Culture for Learning: A Theoretical Model of Learning Through Effective Athletics Coaches

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Johnson, James Benjamin
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Middle Tennessee State University
A theoretical model of learning as seen by effective athletics coaches is nuanced with methods of performance improvement strategies but also inherently influenced by overarching cultural aspects to create an environment conducive to maximize learning. This grounded theory qualitative research study generates the Culture for Learning theoretical model of learning. The model can have potentially profound impacts on learning and performance by providing the necessary aspects of a culture set to maximize learning based on expectations, accountability, and relationships allowing for performance and improvement strategies to exist and flourish. The literature review covers theories of learning, practice methodology, improvement strategies, and essential components for a defined culture. Topics include behaviorism, the humanistic theory of learning, cognitive learning theory, fundamental skill acquisition through repetition, analysis with feedback through the use of performance analysis, environment, goal setting, motivation, and relationships. Theoretical sampling was used to select coaches to generate a theory of effective learning in athletics. The participating athletic coaches were defined as effective as they have a high percentage of wins or have shown trending improvements from year to year based on their teams’ win/loss record. They are from different states, and sports domains as well as having different levels of experiences and have won numerous district/region championships, state champions, conference championships, and national championships. The collection and analysis of interview, observation, and document/artifact data were analyzed through open, axial, and selective coding using constant comparison, member checking, and analytic memoing to ensure the accuracy of the findings. Future implications include leaning on the Culture for Learning theoretical model to impact classrooms, schools, and districts with learning strategies, cultural aspects used to motivate and empower students and teachers, and policy implications for assessment and standards’ adoption. District and school leaders could also lean on athletic coaches to provide insight into developing relationships, increasing the opportunity to maximize learning in classrooms within schools. The Culture for Learning can be used to improve learning in classrooms when the culture is conducive to doing so, as the athletics coaches’ theoretical model displays.
Accountability, Assessment, Culture, Learning, Practice, Relationships, Educational leadership, Educational administration