"What was the point in asking us?": An ethnographic evaluation of a UKCC netball level one coaching course
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study explored candidate coaches’ perceptions and expectations of the UK coaching certificate (UKCC) level one netball course. It also evaluated how the course impacted the participants’ practice after a 4-6 week period. The study utilised the ethnographic, multi instrumental qualitative approach (Walford, 2009; Wolcott, 2005), using participant observation, informal conversational interviews and semi-structured, follow up, telephone interviews. The participants were 19 female coaches aged between 16 and 42. From the 19 observed, 3 clear groups were evident, based mainly on personal biographies. 5 were then selected, as a representation of each group, for follow up interviews. The findings indicated that coaches’ personal biographies were ignored; it was assumed that the candidate coaches already had technical ('what to') knowledge but lacked pedagogical ('how to') knowledge. On the course evaluated, the opposite seemed to be the case, with most candidates expecting, and desiring, technical content. The course, therefore, did not cater for individuals’ needs, focusing instead around a generic curriculum. The findings also indicated that the authenticity of the course was questionable, in terms of the assessment driven attitude, unrealistic peer coaching, lack of guidance on reflection and limited contact time. In order for coach education to improve, it needs to move away from simplistic behaviourist conceptions of learning and toward more situational and contextualised notions about learning.
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