Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10 Benefits of Reviewing

Here are 10 benefits that make reviewing a 'must do' after a learning experience
1. You are more in touch with learners' perspectives
2. You are developing their communication skills
3. You are developing participants' skills (yours and theirs)
4. You are adding value to what is already happening
5. You are making benefits more tangible
6. You are generating evidence for evaluation
7. You become more alert and responsive
8. You help participants clarify and achieve their objectives
9. You make transfer of learning more likely
10. Participants enjoy it
Here are 10 reasons for why we should engage in reviewing
1. Adding value to the experience
2. Getting unstuck
3. Achieving objectives
4. Opening new perspectives
5. Developing observation and awareness
6. Encouraging self-expression
7. Using success
8. Providing support
9. Empowering people
10. Caring about the participants
Here are 10 benefits when engaged in active reviewing processes
1. It is more likely to engage all learning style preferences.
2. It creates better integration between talk and action.
3. It provides more ways to communicate, learn and develop.
4. It produces more dynamic, enriched and focused reviewing.
5. It gives better access to intuitive and tacit knowledge.
6. It pays more attention to the experience of reviewing.
7. It generates more effective learning from experience.
8. It allows more realistic testing of future plans.
9. It increases the range of strategies for effective transfer.
10. Active reviewing is even more enjoyable!
Lean more about reviewing from Dr Roger Greenaway

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Kayak Essentials

Kayaking Essentials - Core Fundamentals for Advanced Performance has been produced by Nick Cunliffe and Matt Giblin, both established and seasoned BCU coaches. It was filmed in a variety of locations throughout North Wales

Within the DVD Nick and Matt focus on the core fundamentals of effective paddling – the principles of power transfer, connection, posture and feel that underpin advanced performance

They begin by building solid foundations on flat water before moving towards the application of these fundamental skills on white water, sea and surf thus demonstrating the basis of effective performance

Key skills include:

• Core fundamentals

• Forward paddling technique

• Turning and steering skills

• Balancing and bracing

Kayak Essentials is destined to become a 'must have' resource for coaches as well paddlers of all abilities and will be released in 2010

Visit for more details

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Climbing Wall Award Training

Course provider: Mark Tozer

Staff: Rose Powell

Locations: The Beacon Climbing Centre and Plas Power Adventure

Weather: Dry & Dusty :o)

Get in touch should you wish to do your Climbing Wall Award

Further information can be obtained by visiting the Mountain Leader Training UK website

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

UCLAN Staff - Afon Tanat

Access Officer: Dave Proctor, Capel Bethania, Cwm Cownwy, Llanwddyn, SY10 0NJ. 01691 870615

Nearby Rivers: Vyrnwy and Severn

OS Map:125 Bala & Lake Vyrnwy + 126 Shrewsbury


Length: 24 km

Access: off B4391 Bala to Pant road

Notes: no portages

Quality: A beautiful touring river thought to have been of inspiration to Tolkein for his wonderful Lord of the Rings

Afon Tanat (River Tanat) is a river in northern Powys, Wales. Its source is close to the Cyrniau Nod mountain, to the north of Lake Vyrnwy. The river flows in a generally east-south-east direction until it joins the River Vyrnwy near Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain. For a short distance prior to its confluence it flows within western Shropshire, England. A number of other rivers act as its tributaries, including Afon Eirth, Afon Rhaeadr, Afon Iwrch and Cynllaith

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cumbria in Flood (3) 2009

As the water levels recede, the next step will be the clean up process - Getty Images

The Environment Agency have said the level of rain was a 'once in a thousand year' event - Getty Images
The streets of Cockermouth are lined with items from homes and businesses. Its is unknown when some people will be allowed back into their homes - Getty Images

Residents are being reunited with their pets which were rescued by the RSPCA after being starbded fo two days - Getty Images

People in Cockermouth are starting to assess the damage left by the floods - Getty Images

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cumbria in Flood (2) 2009

The flooded main street of Cockermouth - Chris Darwin

Braving the floods at Braithwaite near Keswick - Terry Dixon

The River Derwent in Cockermouth - George Johnston

A couple walking their dog through a flooded Fitz Parl in Keswick - Phil Noble

Students preparing to paddle in the park at Ambleside - Catherine Taylor

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cumbria in Flood (1) 2009

Flood waters fill the streets of Cockermouth. Northwest England and parts of Scotland saw the most severe rains, with more rain forecast - Andrew Yates

Emergency rescue workers float past a ’Merry Christmas’ sign. Tree trunks, the tops of telephone boxes and signs pointing to Wordsworth’s house could also be seen poking from the water - Andrew Yates

More than 50 Cockermouth residents have had to be airlifted to safety - Nigel Roddis

The River Greta bursts over a retaining wall in Keswick. The Rivers Cocker, Greta and Derwent also overflowed after water levels rose 300mm in less than an hour - Christopher Furlong
A police officer died after Northside bridge, one of the main routes into the town of Workington, Cumbria, collapsed at around 4.40am on 19 November - Chris Clark

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Adventure Sports Coaching - Canoe Week

By way of contrast from the last residential at UCLAN's outdoor centre, Tyn Dwr in Llangollen, the first year Adventure Sports Coaches participated in a week of canoeing under the watchful eye of Dave Luke and Chris Charlton.

Despite the poor weather and heavy rain that saw large areas of Cumbria in flood and which effected Wales also, the team were able to enjoy a full week of skills development.

A number of venues were used including the Llangollen Canal, Llyn Mymbyr and the Afon Llugwy which allowed for a number of areas of knowledge development to occur.

The students were given the opportunity to learn about boat control through activities that emphasised the adoption of good posture and the need for effective power transfer. The versatility of open canoes was highlighted by showing the students alternative modes of propulsion including poling and sailing.

By the end of the course, it was appropriate to put a number of the students through their BCU 2* paddlesports performance award. The judgement being that after 10 days of kayaking and canoeing combined, they had reached a suitable level of understanding to apply the skills learnt elsewhere. As such, and basing it on the principle of function over form, those students who sat the assessment were successful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MLTW Course Providers Workshop

One of the benefits of being a MLTW course provider for the Climbing Wall Award and Single Pitch Award is that I am able to attend networking events such as the recent workshop organised by Bryn Williams (MLTW) and Mal Creasey (MLTE) which was hosted at Plas Caerdeon near Barmouth.

As with all these events, it is a much about catching up with peers, colleagues and old friends as it is to learn about changes in policy and procedures. It is also a useful forum for asking questions and seeking clarification on matters of course delivery and paperwork.

In the afternoon, the day took a more educative turn with John Roberts from the Snowdonia National Park, where he works as their Archeologist, who walked us through an area around Egryn Abbey were he talked about bronze and Iron age settlements and burial grounds. It was not only stimulating in itself but relevant and useful for course providers as added information for their course participants.

........and finally, what would be a good collective noun for a group of mountain skills trainers and assessors?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Single Pitch Award Training

This was my first course as an official MLTW provider, having gained approval to be so earlier in September.

The work came about via Bryn Williams, who is one of the more active and prolific providers within Wales, when Liverpool John Moores University required extra SPA providers to service a larger than usual group of students wishing to do the award.

Day one saw us go to the ever reliable Lion Rocks to look at belay systems and rope set ups for both personal and group use including abseils. The weather held out for the most part allowing us to cover a number of systems and bring about plenty of discussion. Later that day, we went to the Beacon Climbing Centre which meant we could explore the coaching dimensions of climbing as well as group belay systems and problem solving.

Day two saw us up at Pont Y Cromlech for personal climbing and for further practice of skills from the first day. We almost managed to get things covered before the rain came in. Thankfully, we were able to retreat to Pete's Eat's for debriefs and log book signing.

Get in touch should you wish to do your Single Pitch Award

Further information can be obtained by visiting the Mountain Leader Training UK website

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Developing Adaptive Expertise

Where does the adaptiveness of adaptive experts come from? Adaptive experts are assumed to possess as the source of their flexibility and inventiveness, conceptual knowledge of the objects of the procedures (that is, what each of these objects is like). ‘Flexibility and adaptability seem to be possible only when there is some corresponding conceptual knowledge to give meaning to each step of the skill and provide criteria for selection among possible alternatives for each step within the procedure’ (Hatano, 1982: 15). Such conceptual knowledge enables experts to construct mental models of the major entities of the domain, which can be used in mental simulation. Using Holyoak's (1991) expression, the key to adaptive expertise is the development of deeper conceptual understanding of the target domain. Needless to say, such conceptual understanding must be connected to procedural competencies and meta-cognitive awareness and monitoring of one's own understanding.

It is hypothesized that if people ask themselves why a skill works or why each step is needed during its application, this question will tend to lead them to form some conceptual knowledge about the object (Hatano & Oura, 2003). This was similar to what Donald Schön (1991) called ‘reflection-in-action’ as against technical problem solving in his attempt to characterise professionals. Although experts are seldom taught conceptual knowledge in the verbalised form, they may construct it in the process of solving problems or performing tasks in the domain.

Identifying particular kinds of learning experiences that develop adaptive expertise is a serious challenge for educational researchers. Hatano and Inagaki (1992) proposed four conditions that would promote sustained comprehension activity that is likely to lead to adaptive expertise. Their proposal is based on the assumption that cognitive incongruity (a state of feeling that current comprehension is inadequate; for example, wondering why a given procedure works) induces enduring comprehension activity, including seeking further information from the outside, retrieving another piece of prior knowledge, generating new inferences, examining the compatibility of inferences more closely, and so forth. The first two of the proposed conditions are concerned with the arousal of cognitive incongruity and the last two with the elicitation of committed and persistent comprehension activity in response to induced incongruity. The four conditions are: (1) encountering fairly often a novel problem to which prior knowledge is not readily applicable or a phenomenon that disconfirms a prediction based on prior knowledge; (2) engaging in frequent dialogical interaction, such as discussion, controversy, and reciprocal teaching; (3) being free from urgent external need (e.g., material rewards or positive evaluations), and thus able to pursue comprehension even when it is time consuming; and (4) being surrounded by reference group members who value understanding.

These conditions can be rephrased in terms of the nature of the practice in which people participate. For example, when a practice is oriented toward skillfully solving a fixed class of problems (e.g., making the same products for years), participants tend not to encounter novel problems, and thus they are likely to become experts distinguished in terms of speed, accuracy, and automaticity (i.e., routine experts). In contrast, when successful participation in a practice requires meeting varied and changing demands (e.g., making new, fashionable products), participants' prior knowledge must be applied flexibly, and they are likely to acquire adaptive skills. From socio-cultural perspectives, adaptive experts may not be characterised only by their domain-specific knowledge; in order to invent new procedures, for example, in addition to deeper conceptual understanding, people have to be able to participate in discourse, offer valuable suggestions, evaluate others' suggestions, and so on.

Adaptive experts exhibit a strong proactive desire to continuously learn from their experiences, improve performance and accept that their understanding will always change (Hatano & Oura, 2003). Underpinning beliefs and attitudes, along with the behaviours that are inevitably associated with such views can be both learned and taught (Perkins & Grotzer, 1997; Perkins, Jay & Tishman, 1993b). For any leader who is more able to learn flexibly in new situations, as with any learning, the process will become natural, unconscious and automated (Shuell, 1990). Fazey et al., (2005) suggest that a person who learns how to be a good learner will eventually develop greater openness to change and become more adaptive. It is anticipated that they will become a more effective outdoor leader, particularly on expeditions, as a consequence.