The session began with outlining the three aims we set out for the session in the abstract we submitted. We quickly moved through the background of the session and then moved onto the practical demonstrations. We conducted three demonstrations using shielding the ball in soccer. We felt this was a decent choice as this is quite a technical skill and out aim was to show how questioning can be used not just in games, but to also teach the technical skills of activities and sports. As is usual in the workshops I usually do I like to get some people active and demonstrate the theory behind what we are doing practically., Thus, we conducted the three mini-sessions as a way of linking to the ideas we wanted to get across the the participants. Some participants joined in physically and others were asked to collect data on how much time I spoke (as I led the demonstration sessions). The observer started and stopped a stopwatch when I spoked and stopped it when I stopped talking. We also had observers collect data on the types of questions I used (what, when, how, why, etc.) and who I directed them to (team, small group or individual). However, in what follows I will simply review the time-based data and the data from the recipient of the question. One last point was that we were not too focused on the variability of the practice, we simply wanted to have the participants play so we could get our messages across.
This session lasted just over six minutes. I did a pairs based activity where one person had to shield the ball from a peer from about 10-15 seconds, a diagram of which can be seen on slide 7. This mini session was delivered in a direct style of teaching where I led the session and, although I asked questions, these were focused on the IRE/F exchange, where I initiated (I) a question, got a response (R) and then evaluated (E) or gave feedback (F) on it (i.e., by saying 'excellent' or 'that was what I was looking for, yes). While I did ask questions my main aim was for the discourse to be very direct as I said above. Having said that, I did get over some of the key concepts of shielding the ball, such as low body position, getting the ball on the off defender foot and getting the arm out (with a clenched fist) to hold off the defender. Some of the questions can be seen on slide 9.
At the end of the session we reviewed the data and I spoke for about 2 and a half minutes of the activity, so about 35-40% of the time. I also asked most questions to the whole group. Before starting session two I also showed the participants which questions I used (see slide 9) and spoke about the IRE/F exchange.
This session lasted about 10 mins and 30 seconds. In this session a feeder fed the ball into an attacking player situated in a box guarded by a defender, a diagram of which can be seen on slide 10. Initially, the aim was the for the attacker to simply use skills to keep the defender away from the ball, but then it was progressed to allow the attacker to beat the defender to get the ball across the line opposite from the feeder. Players rotated after three attempts after each role. In this session I made sure I stepped back, and I began to use some of the pre-planned questions I had made (see slide 14) which I had generated using the question starters on slide 13. I also split the groups. In the first practice I stooped the whole group of six players. This time I placed the players in their groups of 3 (we did not have much space for the activity which was why the participant numbers were small) and then asked one question, and gave them 30 seconds for them to discuss this. I then had the play again. When the played again, this is when the progression was added and we then paused half way through and I asked them to discuss agin in small groups ideas. After a final bout of game play, I asked each group to demonstrate one way they felt was effective for getting the ball over the line at the opposite side the the feeder. One group demonstrated a spin move, where you spin off the defender when they over commit to one side when you are shielding the ball. The other small group went over how they bumped the defender (used the defenders body weight) to face them up and go 1 vs. 1 with them.
In this session I spoke for about 3 minutes, so about 30% of the time. However, the participants monitoring this noticed how some of this talk was in smaller groups and this was supported by their now being more questioning directed at the small groups where I listened to them and then probed the participants for more information about what they were explaining to each other. Thus, in my opinion, the discourse had changed dramatically from the first session, May I also note that I was purposefully refraining from giving 1 vs. 1 feedback (either positive or corrective) albeit I did give some. After going over the data we spoke about the information on slides 11-16, which included going over the 6 P's framework of questioning, Purpose, Play, Pause, Prepare, Probe, and Plan.
In the final mini session we played the 2 vs. 2 game on slide 17 and the session lasted about 9 mins and 30 seconds. In this session I wanted to demonstrate the use of the GROW model outlined on slide 19. I therefore set the purpose (1st P) question or goal before the session, and then had the participants play (second P). After about 3 minutes I stopped or paused (3rd P) the activity (after not saying too much and just observing) and asked the participants to get in small groups of 3 and discuss the goal of the activity and the reality (4th P about prepared questions), which I listed and probed (5th P) where necessary. After this they spoke about their options, where I again probed (5th P) if necessary before asking them to define an action plan for the next bout of activity. The participants played again and we repeated the 6 P's cycle focused on the GROW model structure. At the end of the session we reviewed again using questioning and asking participants to demonstrate individual experiences. This did digress a little into whole group teaching but was still learner focused.
In this session I spoke for about 2 mins 30 seconds, so a little less than 30% of the time. Again, most of my questioning was small group-based with some individual questioning and the odd one to the whole group. I then went over the information on slides 18-22 with the participants and then I spoke about relevant theory (I will elucidate this on another post), and then linked questioning to aspects of becoming a transformational leader/coach (http://drstephenharvey.weebly.com/blog/coaching-transmission-or-transformation) before closing with some recommendations for coach questioning.
You can review videos for the above sessions as I have posted them in this blog post. I appreciate how this was a 'controlled' environment, but I hope you can see how the discourse changes fundamentally when you utilize a questioning approach. This is something I am still working on in my own teaching/coaching and I finding the journey very difficult (i.e., catching myself wanting to say something or give feedback when I should be quiet or just ask a question). Moreover, I have to make sure I give wait time (longer than 5 seconds is needed to get people to answer) and I have also used questions such as 'tell me more about that' or 'can someone else explain...' to get more discussion going beyond one word answers and to make sure more than one participant talks. Using small groups also helps and I monitor these and use the probes I just outlined to make sure all people are involved. And if I do use questioning in larger groups I have been using student nomination where the first person to answer nominates the next person to build on that answer, etc. The basic tent is I talk less and the participants talk more to work out problems. They may also need to play more to work these out, so this is important too.
If you were a participant in this session, then please make some comments on the comments section below or if you were not in the session, please also feel free to let me know your thoughts. Good luck with your questioning.