Wednesday, 10 November 2021
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
I was excited to attend my first Australian Council for Health Physical Education and Recreation conference. I miss PENZ and my involvement in PENZ back home, so when I had the opportunity to attend an ACHPER PD I jumped at it! I was especially interested in this one, because it was based around Mosston's Spectrum of Teaching Styles, which is something I've always been interested in. His spectrum was referred to often during my degree and something I often think about when designing new units. The PD was about unpacking SueSee, Hewitt and Pill's book The Spectrum of Teaching Styles in Physical Education, in which they've redesigned Mosston's initial spectrum.
Shane Pill is someone I have followed on Twitter for a while and am fascinated by his thoughts. I knew the day was going to be interesting when he was the opening speaker and one of his first sentences was "you need to use a variety of teaching styles, there is no one way of teaching". The redesign of the spectrum to be more like a flower, like a cluster, demonstrates that all styles are equal and we should in fact be moving in and out of them as opposed to linearly (as initially designed and can be seen below). Isn't it incredible how visual presentations of something can genuinely impact how you interpret them? Unfortunately I cannot find any pictures of their design, without buying the book (which I have requested school to do!), but it is kind of visible in my picture below).
The teaching styles can be divided into reproduction (A-E) and production (F-K). As it sounds, this relates to the role the students play within those teaching styles. Generally speaking, when in the reproduction styles students are mostly replicating something they have learnt and the lesson is more 'teacher driven'. Production is more-so related to the application or creation of something to demonstrate learning - more 'student driven'. The clear theme throughout this PD day is that there needs to be frequent movement between these different styles, as they are all valuable. If we blend styles together, they are called canopies.
Throughout uni and my initial teaching years, I was often discouraged to teach in command style. As the name suggests, the activity and instructions are all based around the teacher. The students must follow the teacher's commands. Although I agree this approach is not appropriate for many activities (as we want the students to be at the centre of the thinking and learning), I believe there is a time and place for command style. Sometimes we just need to get information across and command style is the most effective and efficient way to do so (such as information regarding safety on equipment). Hewitt noted that we need to consider whether command is the most appropriate for that particular lesson/learning objective and how long we are in that teaching style. He said his fear with command style teaching, especially when teaching the technique of a skill, is although the students may increase confidence with how to perform the skill itself (technical mastery), they may be strangers to the game. This is where game sense approach comes in.
Game sense approach is an umbrella term, with several areas coming underneath it. Essentially, GSA is a pedagogy that focuses on developing players that cognitively and critically think about the game they are immersed in. As outlined in Pill's chapter Game Sense Coaching: Developing Thinking Players, there is significant research to support that a traditional method of coaching or teaching limits players' ability to be able to make effective decisions within a game. This is often as a result of behaviours/techniques learnt in a non-contextualised environment. However, when immersed in a Game Sense Approach, a player "is trained to use a wide focus of attention and becomes adapted to placing attention more broadly than on a primary task" (Pill, 2018, p.46) because of activities that are more representative of the complexity of an actual game. Relating back to the teaching styles, although command style has a time and place, it's important command style does not lead to players being strangers of the game. GSA is a practice style pedagogy with discovery and command episodes. The teaching should be inquiry based, educating through the game but with a purpose. See more here - Pill's Play with Purpose blogpost.