Real Sport, Real Jobs, Real Life (Issue 8, January 2011)

– Student teacher knocks socks off whilst Year 7 learn transferable skills in PE

We often take for granted our Student Teachers when they arrive from our various local Higher and Further Education Establishments. No doubt we’ve all encountered a “dodgy one” who has required more than a little support when attempting to establish classroom discipline or the one who has forgotten to get their resources photocopied for a 9:00 lesson. On the whole though, they’re a decent bunch and we’ve all been one at some point ourselves. It is refreshing occasionally when a student not only seems to get the basics right, but actually develops a really top quality unit of work for the pupils.

The latter is exactly what Simon Richardson, a PE SCITT student from Northumbria University, has done during his placement at Cramlington. Simon has introduced the Football Manager scheme to a group of Year 7 pupils; an innovative and exciting method of teaching the game of football, which can, if one is not careful, be a little dry. Here, Simon explains how he has given students real roles from the world of sport which has led to excellent outcomes with the students – food for thought for all curriculum areas:

“As part of a unit of work on football, year 7 North are participating in a sport education trial module called Football Manager. The group has been separated into four teams allowing for a range of abilities in each team. Gifted & talented, and more able pupils are then assigned roles within the team for the future lessons. These roles are manager, coach, captain and publicist.

Managers are in charge of equipment & behavioural issues within the team, for instance if a member of their team has forgotten their kit it is down to the manager to tell the teacher what they have forgotten.

The publicist speaks for the team during each lesson’s plenary; giving a summary of what their team have learned through the lesson and the progress they have made. Publicists also create any PowerPoint presentations the teams may be giving.

Team captains are the motivators of the team. They are in charge of tactics on the pitch and support the coaches in any way they can.

The role of the coach is the most challenging. Coaches are in charge of warm-ups and are informed of activities, working areas and equipment, which may require setting up for their team. They are then responsible for providing feedback on the team’s performance to each individual and suggest areas on which they could improve. Although students were hand-picked for this role, it has been interesting to see emergent leaders within the teams begin to take on additional responsibility as “assistant coaches” throughout the course of the unit.

Collaboration is a very big theme of the unit. Students have been encouraged to respect each other and work together to improve their learning experience and the ethos of genuine teamwork, which is not often apparent in the classroom, has been clear throughout.

Each week a different homework is given to those pupils who have roles within the team, culminating recently in teams designing their own Learning Outcomes and Success Criteria. This is something that has been built up over a series of lessons. By using learning language in my own Learning Outcomes – such as demonstrate, describe, create, use and apply – students can now avoid setting vague targets which are impossible to assess.

Although students have been well motivated through the activities, a point system has been used to reward individual and team achievements. Individual points are awarded to best performers in each activity, for example most resilient or hardest working as well as for displays of good teamwork and sportsmanship. Teams are awarded points too; for being the most organised, best prepared, or for being top scorers to name a few. These points are displayed on the league tables at the start of each lesson.”

So there you have it! It really has impressed me to see Simon take this idea and develop it into something that genuinely works; so much so that I’ve already pinched it for a new year 7 football scheme of work.

Long gone are the days when a student teacher made your tea/ coffee and took your lessons while you got your reports done. They’re as innovative and excited about teaching as can be. And if you really watch them teach, every now and then you’ll see something that knocks your socks off!

Simon Richardson & Chris Horner



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