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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsFRANK HEROLD: Hello. My name is Frank Herold. I am a lecturer for sport, physical education, and coaching sciences here at the University of Birmingham.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 secondsOKSEON LEE: Hello. I am Okseon Lee, from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.

Skip to 0 minutes and 27 secondsOutstanding teachers are able to identify hidden students in a class-- those students who appear to be engaged, but in reality they're not fully engaged in the learning process. Such students have been described as competent bystanders, because they have learned how to ensure they attract little attention. This video will help to you to engage with the process of diagnosing [INAUDIBLE] students' development needs by looking at the behaviors of the competent bystanders.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 secondsFRANK HEROLD: Okseon. You've come to talk to us about the concept of a competent bystander. Not everybody will know what a competent bystander is. Would you like to explain to us a little bit?

Skip to 1 minute and 11 secondsOKSEON LEE: Competent bystander is a term describing students who are really competent at not doing teacher-assigned tasks. When students are not doing on-task behavior, teachers usually notice them.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 secondsFRANK HEROLD: So then how do we identify the competent bystander?

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsOKSEON LEE: Identifying competent bystanders, however, is very tricky, because they appear to be on task, and even look busy and active in the class.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 secondsFRANK HEROLD: What are the behavioral patterns of the competent bystander?

Skip to 1 minute and 44 secondsOKSEON LEE: First they try to avoid the participation by staying in the back of the line, or choosing partners who are [INAUDIBLE] to minimize the involvement. Students during the game play, they looks very easy and active by running down the field, or cheering the teammate. But they are never asking the ball, even they are completely open. One other behavioral pattern is choosing an alternative activity which is not related to intended learning outcomes. For example, when girls are not good at playing, they pretend to stay in the sideline, and being a cheerleader instead of playing games.

Skip to 2 minutes and 25 secondsIn the same way, boys, when they want to participate in the dance activity, they will chose an alternative activity, such as making rhythm with the sticks, rather than participating in learning dance step. Basically, they are not learning any intended learning outcomes, such as skill and knowledge, even though looks very engaged in the class.

Skip to 2 minutes and 49 secondsFRANK HEROLD: So what are the reasons for the competent bystander to behave in that way?

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 secondsOKSEON LEE: There are several reasons. Lack of skills, knowledge, and tactical knowledge for game-play. All of these can be the reasons. Sometimes students' need for socializing can be the reasons. When students want to socialize with a close friend, they will hide in the outfield with a close friend. And sometimes they tend to choose inappropriate skill level because they want to stick together with a close friend. All these physical, cognitive, social, and [INAUDIBLE] developmental needs can influencing them being competent bystanders.

Skip to 3 minutes and 31 secondsFRANK HEROLD: So then how can we-- or how can teachers-- identify the competent bystander in the PE class?

Skip to 3 minutes and 39 secondsOKSEON LEE: Outstanding teachers have good observation skills. And these skills, like any other skills, should be practiced. When you observe your students, you should always have in mind the goals of the task. Asking questions such as what learning outcomes do I want them achieved through these tasks will help you to identify what they are doing, exactly supposed to do, and judge whether they are competent bystander or not. In this video we have reviewed what competent bystander is, how they behave, and why they become competent bystanders. Students have varying needs of development needs. And when their needs are not matched that well with learning tasks, they will become a competent bystander to avoid participation.

Skip to 4 minutes and 30 secondsNow I would like to go back on three main tasks, and identify who your competent bystanders are, what developmental needs they have, and what can be done pedagogically to help them.

Competent bystanders

Outstanding teachers are able to identify the ‘hidden’ students in a lesson; ie those students who make few demands on the teacher’s time and who appear to be engaged but, in reality, are not fully engaged in the learning process. Such students have been described as ‘competent bystanders’ because they have learnt how to ensure they attract little attention.

This video will help you to engage with the process of diagnosing students’ complex and individual learning needs by looking at the behaviours of the competent bystanders.

Questions to consider
Have you encountered competent bystanders in your classes?
What behaviours do you notice?

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This video is from the free online course:

Outstanding Physical Education Lessons

University of Birmingham