Re-Wiring Personal Epistemology; A Framework for Effective Mentoring

Olsson, Clifford (2020) Re-Wiring Personal Epistemology; A Framework for Effective Mentoring. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The aim of this thesis was to explore the contribution that mentoring can make to supporting grassroots coaches develop expertise through the current Football Association (hereafter the FA) Mentoring programme. Accordingly, Chapter 2 defines the concept of expertise and discusses the limitations of formal coach education programmes in developing expertise with specific reference to the goals, processes and epistemology of mentors and mentees. In summary, Chapter 2 then presents a conceptual framework by Entwistle and Peterson (2004) that can be utilized to support the development of a more sophisticated epistemology that underpins the development of an expert coach. In the first empirical chapter, Chapter 3 sought to evaluate a general view of the FA’s Mentoring programme by mentors and mentees. The results indicated that mentors generally had a more sophisticated epistemology than mentees, although not as sophisticated as might be expected. Consequently, this difference led to what Light (2008) termed an epistemological gap which often resulted in a lack of coherence between mentors and mentees in what they believed the goals and processes of mentoring were. To build on the findings from Chapter 3 and provide greater clarity and an insight into the relationship between mentor pairs, Chapter 4 describes a multiple case study investigation that revealed that whilst mentors and mentees shared the goals of developing knowledge of tactics and techniques and some pedagogical practices (procedural
knowledge) there was limited evidence that a wider declarative knowledge base was encouraged or indeed developed by mentors. Indeed, whilst there was evidence of an epistemological gap between mentors and mentees, mentors appeared to default to learn- drill-do philosophy of coach development. Chapter 5 then draws together the main conclusion by highlighting the implications of the research and considering a way forward to support the development of more expert coaches. In closing, Chapter 6 summarises the findings and suggests a pragmatic way forward to support the development of more creative forward-thinking coaches (Olsson, Cruickshank and Collins, 2017)

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