Chatting with ChatGPT — now I know why I am uncomfortable with Instruction as a coaching tool!

ChatGPT, tell me something about “direct instruction”, please.

The focus of direct instruction is on the teacher as the primary source of knowledge…


And that is what has been worrying me about the application of Instruction as a coaching tool — that focus on the teacher (and on the instruction itself).

I wrote earlier about my encounter with ChatGPT, my new “AI coaching guru”, and how I had a very convincing “conversation” with the AI interface about coaching pedagogies.

As a paid-up contrarian (OK — I don’t actually pay to belong to this particular society), I should really start looking for a new guru just as soon as I find myself in agreement with my guru…

But in this instance, I found ChatGPT’s answer helped to clarify my position re the (mis-)use of instruction in coaching.

Direct instruction is a teaching method that emphasizes explicit and systematic instruction of skills and knowledge. It typically involves a teacher providing clear and direct explanations, modeling the desired behavior or skill, and providing opportunities for students to practice and receive feedback on their own. The focus of direct instruction is on the teacher as the primary source of knowledge and the students as recipients of that knowledge. It is often used in subjects such as reading, math, and spelling, and is particularly useful for teaching basic skills and concepts.

ChatGPT (my emphasis)

The definition seems uncontroversial, and includes at least some of the elements of Rosenshine’s Principles (instruction + practice + feedback etc.) as they apply to teaching and coaching using Direct Instruction.

But the definition provided by ChatGPT highlighted, for me, the emphasis on the teacher’s knowledge — entirely applicable in an academic subject.

In an endeavour as multi-faceted as sport, however, it seems hugely presumptuous that the teacher/coach actually knows all the answers. Or that the instruction will be appropriate beyond the confines of the carefully controlled and staged practice activity.

Which is not to say there is not a place for instruction within sports coaching but, for me, that place is in defining the learning space (what is allowed and what is not — no point learning to throw a doosra if you want to be a bowler) and avoiding time-consuming detours down dead-ends — no, playing with your eyes closed will never lead to optimal outcomes.

But “my way, or the highway” for techniques or skills?

I’m not at all comfortable with that.

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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