Sport Education aims to ensure the unit is delivered in a way that mimics an actual sport season, which has many advantages. Whilst Education 2005 chose to focus on Beach Volleyball, it can be used for any age group and for many different sports. As a result it has value as a teaching method for middle school physical education students. There are numerous aspects of Sport Education. Firstly, it is unique in that it is referred to as a ‘season’ as opposed to a unit, to further stimulate the feel of a sporting competition.
The season should consist of at least 12 lessons to low as much chance as possible to develop the required skills and feel like an authentic competition. Whilst in EDUCATED we did not get a chance to play for an extended period of time, there was evidence that each team was showing signs of improvement. Should we have had a full season I have no doubt the progress would have been vast. Secondly, it has a strong focus on affiliation. At an age where social development is occurring it is very important to feel accepted and involved.
Students are put in evenly match teams (Australian Football League, 2012) for the whole season, which gives them a social meaning, and a chance to bond as group and feel valued even if they are not particularly skilled (Sidedness, 1998; The New PEP, 2012). Each team in our Volleyball unit bonded through matching uniforms, team cheers and mutual support. Whilst this natural camaraderie may not be the case with a younger age group, it is an indication that Sport Education works. The third factor is formal competition.
Whilst in regular Physical Education games generally culminate in a friendly match, Sport Education acknowledges that competitive sports have a proper set up. As a result a formal competition is run by the students themselves. The season incorporates matches as well as training sessions, but the focus is on competition. As the students have the chance to set their own goals, the outcome becomes much more significant (Sidedness, 1998). The method chosen by our Competition Organizing Committee was Round Robin.
It proved effective as it allowed everyone to play each other, as in other successful sporting competitions and gave each team a common goal. This could be easily achieved by Year 9 and 10 students. Sport Education should finish with a Culminating Event. Much the same as formal competition, a final event like a Grand Final provides the goals necessary for maintaining interest and continuing skill development. It also allows a very definite measurement for teams to Judge their prowess (Sidedness, 1998). Sidedness (1998) Sport Education aims to emulate.
With our Round Robin event resulting in a Grand Final, it gave the entire season a sense of purpose and brought every team together either through playing each other or supporting their friends in another team. The inclusion of a competition for the ‘Best of the Rest’ allowed for all teams to have mouthing to aim for on Grand Final day, and as a result each team got an indication of their progress. It is also important the students are encouraged to Keep Records. Records are vital as they are used for delivering feedback, promoting standards and as mentioned before, setting goals (Sidedness, 1998).
The results table is integral for any competitive sport competition, Beach Volleyball was no different. The keeping of records allowed the teams to be split into two groups of four for Grand Final day through a combination of points and a count back. Best and fairest players were also corded each game, and this enabled those who excelled individually to be acknowledged. As Sidedness (1998) has said, accomplishments are very important to sport, and encouraging high school students to continue involvement later in life.
With all the focus on goal setting and competition, Sport Education also incorporates Festivity. It is important that the competition is celebratory and enjoyable (The New PEP, 2012). This gives greater meaning, and it ensures high school students are engaging in social interactions. It’s not Just in Physical Education, sports competitions everywhere such as the Olympics, the Soccer World Cup and even the NOR here is Australia utilities festivities as a way to share the love of sport and promote improvement and fair play (Sidedness, 1998).
In our season this went hand in hand with affiliation. Each team embraced the competition and with team war cries and friendly banter the atmosphere was one of celebration. This festivity kicked onto the night, showing the use of Sport as a tool that can bring students together, and further social development. Sport Education is advantageous as it allows the students to take on the main responsibility, with leadership roles not Just participation (The New PEP, 2012).
There are a number of Jobs available and one for everyone, no matter your sporting ability. In volleyball they included Team Manager, Head Coach, Competition Organizing Committee, Match Referee Committee and Prize Committee. These are very similar to roles suggested by Sidedness, including a Captain, Statistician, Fitness Instructor ; Referee (The New PEP, 2012). Each of these roles blend together to ensure a season runs smoothly and encourages team work, which is very important in all sporting competitions.
The New PEP (2012) states that these roles must be outlined at the start of the season, and the teacher should spend time with each role to ensure they know what is required from them. The teacher does not play a stand out role in Sport Education, as the aim is to focus on student centered learning and increased responsibility. However, it is important to realist as a teacher you must not lose the overall control. You must be an effective planner, able to teach students the necessary skills and be able to give helpful feedback (Australian Football League, 2012).
From the start the rules of the season just be laid down and the important aspects stressed. Once this is done the teacher can observe from the background and still be in a position to continue delivering instruction, assist and assess the students (The New PEP, 2012). The amount of autonomy given to the group depends on the age and developmental level of the The Sport Education model does not have a lot of disadvantages, especially when implemented with second year University students. When applied to Year 9 or 10 students, there are a few potential issues.
Firstly, there is the potential for distraction and a lack of focus. As most players will have previously experienced predominantly the command style end of the teaching spectrum, the added responsibility may be too much freedom. Whilst some will flourish from the increased role, some students may find this challenging, or ride on the coat tails of others. This highlights the importance of the teacher maintaining a strong presence in the class to keep students on track, and provide guidance and feedback (Sidedness, 1998). Another disadvantage is competitiveness within the class.
In EDUCATED this wasn’t an issue as we were able to see past the competition and look at the learning tool we were articulating in. Clashing personalities and the younger age group of Year 9 and 10 students could see displays of anger, and some children in the team being picked on for seeming less skilled than others. Whilst this would not be in keeping with the Sports Education principle of Affiliation (The New PEP, 2012; Australian Football League, 2012), if the teacher is vigilant this can be spotted and prevented in early stages.