AFL Schools Division: Leveraging the home-ground advantage - Education Matters Magazine
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AFL Schools Division: Leveraging the home-ground advantage

AFL Schools Division Education

Whether one is a sports enthusiast, or not, the power that a home-ground advantage has over the performance of a team stands out during a game.

After decades of research into the phenomenon, academics have proven that there is statistical evidence showing that teams do in fact win more often at home than when they are on the road.1 Contributing factors to the home-ground advantage can include: the support and enthusiasm of home team fans; the familiarity of the playing grounds for the players; and the challenges players face with changing routines when travelling.

Now, if this principal is applied to teaching, where the teacher is the coach, the classroom is the playing ground, and the students are the players, we might ask: how can teachers gain a home-ground advantage to improve their teaching practice and deliver better Health and Physical Education curriculum?

The answer? More professional learning.

It can be argued that teachers can gain a home-ground advantage if they seek out continual growth and understand the benefits of attending professional development to become better at what they do.

Ongoing professional learning enables teachers to better cater to the needs of their students, adapt to the changing trends in the education industry, and gain a better understanding of how to deliver effective instruction in the classroom.

It can be challenging to understand how to offer professional development for teachers at a time when many teachers are being stretched to their limits and every teacher’s individual needs differ greatly.

Fortunately, the AFL Schools team recognise the value of offering well-rounded professional learning models for teachers. Through careful consideration, they have developed better ways to support teachers in the classroom through online professional development courses.

Looking to incorporate AFL into the classroom?

On the AFL Schools website, the professional learning section gives teachers options! Teachers can attend webinars, watch the professional learning video series, or complete self-paced, interactive online courses. If teachers have a preference for face-to-face professional learning, they can attend conferences held throughout the year.

I was impressed with how seriously the AFL are trying to connect with schools and how important it is to link with the curriculum and make it easy and useful to implement school wide in and out of the classroom.” -Jasmine Royle, Physical Education Teacher, Beehive Montessori School, Mosman Park, WA

The AFL’s approach to professional learning ensures that teachers – even those without a strong foundation in Aussie Rules – will benefit from additional knowledge and gain more confidence in their ability to teach the game. Additionally, they will be given the opportunity to apply their learnings using real-world examples within the AFL to develop other areas of their curriculum.

In collaboration with primary schools, the AFL Schools Team have also developed a number of professional learning sessions that cater specifically towards teaching primary school curriculum. The sessions provide theory and practical application of the AFL programming and gives teachers, as well as teachers-in-training, the opportunity to learn about the theories that underpin effective teaching of Health and Physical Education.

“We have created Professional Learning so that teachers can select the sessions that best meet their own developmental and professional needs. Aligned to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers as outlined by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), we provide a range of offerings to allow you to engage in professional learning to increase your knowledge, skills, and professional engagement for greater effectiveness. For accreditation purposes or collection of evidence for achieving the Standards, we have attributed each of our professional learning tools to the related Standard descriptors.” – The AFL Schools’ Team

It is critical that close attention is paid to how teachers prepare for and feel supported in their profession, which is why AFL Schools’ professional learning sessions have been designed with flexibility in mind, to accommodate the individual professional goals and learning objectives of every teacher, whilst allowing them to acquire relevant skills and adopt ‘game-sense’ approaches.

Whether a new or a seasoned educator, teachers can improve their effectiveness in the classroom by taking part in professional development activities that help them learn new skills and pedagogy that they can transfer into the classroom (or onto the field).

AFL Schools’ professional learning options guarantee that students will benefit from a true home-ground advantage – ultimately setting schools up for more wins.


1.Is it the crowds or grounds that give home teams an edge? – ABC News

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