Higher Learning Skills Portfolio For a PE Teacher Essay

Introduction to higher learning skills

This module, which followed on directly from the induction process, introduced me to the world of higher education and helped me develop a wide range of skills to enable me to become a more effective learner. It also helped me gain the most from my time as a student at college. This module has developed my independent learning skills and has introduced me to a range of study skills, learning theories and learning styles and has been encouraged me to reflect on my own learning, both within and outside of the programme of study.

TASK 1 – Personal Objectives

Task 1 – Personal Objectives

I arrived at the decision to enrol on a foundation degree course in sport, health and exercise after completion of my level three gym instructor’s course. It installed faith in me and the education system. I have become hungry for education and realise that education is vitally important, and is what I will go on to base my entire career upon.

My ambition to become a physical education (PE) teacher and fitness coach thrives in the learning environment; this is because I am surrounded by determined likeminded individuals. The idea of becoming a role model and inspiring people, particularly the youth is incredibly attractive to me.

My weaknesses that I feel will potentially hold me back include my lack of academic ability; I have never been fond of reading or writing. And I feel my ability to absorb information through these means are limited. However I am deemed a practical person, and enjoy being hands on. I hope my determination and my enthusiasm will somewhat make up for my weaknesses. I am sure the foundation degree will prove challenging and allow me to develop my already existing strengths, and develop and improve upon my weaknesses.

SWOT Analysis


My practicality and hands on approach.

Leadership capabilities and confidence will help propel me into the fitness industry.

Communication skills will enable me to establish good working relationships.


Lack of ability to absorb information via reading.


Networking in and around college, and the opportunities my peers will provide me with.

Chance to improve and develop skills for workplace.


The incredibly competitive fitness industry will pose a threat.

TASK 2 – Learning Style Reflections

Task 2 – Learning Style Reflections

On completion of the Honey & Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire, my results were far from clean cut. It was evident that I show a mixture of both pragmatist, and reflector. However I am primarily a ‘reflector’. I agree strongly with this because reflectors learn best from activities in which they are allowed or encouraged to watch, think and chew over activities. They can reach a decision and conclusion in their own time, and often find that they have the opportunity to review what has happened, and what they have learned. I can very much so relate to these specific characteristics of which a reflector would own. Reflectors like to stand back to ponder experiences and observe them from different perspectives. They collect data, both first hand and from others, and prefer to think about it thoroughly, postponing definitive conclusions as long as possible. Their philosophy is to be cautious. They are thoughtful people. They enjoy observing other people in action. They listen to others and get the drift of the discussion before making their own points (Honey, P. & Mumford, A. 1982). I think the questionnaire gave me a relatively accurate reflection of my learning style.

However, it is thought that reflectors learn least from situations in which they are forced into the limelight. This is the point at which my suitability towards the reflector category begins to blur because often I find that I learn the most when undertaking a practical role and ultimately being in the limelight. This would explain the mixture of pragmatist, and would coincide with the practicality of my learning style. I enjoy being given the chance to try something out with feedback from a credible expert and being given immediate opportunities to implement what I have learned. These attribute belong to a pragmatist. Pragmatists are considered ‘Kinesthetic Learners’. Kinesthetic learners learn best by moving their bodies. These are the “hands-on learners” or the “doers” who actually concentrate better and learn more easily when movement is involved, ultimately learning via doing (Reston, Virginia 1978).

Reflective learning will help me improve my learning style. I can do this through many methods eg. keeping a learning journal or blog, using self-evaluation questionnaires and making constructive use of feedback from tutors. Using reflective learning, I can effectively evaluate my progress (Stella Cottrell & Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). I will make the most of my strengths, and practice strategies that will allow me to build up on my weaker areas.


(Stella Cottrell & Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) The Study Skills Handbook.

(Honey, P. & Mumford, A. 1982) Manual of Learning Styles London: P Honey.

(Reston, Virginia: Reston Publishing, 1978) Dunn, Rita and Dunn, Kenneth, Teaching Students Through Their Individual Learning Styles.

Task 3 – Factors that influence learning

Task 3 – Factors that influence learning

On reflection, I think we worked effectively as a group. Sometimes I find working in a group difficult because I prefer to take full responsibility of my work and rely less on other people in my group, this is why I prefer working individually. However in this case, working in a group proved helpful.

One advantage of being part of a group was having the opportunity for input from three other people (Hannah, Dale and Sam) with different points of view and concept of ideas. We all added our thoughts and ideas to the discussion and this allowed us to choose a combination of the best ideas and to create the best possible table.

One major disadvantage was that it was very time-consuming. It was difficult to work together outside of our lesson, so we had to use email communication, sending back ideas and drafts. A common disadvantage that is found within group work is that “free-riding” within the team may occur (Medsker and Campion 1992) This is when certain members of the group do not contribute yet still gain recognition for the remainder of the group’s efforts Although working in a group trying to coordinate everything was time-consuming, I believe the pros definitely outweighed the cons.

After the initial brainstorm in lesson, we were very effective in dividing the work equally. I contributed to the positive and negative influence table part of our document. I think we effectively split the work equally so that no single person had too much responsibility. Sharing responsibility is important. “The responsibility for the group lies with each member. If a problem arises, even if it seems to be the fault of one person, every member shares the responsibility for sorting out and fixing the problem so the group can work.” (Cottrell, S. & Macmillan, P. 2008).


(Cottrell, S. & Macmillan, P. 2008. The Study Skills Handbook. Third Edition.)

(Salvendy, G. 2005. Handbook of human factors and ergonomics. Third Edition)


Positive influences

Negative Influences


Peers (Students)



Self Confidence

Lack of Motivation

Tutors Support



Teaching Styles

Style of teaching

Paid Work

Peers (Students)


Table of the factors that influence learning

Task 4 – Literature Research and Book Review

Task 4 – Literature Research and Book Review

The book is an exercise physiology based book. The author’s successfully integrate the basic concepts and relevant scientific information to provide a foundation for understanding nutrition, energy transfer, and exercise training. The book provides excellent coverage of exercise physiology, touching on the topics of physical conditioning, nutrition, body composition, and metabolism. Every chapter has been fully revised and updated to reflect the latest information in the field.

The use of case studies in each chapter enables the reader to get involved and provide a link between theory and real-world applications. The book’s organization into independent units gives readers the flexibility to learn according to their own specific needs.

The book can help students build a solid understanding of the scientific principles underlying modern exercise physiology. This particular edition includes images and diagrams which can help add visual appeal and improve understanding of key topics (Pritchard, 2005). The book includes a companion website with animations of key concepts, an image bank and PowerPoint lectures. Student tutoring services are made available, and additional online resources which contain questions to help students prepare for exams make this book fantastic for undergraduate students.

In conclusion, the authors use of primary evidence, combined with a unique presentation and strong attention to detail, make this book important work. This book can prove extremely useful in understanding the broad concept of exercise physiology.

Bibliography: The 10 book citations

Mc Ardle, W. Katch, F. ; Katch, V. (2009) Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams ; Wilkins.

Foss, M. ; Keteyian, S. (1998) Fox’s Physiological Basics for Exercise and Sport. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Seeley, R. Stephens, T. ; Tate, P. (2002) Anatomy ; Physiology. Maidenhead: McGraw Hill.

Wilmore, J. ; Costill, D. (2008) Physiology of Sport and Exercise. Leeds: Human Kinetics.

Maud, P. ; Foster, C. (2006). Physiology Assessment of Human Fitness. 2nd Ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.

Eston, R. and Reilly, T. (eds.) (2008) Kinanthropometry and exercise physiology laboratory manual: tests, procedures and data. Volume 2: Physiology. 3rd edn. London: Routledge.

Guyton, A.C. (1984) Physiology of the Human Body. 6 edn. W.B. Saunders.

Plowman, S. ; Smith, D. L. (2008). Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance. 2nd Edition. Lippincott: Williams ; Wilkins.

Tortora, G.J. and Anagnostakos, N.P. (1990) Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. 6 edn. Harper Collins.

Dunford, M. and Doyle, J.A. (2011) Nutrition for sport and exercise. 2nd edn. Pacific Grove, Calif: Brooks/Cole.


Pritchard, A. (2005) Ways of Learning Learning Theories and Learning Styles in the Classroom. London: David Fulton.

Task 5 – Using Case Studies

Task 5 – Using Case Studies

In 2003, Elmbridge’s council condemned the existing leisure facilities and it was decided they closed in favour of a more sate-of-the-art complex being introduced. Pros and cons were established; however a new wet and dry leisure facility was favoured.

To facilitate the proposed project, a Public Private Partnership was established. In 2003, an invitation to tender for the work was made, whereby in March 2004 two local firms were chosen to undertake the 15 year contract. It was decided that DC leisure met all the necessary requirements. A lead officer was addressed for the duration of the project who would work closely with external specialists.

Combining forces with local residents and acknowledging the need for feedback and progress updates has enabled a mutual understanding to be developed by both parties. Elmbridge’s council developed various strategies to enable local residents up to date with progress.

Completion of the Elmbridge’s Exel Leisure complex took approximately 14 months in total. This was six week earlier than forecasted, and was fully operational by August the 14th 2006. With further investment by means of a substantial grant from the Football Foundation, the installation of a floodlit synthetic pitch and changing rooms were undertaken.

Now Elmbridge’s council is estimated to save 6 million pounds over the next 15 years thanks to the investment placed in the new facilities, after which time the centre must be returned to the council.

DC leisure centre works closely with various national governing bodies to encourage participation in under represented sports. This along side other facilities at the centre, has seen a three fold increase in the total number of visitors.

Task 6 – A Critical Incident Report

Task 6 – A Critical Incident Report

This report will outline a critical incident which occurred in year 11 high school. The incident was initiated by my teacher, who told me that she would provide individual feedback to me on my performance in a tutorial discussion. She also stated that she would be producing written comments on each student’s behaviour, attitude and contribution in tutorials to be incorporated into student portfolios for year 12.

During my tutorial my teacher discussed her feedback with me. She stated that over the year she had noticed that I had begun to lose concentration during our lessons and had become distracted by other students. She was concerned that I would fall behind on coursework, and explained that being able to focus during lessons was essential in my future career. In her view the only way to develop focus was to implement strategies to improve myself. She asked me how I felt about this, and if there was a reason why I became distracted in class.

At the time of this incident, many emotions were running through me. I felt embarrassed that my lack of concentration was so obvious to her, and also concerned about what impact it might have on my results. I was worried that she would write negative comments about my behaviour and attitude, and that these comments would be available for other lecturers to read. Although I understood that her intention was to help me to do better, I felt very uncomfortable and even ashamed to have to acknowledge my poor performance in this area. I felt guilty when I realized that in her opinion I had contributed so little to the class.

This incident was very demanding because it forced me to think critically and acknowledge one of my weaknesses. I knew that my teacher would be noticing my behaviour and performance in her lessons for the remaining year, and that her written comments would depend on my performance, so as a consequence I felt under pressure.

Although this incident caused me discomfort and added pressure in the short term, I realise that it was a very significant event in my studies. As a result of the conversation with my tutor I was forced to reconsider my behaviour in lessons and became more aware of how others viewed me. Fortunately, the tutor gave me advice on how to gradually develop myself and the skills I needed.

Task 7 – Group Presentation

Task 7 – Group Presentation

Log of meeting dates and assigned tasks

Group members: Karl, Brandon, Sam, Macy and Hannah.

Presentation subject: Drugs in sport.

Presentation sub sections and individual assigned to each sub section:

1. History of drugs in sport- Sam.

2. Drugs commonly used to enhance performance- Brandon.

3. Reasons why athletes turn to drugs- Macy.

4. Drug preventative methods- Hannah.

5. Introduction and finishing line- Karl.

Date of meeting

What was worked on

January 5th

Deciding on topic and subsections

January 19th

Researching individual subsections

February 2nd

Researching individual subsections

February 16th

Putting everything together and untimed practice of presentation out loud

March 1st

Adjustments made to presentation and practiced in time limit

March 15th

Final practice with time limit.


The role of drugs in sport presentation

Task 8 – Group Evaluation

Task 8 – Group Evaluation

I was part of a group formed to create an informative PowerPoint presentation that would outline the role of drugs in sport. Our presentation encompassed the role, history, and physiological factors that would potentially sway athletes into taking drugs. It also explained in depth the four common drugs used in competitive sport and the preventative measures in place to minimize the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. The project itself turned out to be a great learning experience for every member of my team, including myself.

On reflection, I think our team communicated exceptionally well. I think communication is a key to a successful team. If a person is reluctant to communicate with the rest of the team, his or her ideas will not be expressed in a completed project. I feel that in small teams like we had, it helps a reserved person become involved due to the small amount of people in the group. I believe that in our group, every person’s opinion was made to feel important.

Initially, our group held a brainstorming session. This is where all of our group members verbally suggested ideas about our presentation topic. Our brainstorming session was relatively unstructured. I tried to solicit ideas from all members within our group. We then divided the workload equally between each group member, and made sure everybody was comfortable with their subject topic. We then recorded the ideas presented on a word document. Brainstorming proved to be very useful when trying to generate ideas.

I feel that one of the difficulties we faced with brainstorming is that some individuals were hesitant to propose ideas because they feared the judgment or ridicule of other group members. At this point I proposed the idea of electronic brainstorming, which allowed group members to propose alternatives by means of e-mail or another electronic means so group members could offer their ideas anonymously, which according to (Maznevski, M.L) increases the likelihood that individuals will offer unique and creative ideas without fear of the harsh judgment of others.

Specific roles were outlined for each member. Our presentation was split into five parts. This enabled us to allocate a slide for each member of our group to present in front of the class.

I think group meetings contributed greatly to our success. Meetings were scheduled so that everyone could attend. The venue influenced how successfully we could work. Our meetings were held at the UEA library. This was a place we could talk without interruption, with proper work spaces.

I think we could have improved our group productivity if we had appointed a group leader. There was no effective leader to give direction to our discussions, and that resulted in our discussions sometimes wandering aimlessly. In addition, the ideas aired during some meetings were not recorded, and as a result many ideas were forgotten.


Maznevski, M.L. “Understanding Our Differences: Performance in Decision-Making Groups with Diverse Members.” Human Relations 47: 531–542.

Task 9 – Self appraisal and Personal development planning

Part 1 – Self Appraisal

Academic Skill





Locating books and articles that are appropriate for academic study at degree level

I am familiar with library and enjoy broadening my knowledge through reading books and articles.

I often take books out of the college library or on loan.

I feel like my IT skills and ability to find online resources could be improved.

References used in my assignments for my foundation degree are composed of mainly hard copy books.

Note taking in lessons and from books

I enjoy taking notes from lessons to prompt me on key areas that are covered.

My notepad is full of abbreviated notes taken from lessons.

I feel my concentration during lessons can sometimes prevent me from absorbing all the information.

There are times when I have to arrange tutorials to confirm things with tutors.

Analysing passages of text from primary and secondary sources

I feel like my ability to critically analyse text is satisfactory. I was able to demonstrate this in task two – the book review.

For my sports nutrition module I have had to analyse passages from text to extract information about macro and micro nutrients.

Sometimes I don’t fully understand the academic words used in some passages of texts.

When I don’t understand some words, I have to use a thesaurus .

Expressing ideas clearly in writing, with due attention to grammar and register

I feel I have good grammar and typography. And my ability to synthesize my ideas has been discussed in tutorials

In a number of my assignments my tutors have expressed that my attention to grammar and writing is satisfactory.

I feel my weakness in this area is that I cannot proof read. I prefer to get a second opinion and have somebody else to help me. This helps me identify grammar mistakes.

After every assignment that I complete in neat copy I have a friend or tutor proof read my work.

Presenting my work in accordance with scholarly conventions

I consult the module handbooks and revise the grading criteria to ensure I get the highest possible marks.

To deliver my Higher Learning Skills presentation I had to accord with scholarly conventions effectively.

My weaknesses lay with my academic writing. I often expose myself to criticism for poor referencing.

In my exercise physiology assignment the feedback I gained from my tutor was direct at my referencing.

Devoting sufficient time to my academic


My strengths in this area include time management which is outlined in task 10 and my prioritisation.

All of my assignments to date have been completed on time.

Sometimes my schedule can become busy and I can fall behind on my study time.

Some assignments and tasks have to be rushed to compensate.

Reading sufficiently widely in preparation my classes and assignments

I Try to include a wide range of references in my assignments and try to have reference multiple sources.

I enjoy taking notes from books so that I can revise them during lessons.

IT skills and ability to find and locate relevant online resources.

Because of this weakness, I have developed the ability to refine all of my searches.

Part 2 – Development and Action planning


Action That Needs To Be Taken To Meet Objective

Time Frame

(Planned date of completion and/or review)

Resources Needed

Evidence To Be Used To Show Achievement of Objective

Develop my public speaking skills and confidence

Take a public speaking workshop

Complete the workshop within six months.

Internet to find and apply for workshop.

Upon course completion.

Develop my presentation skills

Read at least two intermediate-level books on presentation skills.

1st June


After reading the books, I will measure my knowledge on more advanced presentation techniques.

Develop my organisation skills.

Evaluate my current organizational strategies.

1st July

A planner so I can write down my activities on paper.

A fully developed planner with all assignments prioritized.

Develop my academic writing skills

Discussing coming assignments and how to plan them with a tutor

Or critical friend.

1st July

Networking, friends or module tutor.

Extensive notes from previous individual tutorials and tutorials books in the near future.

Task 10 – Time Management

Task 10 – Time Management

Upon enrolling at college, I soon realized that my ability to manage time effectively directly impacts my learning experience and my family life. The following task will identify the tools I currently use to manage my time, and analyse how effective these tools actually are. I will also outline any steps I could potentially take to improve my time management skills.

To manage my time effectively, I set goals. Having a clear goal and something practical to aim for, helps me figure out what exactly needs to be done, in what order.

I also spend some time at the beginning of each week to plan my schedule. Taking the extra time to do this helps me increase my productivity and balance my important long-term projects with my more urgent tasks. This only usually takes me fifteen to thirty minutes each week.

Prioritizing what needs to be done is especially important to me. This is particularly an area of which I can improve upon. Without it, I often find myself working very hard, however not achieving the results that I desire because what I am working on is not of strategic importance. To increase my efficiently I try to work on the most important, highest value tasks first.