The CSLA: Should You Do It?
A compilation of reflections by Alysha, Ana, and Jocelyne from Year 13
As a follow up to our EPQ article, we present another project you can take on during the Sixth Form: The Community Sports Leadership Award (CSLA).
When given the two choices, EPQ or CSLA, I was almost certain I would choose the latter. Although EPQ offered a chance to independently research my own project, I was inclined to focus on improving practical life skills that would challenge me, drawing me to my final decision: CSLA.
Similarly, to the first level of CSLA, we were expected to plan and teach P.E. lessons for younger year groups. Although instead of working with our peers, we were left to fend for ourselves (it wasn’t as daunting as it sounds). During the course, we were taught through class discussions the different safety factors that we need to consider when planning; from analysing the lights of the facility to predicting possible accidents, it widened our knowledge into the makings of a P.E. lesson. When it came to conducting our activities with the children, it was our turn to guide them - of course, under supervision to ensure we had the basic abilities. The first few sessions can be full of unpredictable moments that ruin your plan entirely but you quickly adapt and learn from experience, then develop almost a routine in your approach to teaching. Progression in your communication and organisational skills will noticeably advance even after completing the qualification. Anyone with the desire for a more recreational independent project, this award is suited for you.
Choosing CSLA was somewhat of an easy choice for me since I knew that, for EPQ, I wouldn’t enjoy sitting at a table and working on yet another long-term School project, despite being awarded extra UCAS points. During the course, I got the opportunity to work on my leadership, organisational and communication skills which ultimately gave me more confidence. While in lessons, the students discuss and learn about the qualities you need to become an exceptional leader. After that, we were eased into teaching, first with our classmates, then to younger year groups, benefitting equally from overseen and individual learning. Working alongside P.E. teachers and having their support while I was teaching a class was reassuring and it motivated me to be more organised and put more effort into my lesson plans. I felt more engaged by the opportunity to expand my social skills and interact with younger year groups. This course encourages students to not only take responsibility for themselves but also for those they are leading. Personally, I appreciated being pushed outside of my comfort zone when working with a larger group and would recommend CSLA to anyone who would like to focus on improving their practical skills or is looking for a fun interactive activity.
While taking part in the CSLA qualification, I was able to learn and demonstrate important life skills such as effective communication and organisation whilst learning to lead basic physical activities with younger year groups. The course involves both guided and peer-to-peer learning and supervised leadership to ensure that learners have all the skills they need to lead basic physical activities with other people. After obtaining those necessary skills during class discussions, we began planning practise lessons amongst ourselves before moving on to our assigned year groups to lead lessons. During those lessons, you will have full control over the activities you do and every part of planning the structure of the lesson is up to you. It is a fun and practical qualification that focuses on leading rather than technical ability and is a potential stepping stone into employment, further education or training. After leading a few lessons and receiving feedback from your teacher, you begin to develop generic leadership skills that can be vital in other areas of life and be qualified to independently lead small groups of people in different sports activities.
Overall, the leadership skills gained through this course will be applicable for anyone looking at people management careers, not necessarily limited to the sporting field.