Cultivating a community of practice to explore coach learning

Garner, Paul ORCID: 0000-0003-4414-0577 (2015) Cultivating a community of practice to explore coach learning. In: Sport and Leisure Symposium, 27-28th Feb 2015, Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Before joining the Sports Coaching department at the University of Gloucestershire, I spent fifteen years living and working as a ski coach in the French Alps. During this time I developed a coaching business that now employs over 20 Alpine ski coaches. I am passionate about coach education having worked as a coach educator (Trainer) for BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) since 2003. Within traditional coach education, Côté and Gilbert (2009) report an almost exclusive focus on professional knowledge that results in a subsequent absence of attention to interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge. Sports coaching has been described as a messy, complex and dynamic undertaking that requires coaches to develop a wider skill set than such an approach promotes (Jones, 2007). In this context, it becomes relevant to better understand how coaches learn their craft, namely how learning through a community of practice (CoP) (Wenger, 1998) can develop both interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge. Despite some attempts to explore these less tangible areas of coaching knowledge (e.g. Culver and Trudel, 2005) it remains to be seen whether the cultivation of a CoP actually informs interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge in a coaching context, or whether learning in this way simply enriches an environment that promotes the transfer of professional knowledge. Data collection involved seven recorded focus groups (Krueger and Casey, 2009) that explored issues set by the coaches and a reflective journal kept by the CoP facilitator. Conducted from a social constructivist perspective and using inductive thematic analysis the transcriptions and reflective journal were coded to identify emerging themes pertinent to the research aims. The findings of the study reflect the work of Wenger (1998), recognizing that CoPs provide a stage on which socially driven learning can take place at multiple levels, with the power of storytelling (Douglas and Carless, 2008) and reflective conversation (Ghaye, 2011) acting as essential characters. As a result of mutual engagement in the project the coaches learned to approach their work in a more holistic manner (Cassidy et al. 2008) and sought to better understand their clients. Theory and the "knotty reality of practice" (Jones et al. 2012) were harmoniously united.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communities of practice; Coaching
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports > GV0711 Coaching
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Kate Greenaway
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2018 12:01
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:09

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