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An AFL Lesson from Bayern Munich Football (Soccer) Club

Because Assessment FOR Learning principles are the basic principles of how people learn anything - from learning to walk to doing Algebra or from driving a car to writing an essay - I often find examples of AFL in everyday life.  Here's an example I came across when reading the November 17, 2014, issue of Sports Illustrated.

Grant Wahl wrote an article entitled, The Toast of Munich, about Bayern Munich, one of Europe's great soccer clubs.  In writing about their relatively new manager, Pep Guardiola, Wahl says the manager demands players perfect their skills.  Specifically, he states that Guardiola "has been known to dedicate large portions of practice teaching world champions the basic technique of passing."

I love the image of the world's best soccer players focusing on the same basic techniques that my 7th grade daughter works on with her soccer team.  You never get too good to practice the basics and receive feedback from a coach.

Doesn't the same principle apply to the classroom?  All students need classroom coaches who constantly drill them on the basics.  Algebra 2 students still need to work on numeracy skills.  English 11 students still need to work on grammar and structure.  Senior Government students still need to work on basic vocabulary.  AP Chemistry students still need to work on the applying the scientific method.

Practice. Receive feedback. Practice. Receive feedback. Practice. Receive feedback.

This is the recipe for a great athletic team AND the recipe for a great learning environment.  This is Assessment FOR Learning. 

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Comment by Scott Habeeb on November 26, 2014 at 9:09am

Thanks, Ken.  You're right - practicing basic skills seems so natural in sports.  However, in the classroom there is often a reluctance to spend time practicing skills that "should have been learned in previous years."  But if you're never too good to practice the basics, then you definitely need to when you're a weaker student.

Comment by Ken O'Connor on November 26, 2014 at 5:54am

So true. Any time you go early to a high level sporting event you see highly competent players practising basic skills.

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