I have just read a blog by @ImSporticus about 'What does success look like in physical education' and posted this response on his blog. I thought i'd share it with you.
Every PE program is going to be different in every school and this leaves this discussion wide open. I personally believe that success has to firstly come from the program provided for the students, secondly from the teaching involved with the program and thirdly the success of your students within this program.
Your perception of these three can vary depending on the expectations of the school but I think more importantly the expectations your school has for success in PE at your school. We all know that sometimes PE can be disregarded as a subject by some. I still hear it at times in my school when teachers think anyone can teach PE. They don't really know what our subject involves.
A successful program should allow students to experience a broad range of activities which allows success for every student. Basically a physical education program is not a 'Sports' program. I fully believe when vertically articulating your program a variety of activities should be included as part of your program. In MYP Physical and Health Education at our school we try to do this. Of course we are not perfect but we fully believe we are trying to provide variety for our students using our facilities and faculty the best way we can.
Physical Education practitioners should be competent in a range of activities. When employing our latest PE teachers for this academic year it was important that they not only had the passion to teach but the experience and willingness to teach a diverse curriculum. We not only teach practically but we also include health lessons in our curriculum. Our teachers need to embody the philosophy of the IB MYP curriculum and it's expectations fully before embarking on teaching physical education.
Standards within your curriculum provided you with benchmarks. Assessments then provide you with a way of discovering how your students can reach these standards that your have set. It is essential for you to find different ways to assess your students so they have an opportunity to show you what they can do. Students should always be aware of what is expected of them and how they can achieve success. They should be provided with opportunities to test their knowledge and skills and reflect on their performance. Sufficient feedback should be given after every assessment and students given a chance to understand where they need to improve.
All students can find success in physical education if they are provided with the correct tools to work with. As I said above, I think these tools are a good curriculum, good teaching and successful assessment.
As I enter into the second year of my current teaching post, I look back and reflect on what has been a massive year of learning for me. It is always hard when starting in a new school and new country but living here and working at this school has provided me with a lot of opportunities to develop as an educator.
Implementing the new MYP Physical and Health Education curriculum with the next chapter has had many challenges. There has been a steep learning curve for many in the school who have not taught MYP before but with close collaboration and an openness to discussion we have put together what I think is a good program. Of course we have had to make mistakes so we can learn. I know for sure I used too many summative assessment tasks. This was not only a lot of work for the students but also for me.
I have had many good discussions with members of my Facebook group which has grown in numbers but also in the quality of educators with good ideas and practice. Some of these members such as Mel Hamada and Alison Pearce have provided a constant source of information, guidance and constructive criticism. They have also allowed their own work to be evaluated by our community and I am sure this has helped in their own development.
I do know that this year I will be reflecting on what I have learned and make subtle changes to the curriculum we have already established. I am really looking forward to this year especially in my role as Head of Department which already has had many challenges.
I aim to continue my development as an educator and hope to share many more resources, ideas and experiences with the growing social media physical educators out there. I will also be looking forward to attending the IB Workshop Leader course in Hong Kong in October and presenting at the APPEC conference in Hong Kong again in November.
As we come to the last couple of weeks of our summer holiday I always feel as if I should be getting fit again after not doing too much in the way of activity.
Last year, during the month of July, we started a fitness program as a family which I called '10'. This meant picking ten exercises without weights and doing ten repetitions of each. We would then add one repetition for each day. We carried this out every day for the whole month.
During the month we did decide that we wanted to adjust some of the activities as we were getting a bit bored. This helped keep up the interest and motivation. Having all four of us participate in this daily morning activity worked really well as we encouraged each other to finish what we had started.
This year we have found it hard to start anything. I think my biggest problem is motivation and trying to find something new. As the PE teacher in the family, I am looked upon to find the ideas but sometimes I just want to switch off from organising activities.
I have instead encouraged us to go out for walks, go swimming and take some classes. We went rock climbing the other day for a couple of hours. My son will take part in some football sessions with Plymouth Argyle and my daughter will take part in some gymnastic and trampolining sessions at the local sports centre.
As my parents have recently retired and are not very actively minded, I have taken it upon myself to take them out and get them moving. They have actually responded positively to this and are thinking about what they should be doing in the summer before the cold sets in.
One activity I am going to encourage when I get back to school is for students to participate in the @100ActiveDays and the @burp_it_on initiatives
I think at the end of the day, everyone has different needs and wants when thinking of fitness and summer fitness. What do you want to achieve over the summer? How would you plan a program for yourself? Do you have something to plan for or do you just want to use the time to improve fitness?
I have recently finished a unit on 'Participation in Recreation'. The task was for the students to choose a country, then a recreational activity that is fairly popular in that country. They had to research that recreation and discuss any factors that influenced participation. It sounds daunting but we did have a few lessons discussing these factors.
In Physical and Health Education in our school we are trying to cover social, psychological, emotional and physical factors which affect health. So in sixth grade I decided I wanted to focus on participation in recreation. I thought this would be a good area to look as I wanted the kids to understand how important leisure and recreation time was.
We first started by discussing what Leisure was and how it has changed over time. We discussed what leisure time my students have and what they did in this time. We then called that activity 'Recreation'. We also found that many of my students did not have much recreational time as they used their 'free' time to attend Hagwons (Academies) or study with tutors.
I thought is was important that students had an understanding of what recreation was and as we are an international school, what recreation around he world is. So we discussed factors and influences of participation in recreation such as political influences, financial influences, peer pressure, etc.
One thing I wanted, was for the students to choose individual countries. Some did find this hard as we went along through the classes as there were less counties to choose. It was then up to the students to do the research during class time and at home on a recreational activity of their choice in that country. They would research a little about what the activity involved and then any factors and influences which affected the activity within that country.
Some of the students struggled with this as they either were not used to doing research and having this amount of freedom, or they did not follow directions, or did not seek help when they needed it. Some students flourished with this activity and came up with some very good presentations.
My aim was to assess them through Criterion A - Knowing and Understanding but I wanted to assess their verbal presentation and not the content on their powerpoint. I decided I would sit their and write notes whilst they presented, which helped so much as with previous criterion A assessments the amount time was spent marking afterwards was ridiculous. The students then had a quick question and answer session to draw out more information from them. Other students in the class would ask them questions based on what was expected from the presentation. I found this part particularly valuable to not only the student presenting but the students asking questions. They then knew when it was their turn, what was coming up.
One thing I did find was that the presentations took far longer than I had anticipated. I had a time limit for each person, but sometimes we just got into it too much. There are some things I would change with this next year but allowing the students to have the freedom to research and present in their own way was refreshing.
How have you assessed knowledge in physical education? Do you always do written assessments? How much time does it take you to mark?
When I started on this journey of blogging, joining twitter and creating my Facebook group I didn't realize how much I would get out of it. The sharing has really revolutionized my teaching. It has blown a breath of fresh air into how I approach my classes. I have been so lucky to have connected with some great people and hope to meet many more.
We all need a bit of help sometimes and it is always good to look outside and find other people's perspectives. Your colleagues you have in your school might be great to work with but to find a multitude of colleagues to work with across the world is so valuable.
The discussions I have had have made me think. The resources I have been able to access have made me share more of my own. I want to continue building the community I have now and become part of a greater community we have out there. So I encourage you as educators to share and communicate with others. I know it can be time consuming and extra work but it can also be very rewarding.
It can be hard to troll through Facebook or Twitter feeds. Valuable information or resources may get lost. So I have decided to go through as much as I can and save these on my website, so they can be found easily. Below is a link to my website.
I have a specific page dedicated to other physical educators websites and blog sites. These are people whom have helped me either via Twitter or Facebook. They continue to help me and others by sharing their thoughts, ideas and resources. I believe it is important for the growth of our subject, whether you teach in the IB curriculum or not, to grow and learn as an educator. The on-line community is a great way of doing this.
Below is a link to the specific page where I have shared other people's websites and blogs.
Please feel free to use them and share your own ideas so we can grow as a community.
I recently finished a creative movement unit with martial arts at the core of the unit. The key concept was 'creativity' and the related concepts were 'refinement' and 'perspectives'. My previous blog was about what was going to happen in the unit, what I did before and how I was going to change the unit for my current school.
Here are a few examples of sequences produced by students in my classes:
Below is an example of a student's Martial Arts Sequence Plan, Criterion B. Please click on the image below to have a look at the example.
During the first three double lessons following the skills based lessons, students started planning their sequences on the sheet pictured above (Click on the pictures above). They used the skills they learned to build their sequences for the remaining lessons. Click below to view the task specific clarification for criterion C.
I then had the opportunity to work with individual groups/pairs on their sequences. We used 'Coaches Eye' to analyze the sequences. Students gave feedback to each group at the end of the fifth lesson after groups performed a practice video. Their final performance was filmed in the sixth lesson. Each lesson was ninety minutes long.
I feel the students found this part of the 'creative movement' unit rewarding. The first part of creative movement was gymnastics which a lot of the students struggled with due to their lack of experience and skill level but with martial arts some of the movement were more familiar and a little bit more exciting for them.
I have been studying Martial Arts nearly all my life. Whether it was Judo at an early age or Karate and Taekwondo later on in life. I practice it and teach it. It is part of who I am, and I hope both my children will take it into their lives too. My wife studied Karate with me for two years, and my son took Taekwondo for two years.
It is not only learning the moves, or how to defend yourself, but also about the discipline that it brings into your life that changes you. Attending a class on a weekly basis and committing to a certain way of life so you can physically keep up with the training are essential aspects of this way of life. If you can discipline the mind in this way, hopefully, you can bring this into other aspects of your life that need it.
Our training is not exclusive to learning punches, kicks, blocks, and other moves in a training setting. You also learn how to use these in real life situations. In Taekwondo and Karate, you also have to learn forms, such as Kata and Poomsae. They are sequences of movements put together from the basic moves you learn. I will discuss this more a little later in the blog. Most good clubs will concentrate on fitness, flexibility, strength training, agility, speed, power and could also throw in some yoga and Pilates.
Although gaining new belts are an incentive and show experience, they are not the be all and end all of the martial arts. They should be respected for what they are and the context in which they were gained. I worked hard for my Brown belt in Karate and my Red belt in Taekwondo. I will continue training with Taekwondo and hope to attain my Black belt later in this year, but will take my time and do it correctly. Many clubs rush people through too quickly, proving nothing.
The last karate club I studied at was in Twickenham, England under Sensei Carol David. He was a great sensei and inspirational leader. I studied hard and trained harder. I took this experience to a school that I taught in and developed units of work as described below. In Switzerland, I took up Taekwondo and worked even harder, learning from two very experienced brothers. The way they approached martial arts was the right way, and they brought their practice into the school I taught in as an extra club to theirs and exhibitions during international days. I also used my experience of Taekwondo further to develop the units of work I taught in my school.
In these schools, I have taught martial arts as a mini-unit focussing on core competencies or self-defense moves. I have also taught it within creative movement. In MYP before next chapter, criterion B was centered on assessing Movement Composition. In my previous two schools, we taught a range of units so we could assess Movement Composition such as Dance, Gymnastics, and Martial Arts. In Beijing, I decided to combine Martial arts with Dance to those I taught in the higher grades of MYP. This was our Movement Composition.
I developed this, over the four years I was there, as a unit and eventually brought it into the curriculum in Basel a couple of years ago. There, I taught it to all grade 9 students. Many students looked forward to it, and many were interested in how it would work. Luckily, I had previous videos of my students in Bejing to show examples.
Both examples below were assessed through Criterion B 'Movement Composition' and Criterion C 'Performance Application.’
I brought my ideas to two ECIS PE conferences, one in Belgium and the other in Tunisia in 2012. For these presentations I decided at the time to create a website to share my ideas, which you can access below.
I will now be assessing the unit through Criterion B 'Planning for Performance' and Criterion C 'Applying and Performing'. I currently only teach grade 6, so will not necessarily be looking for them to include dance moves in their final performance. I will see how it goes. My original idea here in Korea was to get the students to try to add gymnastics moves to their martial arts performance. Gymnastics was the first part of our Creative Movement Unit. I am not sure this will work now but will leave this open to the students.
Below are a couple of images from my recent classes.
I will then video their final performance and assess this through criterion C. They then have to explain the effectiveness of their plan after they have watched their video. I am still working on the rubrics/task-specific clarifications/descriptors. I aim to adjust them from what I used before to make them more applicable to the students I am working with and the unit I am now running.
I will do a post-blog on my unit with more pictures and updated videos of my current students as well as how I assessed them and how the group performed.
Students go to their normal school during the day, then usually go straight to a hagwon to learn more because, apparently, their regular school is not doing enough. There are also many international schools in Korea that have to deal with this issue. It might lead teachers to think that parents do not trust the schools they send their students to?
Many international schools follow a concept driven curriculum:
"The world is changing. Knowledge is changing. The ability to view the world with a more flexible mind is invaluable. Concept based learning is about transferable ideas that transcend time, place and situation. Content just focuses on facts while concepts focus on making sense of those facts and the world around us. Content based teaching may not be beyond information transmission/superficial learning. Concepts are a way to organize and make sense of learning. We can't possibly teach everything that is important, but we can teach the big ideas. Concept based learning is a framework to teach everything. Information is useless unless you can do something with it." Lynn Erikson.
In Korea there is a very strong culture of ranking, this manifest itself in the workplace but also in schools. Parents are constantly looking for ways for their children to be the best in the class. Therefore, if you send your child to a hagwon, they will become the best at what they are doing in school.
In a concept driven the curriculum is taught through concepts. In a Hagwon, they teach content. As hagwons are nick named 'cram' schools, students are expected to learn as much as they can in the hours they spend in the classrooms. This is usually done through using and following textbooks. Learning is often driven by tests and exams. I am not sure how hagwons can help students, especially those using the international baccalaureate which are concept driven curriculums.
All IB schools have standards in each subject, which are set for each grade level. When setting assignments or summative tasks, we use criterion based descriptors to assess students. Therefore, a grade 6 student would know what is expected of them from reading the task objectives and the task specific descriptors. The standards are there as a benchmark and guide. When planning your scope and sequence vertically in the curriculum, the standards would alter accordingly as the grade levels went up as would the descriptors.
Students going to a hagwon and being pushed to do more, will reach standards way past their grade level. This could make teachers need to review their standards. Does that mean that schools have to set their standards on what the hagwon schools are setting?
Concept driven and inquiry based education should be about giving students an opportunity to learn through unfamiliar situations. Solving real life problems rather than rote learning. Will parents start to put pressure on teachers because they are not doing enough in school? Will teachers feel they need to move away from the concept driven curriculum to the content driven curriculum because of this pressure?
Mathematics is the main subject being affected by the hagwon schools. Many korean students go to math hagwons and excel in understanding content but find it harder to understand when put in a different context. Word problems, discussion and maybe different methodologies could put students off if they have been taught in a particular way and are used to memorizing rather than thinking.
I am currently doing a health unit on leisure, recreation and participation in activities after school. I am not sure students actually have enough leisure time and participate in recreational activities. I will be conducting a survey to find out about this with them. We have already discussed the idea of what these mean and why they are important. Some students participate in outside school activities, but how often?
I know the Korean government have put some things in place to restrict the opening hours of hagwons and are also trying to promote a more international approach in their educational system. We have had many visitors come to our school to get inspired by what we are doing.
Ever since I began teaching, I have always been concerned with people's perspectives on the difference between teaching and coaching within physical education. I believe there is a difference between these approaches to educating and each have a place within the world of schools.
I am a teacher first and foremost but also enjoy coaching after school sports. I feel it is important to have a good after school program which supports the teaching in school. It is just as important that the fundamentals of sports are taught within a physical education program, but physical education is not sport!
I have been teaching physical education for the past nineteen years. I have also been coaching just as long but I make sure there is a clear divide between them both. As a teacher I am a facilitator and educate students to become well rounded individuals. I teach MYP physical and health education and teach a concept based education which is student centered and standards based. Students will often guide their learning and will be heavily involved in reflecting and building upon their learning experiences.
Over the years I have coached soccer, volleyball, track and field and basketball. These are sports with teams where we focus on developing the students within a team and the end game is usually a tournament with a team trophy. The students who participate in these teams are focused on that particular sport, usually have some experience and will often play for outside school clubs or organizations linked to that sport.
As a physical education teacher, you have to be well rounded and have experience in all aspects related to physical education. Our curriculums should be balanced and varied offering students the opportunity to experience many aspects of our subject. Over the five years of our program at my current school, we have developed a scope and sequence that we believe allows this to happen. There are many aspect which we will touch upon but not necessarily repeat every year.
As a coach you are usually specialized in a particular sport and spend many years coaching just that sport. I have coached soccer and volleyball for many years. Soccer, or football, is my main sport. Although I am no expert as a player, I enjoy playing as well as coaching, following Tottenham Hotspurs and playing with my son. It is one of my passions. I am currently coaching the junior varsity boys at our school. The junior varsity teams are new to our school and I am proud to be part of developing the program. I also coached the junior varsity boys volleyball team during our first season.
I love coaching and always look forward to it at the end of a busy day in school. It makes my day worth it, when students show as much passion as I do for the sport I coach. Just as much as it makes me feel great when my team achieves something special, I have that feeling as a physical educator in the classroom.
Every day I am looking to make the experience in class special and memorable for the students I teach. I look for experiences students will remember and take something from and have an opportunity to achieve. The difference between physical education and coaching for students is that in many schools the curriculum is so varied it allows every student an opportunity to excel.
There are many students who do not like physical education because they may not like the physical challenges involved in many of the practical classes. Over the years, I have found that the main area that students seem to dislike are the challenges of team sports. They may enjoy the skills involved and some of the drills or practices but sometimes when you put certain students in pressure game situations, they crack. They can not always put things together. They do not always have that experience other students have who play outside of school do.
This is why is is so important to allow students in physical education an opportunity to experience many different aspects of our subject as they can. Health education can be an important part of physical education. We have a varied health education program which is built into our scope and sequence. We teach anatomy through a 'How we move' unit linked to net games. We teach training principles through a 'How we train' unit linked to invasion games. We have tried to include sports psychology, sociology, bio-mechanics, nutrition, drug awareness, fitness and many others. Many of these aspects of our curriculum are assessed through criterion A (Knowing and Understanding). This allows the students an opportunity to not only show us what they know through practical means but also through written or other means. It's an opportunity for non 'sporty' students to show us what they can do in our subject. We also assess their knowledge of the practical aspects where necessary.
I believe there are opportunities for students at schools to participate in physical education and have a chance at doing well in the subject. I believe teachers should be teachers or facilitators in physical education and not coaches whilst in school time. There is an opportunity for students to specialize after school in a 'sport' and there should be many opportunities for students to learn and excel in 'physical education' during the day.
What do you think?
I have now been teaching Creative Movement at Chadwick in the last week. This is a new unit that I am trying out. 6 weeks of creative movement with gymnastics and martial arts as the core activities. I have decided to start with gymnastics as I feel I can establish some key movements and concepts with the students first.
My plan is to have the same concepts running through the whole unit. I have decided to use Creativity as the key concept (not really allocated to PHE, but I am doing it anyway) and Refinement and Perspectives as the related concepts. Creativity is key as the students will be creating a sequence in gymnastics and a kata/poomsae in martial arts. They will be refining these as they go along and will be listening to others perspectives in their groups.
Each class had an opportunity at the beginning of the unit to establish the links of these concepts to the unit by understanding how they would fit in. The students split into twos or threes and discussed the concepts by drawing mind maps.
I would like it if the students thought of ways to include gymnastics in the martial arts kata/poomsae somehow. I once watched a film call 'Gymkata' where a gymnast combined gymnastics and karate to form a new martial art. I am not sure if this form of martial art took off but I do know that many martial artist in the modern era try to combine skills from various practices.
In my Taekwondo school in Switzerland, we would add self-defence from other forms, yoga and pilates at the end of the class, and often bring in aspects of karate as I had practiced that martial art (Seki Juku) for many years. I would like to see how creative my students during this unit with that outlook.
It is going to be interesting and creative!
I have been writing for nearly five years on and off in the world of twitter, facebook groups, blogging and sharing ideas thoughts with the wider physical education world.