the study who had no previous experience of TGFU. Casey and Dyson (2009) mentions that the male pupils are taught using the direct style in their PE lesson, therefore by introducing TGFU the pupils are positioned in an environment where they can develop into intelligent performers. A limitation to the report is the problem introducing an unfamiliar pedagogical approach to a class, this can be time consuming but also intense for certain students. Casey and Dyson (2009) emphasised the advantages of TGFU, action research was successfully used after every TGFU lesson as the teacher collected a reflective journal. At the end of the study the teacher believed they had developed as a teacher by trusting their pupils with their own individual learning. As a future PE practitioner, I believe I can employ TGFU into my PE lessons and give my pupils the tools to learn.
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During Thorburn and Seatter (2015) report, the method used was qualitative data collection when undertaking individual teaching practices and observations. Action research was used effectively throughout the report, allowing the investigators to successfully gather facts and statistics on the pupils and teachers. After the practice post reflection and interviews were conducted, this gave teachers insight into greater feedback as well as getting their own personal reflections but from the observes too. For TGfU practice to be beneficial to the pupils the teacher must develop a deeper understanding of the changes and areas of their questioning practices that are wanted for development to make a positive learning environment. A limitation to Thorburn and Seatter (2015) report was that it was carried out over for a few weeks meaning that it was time consuming, however the effectiveness of the approach gave myself a greater understanding the successfulness of the TGfU model and action research. As a student teacher I understand the importance of group and self-reflection from my own teaching areas of development, showing the project was a worthwhile learning practice.
Finally, Gray and Sproule (2011) study focuses on developing pupils’ physical performance when implementing TGFU. Cooperative learning is encouraged when using TGFU as pupils are encouraged to work in groups to collectively and share ideas to solve problems, moreover it gives pupils responsibility for their own learning. Gray and Sproule (2011) report included 27 pupils took part in the ‘game based’ lesson (11 female and 16 boys) while 25 pupils took part in the ‘skill focused’ lesson (12 female and 13 male). The finding from the report highlight that the ‘skill focused’ group spent majority of their time learning about how to perform skills but presented with little opportunity to play games which said to not have impacted the pupil’s knowledge of basketball. In contrast, the ‘game based’ group developed a better understanding of basketball when playing games as the pupils successfully were able to solve problems, think critically and construct new knowledge. A criticism to the report is that it’s a small snapshot of pupils and can’t reflect every school across Scotland, this could question the validity of the report. However, this report has gave me an insight into TGFU and if its successfully employed in a lesson pupils knowledge of a sport can be improved as well as rewarding pupils for their learning and the teachers learning.
From the three readings I have reviewed critically have enhanced my professional development and can successfully deliver TGFU in the future. Casey and Dyson (2009) study highlighted the importance of pupil knowledge while learning but showing disadvantages existing to the teacher. Thorburn and Seatter (2015) report emphasised the importance of self and group reflection after each lesson to benefit my own professional development. The final reading Gray and Sproule (2011), emphasises that when using game based approach, it allows the pupils to develop a deeper understanding in game knowledge, improve their game performance and gain the ability to use decision making skills.
To conclude, as a future PE practitioner I have gained a wider understanding of the importance of maintaining my professional development to ensure my teaching achieves the highest possible of standard. When using reflective practice and action research in the future I must be fully engaged during my teaching profession to benefit my professional development as well as creating my practices are continuously evolving to meet the needs of ever specific student, even if its time consuming. Taking part in a group research project using TGFU has given myself the opportunity implement the teaching approach into a practice in the future. An area of development will be improving questioning techniques this will impact my professional development as it will motivate myself to become the best practitioner that I can be. However, it is important to use different teaching approaches and models in physical education lessons but TGFU will be an approach that I will be able to create positive learning experiences for my future students.
- Avalos, B. (2011) Teacher professional development in teaching and teacher education over ten years. Teaching and Teacher Education. Vol 27(1).
- Campbell, A., McNamara, O. & Gilroy, P. (2004) Practitioner research and professional development in education, London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
- Carr, W. & Kemmis, S. (1986) Becoming Critical. Education, knowledge and action research. London p162
- Casey, A. and Dyson, B. (2009). The implementation of models-based practice in physical education through action research. European Physical Education Review, 15(2), pp.175-199.
- Donaldson, G., (2010), Teaching Scotland’s Future, The Scottish Government, p.31
- Education Scotland, 2011, The Curriculum in Scotland, http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningandteaching/thecurriculum/index.asp [accessed: 03/01/2019]
- Gray, S & Sproule, J (2011) Developing pupils’ performance in team invasion games, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 16:1, 15-32
- Hopper, T. and Kruisselbrink, D. (2001). Teaching Games for Understanding: What does it look like and how does it influence student skill acquisition and game performance. Journal of Teaching Physical Education
- McAteer, M. (2013) Action research in education, Los Angeles: Sage Publications
- Shulman, L.S. (1987) Knowledge and teaching: foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review 57 (1): 1-22.
- Thorburn, M. & Seatter, K. (2015) Asking better questions! A review of the pedagogical strategies used in one senior level award in Scotland. Journal of Pedagogy, 6(1).
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