Some people have just got it…? 

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By Dr Tom Brownlee

Photo Credit: Diego PH on Unsplash

A lot of the students I interact with are interested in working in elite sport. Through the opportunities we’ve put together at the University and our extensive network, we’re able to facilitate this in the form of placements. Over the years I’ve often been told that student X might have great book smarts, but when it comes to navigating the environment those within clubs feel that they may need greater understanding. 

Often this comes as a result of this being their first exposure to such environments. In time, the students become more at ease and this sense of not quite fitting becomes smaller. Sometimes though, this isn’t the case, and it remains a struggle for the student. 

Perhaps this isn’t too surprising, in that we can’t all be good at everything. But when a student has their heart set on something this can be hard to accept. For a long time, I’ve felt that there may be nothing that can be done to aid such situations. Some people have the skills, and abilities to pick up on nuance, whereas some people don’t. Despite referring to this during lectures I felt that some people might not be able to develop these attributes. 

Speaking with Dr Paul Garner recently though I said that I think I’ve come to realise that this attitude isn’t acceptable from me. Why can’t we look to develop those skills in students in the same way we would any other skill? It might not be as straightforward, and at this stage, I may not even know how I would approach it, but it’s very easy to bucket something as unobtainable and to forget about it. 

So, over the next few months we, as a team, will be thinking about this specifically, and increasing the amount of exclusive attention we give to it during our modules. As we improve our ability to do so I believe the rewards our students can reap will be hugely valuable. Onwards and upwards!

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