M. Briggs1, C. van Nieuwerburgh2

1University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
2University of East London (UNITED KINGDOM)
There is current International attention in educational research and development of practice about what make an effective learning environment for all children which removes barriers to learning to ensure progression and develop children with high self esteem and independence. Many countries implement initiatives to change primary age children's experience of learning, for example the recent 'Achievement for all' in the UK. The focus of these initiatives is mainly the adults in school driving a shift in their behaviours, not necessarily the children and their perspectives are often missing. This paper draws from a case study of an effective school in the UK which has established a coaching culture for all adults and children. Coaching cultures had been hard to identify but we are not identifying a school where everyone has an individual coach, though this is an activity included in the data collected. We are discussing a school where coaching approaches are embedded in general practices of the whole school community. Using a case study methodology data was collected from the whole school community. In this paper however the focus is on the children only and details how children experience of what it is like for them to be part of a coaching culture. It details the ethical considerations of working with children and gaining the school, parents and the individual participants’ informed consent before any field work was carried out. In addition the research plans and ethical consideration was securitised through University ethical approval processes. Through the analysis of the focus groups with groups of children across the school's age range of (5-11year olds) key themes are established. The research explores the themes of what they notice and how they reflect on their experiences appreciating the use different specific activities at specific times to meet individual needs. Five key areas emerge from the data collected, child-centred initiatives which focus on positives and independence; positive behaviour management and classroom environments; In-class activities and lessons which develop the following skills: Active listening, Asking good questions, Giving and receiving feedback, Supporting the learning of others; The modelling of positive relationships amongst the adults, and Shared vision, aims and objectives for the whole school. These support the coaching culture for all children. The paper concludes with discussion of the implications of the research which the authors believe would support all primary schools in shifting to coaching cultures through embedding the key themes which build upon aspects of their current practices rather than a radical alteration programme.