Sports coaching students’ learning and identity development: A longitudinal study
De Martin Silva, Luciana
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Despite the rise in sports coaching programmes, limited attention has been given to understanding the learning experienced on them and their contribution to students’ identity development. In this context, little evidence exists about how students are influenced by such programmes; that is, what impact they have on the process of socially and dynamically constructed identities (Wenger, 2010). The aim of this study is subsequently twofold. Firstly, to explore students’ perceptions and experiences of the sports coaching undergraduate degree enrolled upon; and secondly, to examine how these experiences shaped students’ identities over the length of the given three-year course. Participants comprised twelve BSc sports coaching undergraduate students from Cardiff Metropolitan University who were ‘followed’ through their three-year degree course. Adopting a constructivist-interpretive paradigm, the students were tracked through reflective logs, video diaries and focus group interviews. Data were analysed using Charmaz’s (2006) process of inductive analysis. The results showed a move from a surface and strategic approach to learning to better acceptance of the contested nature of coaching. This was reflected in the movement from a dualistic to a relativistic view of knowledge. In this context, ‘caring’ was one of the most influential aspects associated with the role of the teaching staff throughout the three years of the course. Finally, the findings also suggested that the students simultaneously occupied a role and belonged to a group, making role identities and social identities always relevant in explaining action (Stets and Burke, 2000). The findings suggest the need to encourage student-coaches to seek an increased acceptance of uncertainty and a better understanding of who they are early in their professional development. Similarly, the close link between assessment and learning, invites coach educators to provide supportive and caring environments, including assessments that are in line with the ambiguous and contested nature of the work.
PhD Thesis - School of Sport
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