September 20, 2001------------Design --------- --- Return to Mankato PA Welcome Page

Guidelines for Visitors & Observer

Purpose of Visitation & Observation
We acknowledge that visitors can be an interruptions to team meetings. The purposes and justification are as follows:

1. A PA team is a public group. Visitation reminds teams that they are not private clubs.
2. PA allows for a large amount of freedom. But coaches and teams can not do whatever they want. Visitors help keep coaches and teams working consistent with the aims and key elements of PA.
3. Observers are an essential way to keep the PA leadership, and Dr. Kunkel informed about what is going well and what seems to need improvement.
4. The leadership also needs to be able to anticipate upcoming actions and projects, to avoid trouble, assist with logistics and to give good advice.
5. Visitors can be a resource for coaches and teams. They can try to answer questions, give advice, help with trouble, and give encouragement and praise.
6. If a coach needs the help of another adult, or if a substitute is needed, visitors who are familiar with that team are better prepared to step into that role.

Visitor Guidelines

1. Observe; Do Not Interfere.
During the team meeting our goal is to avoid interrupting, interfering or taking over from the coach. If you see problems or have suggestions it is best to raise them with the coach ASAP after the meeting; perhaps during debriefing.

2. Speaking Makes Sense Sometimes
However common sense indicates that sometimes the visitor should participate in the meeting. A pattern of anarchic behavior may invite a response from the visitor. If the visitor has a helpful thought to add to the discussion they should do so. Occasionally the visitor will want to ask the team to give them a little report on what they are doing. Ask permission to speak. Support and affirm the coach. Do not undercut the coach.

3. Visits Should be Organized to Minimize Interruptions
Teams should ordinarily expect one visit per week. The site coordinators, coach mentors and teachers will be given particular teams to visit so they shouldn't overlap. Dr. Kunkel retains the right to roam so he may be your second visitor.

4. Visitors Should Be Courteous and Friendly
Knock before entering. Ask if this is an OK time to visit. Ask permission to speak. Be aware of your body language and attitude. Smile. Avoid taking notes while in the room; do this after you leave.

5. Follow up
After the meeting try to talk to the coaches you have observed. Fill out and give them a copy of the Peer Observation form and/or use email or the on-line system. Share information with Professor Kunkel, particularly if there is a problem or there is something we need to anticipate.