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Connecting the Student to the Athlete

I just completed my dissertation and the biggest thing I learned about the dissertation process is how to be a life-long learner and develop research projects to facilitate learning. I used a motivational construct called Transformative Experience (TE) as an important concept in my dissertation and I learned many things from it. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about TE and its application. I will not go in depth about TE, but if you are interested contact me, and we can have more discussions about the construct. I had a really good conversation with a colleague of mine about TE and I thought I would write my thoughts. The main reason TE is so important for me is the idea of taking concepts or ideas learned in school and apply them outside of school. By doing so, students begin to look at concepts in new ways. For instance, if students can learn that a science concept of building and designing can be useful outside of school, students will engage more in the content as they are learning it in school. Isn’t that the whole outcome of education? Getting students to engage in the concepts they are learning.

The important part of my conversation with my colleague was how versatile TE can be. In my dissertation, I used it to help scaffold the learning of a specific science concept. It seems as though TE can be used in other ways. I have a deep passion of working with Student Athletes (SA). My company is called Pivot-ED and our mission is to combine education and athletics to enable students to Be MORE. The BE MORE tag is where TE resonated the most with me. In order to BE MORE, SA need to see themselves as more than just athletes. As I talked to my colleague, I realized that TE can be used to facilitate the BE MORE process. Let’s take another idea such as self-regulation. Self-regulation is a fundamental idea for Pivot-ED. How do we get our SA to be more self-regulated? TE calls for students to take a concept they learn in school and use it outside of school. Time use is an important concept for SA and is one component of being self-regulated. Students can be taught the idea of time use in a classroom setting and examine ways they’ve successfully managed their time outside of school. This using of a content taught in school and applying it outside of school is a TE component of active use. As SA see how important and successful they are in using their time outside of school, this success causes for a change in the SA perception of time use. This perception change is the TE concept of expansion of perception. Lastly, as students see the usefulness or utility value of time use, they value the idea of time use. The valuing of the concept is the last portion of TE called experiential value. While SA are taught about their time use, they are being scaffolded through the TE process. They use the concept of time use outside of school, their perception of how they use their time changes based on their own successes, and they value the concept. This allows them to actively engage in self-regulating their time use because they’ve witnessed its importance and see the use of time in a new way.

I broke down TE in terms of self-regulation but TE can also be used to allow students to broadly value their academics. The end product of TE is students seeing their world in a new way. The last and hardest portion of TE to attain is experiential value. But, valuing their academics in new ways, can be very impactful for SA. Our society talks about the importance of focusing on the student portion of SA, but we don’t quite have the solution. We tell SA to have a back-up plan, but never teach them how to begin constructing it. Combining motivational constructs such as TE and self-regulation may be the answer. One important application of TE is allowing students to look at concepts such the skills that allow SA to be successful in their sport in a new way. Pivot-ED believes those same skills that SA develop in their sport can be translated to the classroom using TE and self-regulation. If we are able to help students make that connection between their academics and athletics, then they can start to realize that academic success is just as attainable as their athletic success. By continuously engaging in education endeavors, SA can develop interest and skills sets in other areas where they can BE MORE than just athletes.

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