Lesson in Leadership #2 – Sir Graham Henry: Coaching and mentoring

Some might be wondering what Sir Graham Henry could possibly have to offer a room full of Educational leaders, and I do believe there were some in the room who could not get past his ‘All Blacks Coach’ identity.  However for me, beyond the fact that I happen to enjoy watching the All Blacks and think that leadership is leadership and there are lessons to be learned regardless of the context, Sir Graham connected with me because he is a graduate of the University of Otago School of Physical Education (me too), he started his career as a Physical Education teacher (me too) and went on to become a Secondary School Principal (not me… yet?).

Sir Graham set the scene by comparing the school environment to the AB’s environment; that a school Principal might be seen as the coach, that their SLT/middle leadership team were akin to the ABs leadership group, that teachers equate to the team/players, and that our students, or confident, connected, actively involved life-long learners, are the result we want to see.

Sir Graham talked about the importance of having a clear purpose; ‘what are we here for?’  This needs to be set by the leadership team, and everyone needs to be on the same page.  For the AB’s this was ‘GOAT’ – Greatest of All Time.  Initially this was confined to being the greatest rugby team of all time, but soon they aspired to being the greatest sporting team of all time.  Aspiration for a school is hugely important. But how often is time given to school leaders and school communities to really consider their aspiration, agree on it, plan for it, and then live the aspiration; constantly messaging to the school community that this is what we aspire to and celebrate the achievements made.

The set of behaviours to achieve the aspiration comes down to culture, and these are the behaviours that the ABs live by:

  • Humility – “Better never stops”, always striving for self-improvement
  • Respect – for the past, for the guy standing next to you, for what you can contribute to the legacy
  • Solution focused mentality – no excuses, no blaming -> find a solution.
  • Process driven and player driven.
  • Integration – team of players who integrate new players into the team. (Do we do this well enough in schools?  Or do we only do this for our BT’s? How do we mentor new teachers to a school?  How do we integrate new staff into the culture of the school, not just the administration?)
  • Talk about the elephant in the room – what is holding us back?  In 2004 this was a question presented to the ABs – the reply was that they love being an All Black and feel privileged to wear the black jersey, BUT they didn’t like the culture and expectations around drinking and court sessions.  How might teachers respond to this question? ‘I love being a teacher and working with young people but…’  I don’t feel valued?  I don’t have any opportunities to be innovative, to lead, to take risks?  I’m exhausted?  How do we effect change in a school with a negative culture that impacts on staff and students?  How might school leaders recognise when the culture has turned negative?
  • Disagree and commit – in a leadership group there is not always going to be unanimous agreement, but those in the minority need to respect the group decision and commit to it.

 

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, says Sir Graham.  But that is not to say that strategy is not important.  And one of the most important strategies is to connect with each other – within the ABs and then across the Super Rugby Teams.  Connections across the Super Rugby franchises, despite the fact they compete against each other, was important to ensure the best outcomes for the ABs.  This made me think about ‘Educational Outcomes for ALL New Zealanders’ being the equivalent of ABs success and therefore the importance of connecting across schools in communities and NZ to ensure every student in that community had access to the best possible educational opportunities.  This is happening in some Communities of Learning (CoL’s) and clusters of schools throughout NZ.  But there is also still a high level of competitiveness amongst schools, and lack of collaboration still across primary and secondary, that is a barrier to true connection.

Across the schools I am working in I have seen a huge variance in ‘within school’ connectedness.  In some schools teachers have little to no idea what is happening beyond their hub, syndicate or department, and recently I have seen this lead to massive tension when one syndicate was seen to be trying something new, and others felt it had not been communicated to them and that it potentially had a big impact on them and their (future) learners.  In another school I see the other end of the spectrum, where they start their staff meetings in a new hub each time, and they walk through each learning space in that hub and each teacher talks about something they and their learners are doing/trying, what’s working and what’s not.  Every teacher in that school is connected to the learning that is taking place across the school, and that has to have a massive positive impact on the culture of the school and the outcomes for the school community.

 

Further strategies:

  • Individual self improvement “Better never stops” – keep it simple; keep doing, stop doing, start doing. If not doing that, how do you get better?
  • Exercise everyday -> feel good! It was so refreshing and encouraging to hear Sir Graham advocate for physical activity and state that ‘the connection between mental wellbeing and physical activity is massive’.  He also made the link between physical activity, wellbeing, and resilience, and is a huge advocate for Physical Education.
  • Identify the critical few ‘rocks’ that will have the biggest impact – Don’t get distracted by the sideshows.
  • Mentors (a problem shared is a problem halved) – Sir Graham Henry’s mentor was Sir John Graham, for whom leadership is about developing others, growing future leaders, and giving people opportunities to excel.
  • Mental skills to handle the unexpected.

 

The All Blacks have several layers of leadership, and they have found that the more leadership (leaders), the greater the ownership and the better they played.  This is a real challenge to education to consider how this might play out in schools – in what ways might we spread the leadership capacity to ensure that our schools are absolutely humming?  Success in one area lifts success in other areas and lifts people’s self-esteem – give people (students and staff) an opportunity to be good at something; whether it be music, art, culture, sport etc.

To finish the session there was a challenge to Principals to be the role model for their school – be the best you can be.  

My favourite take away from this session – “Better never stops”

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Lesson in Leadership #1 – Dr Bronwyn Sweeney: Well-being

Last week I attended a Leadership Symposium hosted by WRPPA.  It was a day of being inspired by three very amazing leaders.  And so in writing my reflections of these presentations, I have called them ‘Lessons in Leadership’.

The second session of the day, but the first I am going to write about, was by Dr Bronwyn Sweeney, ‘clinical psychologist with an enduring interest in the things that contribute to keeping us well’.  This was a lesson in leadership: well-being.

Bronwyn began by defining leadership and defining well-being.  She talked about leadership being relational; people working together for a common goal.  And she went on to say that people need to take personal leadership of self before being able to lead others.  This resonated with me, as a few years ago, when I was reflecting on the leadership principles of Tu Rangatira, I was challenged by a statement under the role of He Kaitiaki – guardian…

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At the time I was leading a department and encouraging others to look after their well-being without really modelling that by looking after my own well-being.

Bronwyn used this definition for well-being:

“This is a dynamic state, in which the individual is able to develop their potential, work productively and creatively, build strong and positive relationships with others, and contribute to their community. It is enhanced when an individual is able to fulfil their personal and social goals and achieve a sense of purpose in society.” Foresight Review (2008) NEF (defn. of ‘mental well-being’)

She talked about ‘Well-being is a skill.’ (Prof Richie Davidson)  and therefore is something we need to practise.

She introduced two models of well-being which she then used as a framework for the rest of her presentation – the first was one I was very familiar with, that being Te Whare Tapa Wha (Dr Mason Durie), and the second was The Healthy Mind Platter (Dr Dan Siegal) which I had not come across before.

 

The remainder of the presentation was looking at each of the dimensions of well-being, and thinking about strategies to enhance each dimension.  I have included in italics the definition of each dimension of Hauora that is used in the Health and Physical Education curriculum.

Taha wairua – Spiritual well-being

the values and beliefs that determine the way people live, the search for meaning and purpose in life, and personal identity and self-awareness (For some individuals and communities, spiritual well- being is linked to a particular religion; for others, it is not.)

Strategies:

  • Connect with nature
  • “Time in” – When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, we help to better integrate the brain.
  • Mindfulness

 

Taha whanau – Social well-being

family relationships, friendships, and other interpersonal relationships; feelings of belonging, compassion, and caring; and social support

Bronwyn also talked about the strength and healing power of relationship -> beneficial effects on heart, endocrine and immune system, physical and mental health; that social interactions increase oxytocin -> reduce anxiety

Strategies:

  • “Connecting time” – When we connect with other people, ideally in person, and when we take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us, we activate and reinforce the brain’s relational circuitry.
  • Gratitude and gratefulness
  • Generosity – contribute
  • Compassion – important distinction between empathy and compassion to avoid teacher burnout.

Taha hinengaro – Mental and emotional well-being

coherent thinking processes, acknowledging and expressing thoughts and feelings and responding constructively

Mind and body are interconnected

Strategies:

  • “Down time” – When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge.
  • “Focus time” – When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, we take on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
  • “Play time” – When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, we help make new connections in the brain.
  • “Time in”
  • Mental Health Awareness – Like Minds, MHF, Beyond Blue  (MHF have some good resources to support Mental Health conversations in the workplace)
  • Work related immersion vs detachment – importance of detaching while at home. Recovery approached to support this include:
  • Low effort: couch potato
  • Relaxation: meditation
  • Physical: restore emotionally, physically, mentally
  • Being social
  • Creative: eg. scrapbook
  • Household tasks

 

Taha tinana – Physical well-being

the physical body, its growth, development, and ability to move, and ways of caring for it

Physical body and physical environment

Three pillars – diet (nutrition/nourishment), rest (restoration), exercise (physical activity)

Nutrition:

  • Influences mood – high processed diet -> increased depression and anxiety; low processed diet -> increased wellbeing
  • Time of eating is important – consume calories during the day when we are awake and active; eating late leads to increased weight gain.

Restoration:

Sleep deprivation linked to poor leadership / decision making.

What helps sleep?

  • Value sleep (don’t trade on it)
  • Mindfulness
  • Acceptance – willingness ( go with the flow, don’t force it)
  • Prioritise sleep
  • Consistent wake time
  • Mind the social jet lag
  • Nap
  • Technology black out
  • exercise/activity

Throughout the day it was a breath of fresh air to hear all three speakers advocate for physical activity, and highlight its link to positive well-being and achievement and success.

Additional resources:

Education.govt.nz – Wellbeing for staff
Five ways to Wellbeing

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Connected Curriculum

I first saw the term ‘Connected Curriculum’ on twitter – it was posted by a Christchurch educator and I apologise that I cannot recall who it was to give them credit.  It immediately ‘connected’ with me and I have been a fan of it ever since, and use it as much as possible.  One of the reasons I like it is because it gets away from the many different theories of integrated curriculum, or cross-curricular teaching and learning, and gets down to the real essence of what we are trying to achieve.

Deborah Fraser (2013) refers to curriculum integration as “a design that supports the need for learners to be actively involved in their learning, through being part of the decision-making process.”  And where “subjects are viewed as interconnected rather than isolated from one another”.  Fraser makes it quite clear that curriculum integration is not the teaching of thematic units.

This is in contrast to Fogarty (1991) who identifies 10 levels of curriculum integration – one of which is ‘Webbed’ or “thematic teaching, using a theme as a base for instruction in many disciplines”.  These different levels are what I believe are most commonly seen in NZ schools, and represent the different understandings people have of integrated curriculum.

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One area where Fraser and Fogarty are similar is the connections they make between learning areas.  And this is in echoed in The New Zealand Curriculum (2007).  We have an amazing curriculum document that was written in the 21st Century with 21st Century learning in mind.  And at the heart of this document we can find several statements about the importance of a ‘Connected Curriculum’.  The true intent of our curriculum document is not for learning area’s to be operating in silos, or being taught in isolation, but for connections to be made.

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It has been a critical part of the work of the Sport in Education project to develop cross-curricular approaches in teaching and learning, and assessment.  There are examples throughout the country of Health and Physical Education departments in secondary schools leading the way with regard to collaborating with other learning areas, and in developing integrated assessment practices to reduce the assessment overload and improve wellbeing for our young people.

This year the SIE leadership team have worked on developing a framework to support schools and teachers in planning for a connected curriculum.  This framework has supported schools to move beyond planning around a common context, to exploring more deeply the rich concepts that they are wanting to connect to, and then how authentic connections can be made between learning areas to strengthen and enhance the learning across these learning areas.

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One example of this is when earlier in the year I had been asked by a school to support their teachers in planning an integrated unit around the US Tennis Open.  In this case, what they essentially wanted to do was have a common theme – the US Tennis Open – and each learning area create some learning experiences using this theme.  The first sticking point came from the mathematics teacher who was struggling for inspiration around how they might connect maths and tennis.  So I dug a little bit deeper with the group and asked them ‘why the US Tennis Open?’, what is the interest or relevance to your students?  This was when it emerged that the girls (single sex school) were very interested in gender equality and the US Tennis Open provided an example of where there can be gender equality in sport, as the prize winnings are the same for male and female athletes.  This helped the teachers to then move from the idea of a common context to plan around – the US Tennis Open, to a common concept – Equality.  Suddenly there was no sticking point at all for the maths teacher because equality totally made sense – they could link it to equations and inequations –  what does it mean to be equal or be treated equally?

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At our recent Sport in Education workshop for schools in the Taranaki and Whanganui region, we were based at the spectacular Dawson Falls on Mt Taranaki.  

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This was quite strategic as we wanted the participants to work through the planning process (or as much as we had time for) thinking not just about the context of Dawson Falls, but what concepts or rich ideas we could draw from this.  After a walk down to the falls to really experience where we were and what we talking about, we spent some time in groups working through the planning framework.  Starting off in random groups of three, they brainstormed some rich ideas.  The challenge at this point is to think big picture and not be restricted by only coming from your own learning area.

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Sustainability – looking after what we have for future generations (land, resources, history, culture, ourselves, family, beliefs).  Is it possible?

Environmental Tourism – Eco, enviro, cultural, ethical, points of view on use of NZ’s natural resources -> who should benefit/pay etc. Cultural norms.  

Resilience/power – Dawson Falls as a symbol of resilience, power, shaping of their path, ups and downs etc.  Centre/focus for civilisation/ link between people and environment (home, school, etc)

Environment – Water quality; Access to natural resources; Keeping areas natural

Economics – limited tourism numbers, who pays for what?, foreign investment

Politics – iwi involvement, community involvement

EOTC – Health and wellbeing

Relevance of outdoors and environment – our kids care about where they live and how the environment is treated

Engagement – the world they live in, the environment is directly affected by them, their families and peers.

Curious questions:

How can I affect the environment in a positive way?

How can we look after this taonga?

How do I want to be remembered?

How can we strike the right balance between environmental responsibility and economic development?

Connecting environment (clean green), culture (maunga, tikanga) and history (Taranaki)

Taking students on a tramp provides a real life context and gives them some experiences to draw upon (outdoor experience)

 

Following this brainstorm groups shared back, and then participants moved into curriculum area groups – the learning areas represented were Health and Physical Education, English, Mathematics and Statistics, and Social Science.  The challenge at this point is to NOT mention or think about assessment at all.

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Physical Education:

Tramp – practical experiences; doing.

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Outside Provider (TOPEC)

Resilience – risk, goal setting

Citizenship – contribution to society

 

Mathematics:

Environment – tracks and landscape:

Measurement – DoC tracks / lifts / re roofing huts -> similar triangles, volume of hut for people

Trigonometry/pythagorus – altitude readings to then use for height

Bearings – GPS

Networks – length of tracks minimum and maximum; plan a trip that connects all huts

Economics – costs of huts / re roofing, sheets of iron -> what type of material vs its cost eg. how much to lift in.

 

Social Science:

Taranaki history – fighting, use of mountain, shaping of boundaries, mythology

National Parks history – purpose, formation, use/ownership/tourism

Whose mountain to use? Who pays/benefits etc? Awareness.  -> 1080, gondola, tourism, cafes etc

Responsible use – safety, sustainability, cultural

Skills – perspectives (versions of history), empathy, mapping/compass/grid references/cross section, research skills

 

English:

Sustainability – economics – tourism; cultural aspects – iwi, taonga; conservation; eco system – politics, technology; history and beyond

Cultural – interview of marae or local iwi; poetry – writing or analysis; history of local iwi or pre European poster; interview of historical character

Conservation – pro’s and con’s of 1080; brochure of environmental impact of people in region; DoC significance and role (funding, impact, staffing) – recruitment ad for DoC

Students choose an idea/area that interests them the most: skills will be taught in a broad sense and then students pick assessment in relation to choice.

 

Some groups then moved on to the next stage, thinking about assessment opportunities.  We ran out of time to come together to think about integrated assessment opportunities, but you can see from the brainstorms where there would be some clear and authentic links between the learning areas.

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Physical Education:

Social Responsibility – self management, society impacts (1.4)

Leadership – running an event (1.8)

Safety management (1.7)

Interpersonal Skills (1.5)

Active participation (1.1) -> access -> knowledge

 

English:

Assessment options:

Creative

Formal – newspaper, persuasive etc

Presentation (speech)

Poster, brochure

Short film, ad

Assessment:  Questions all come back to sustainability – specific assessment task linked to each of the 5 areas.

Eco -> C = Day in the life of a tourist; F = itinerary; A = TV ad for region pitch or brochure; F = benefits of/ pro’s con’s of environmental tourism

 

The next step in the planning framework that we also didn’t have time for is this…

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Some might argue that perhaps this should be at the start with the rich ideas, and often these things do come out in that brainstorm.  But having this at the end, I think, serves as a nice reminder of possibilities we might not have considered.

 

I hope perhaps that this blog has given you some food for thought.

Ngā mihi nui.

 

Past, Present & Future

Physical Education, Health Education & Education Outdoors National Conference, 2017

Papamoa College, Papamoa, Bay of Plenty

 

Hapaitia te ara tika pūmau ai te rangatiratanga mō ngā uri whakatipu

Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations

 

The NZ Curriculum (2007) and the Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (2008) highlight the vision for our students to be connected, confident, actively involved and lifelong learners.  The conference provides the opportunity for educators to share their practice and celebrate and enhance this shared vision.

The 2017 conference theme “Past, Present and Future” allows us to learn from the past, remembering inspirational educators such as Bob Stothart, celebrate our current position and challenge our future direction.  Across the conference programme, workshops on a wide range of topics and themes provide the opportunity for us to learn from each other, which widens our views on HPE and the world around us; and refines our teaching practice so we can do the very best by our learners.

 – Rachael Dixon and Vicki Nicolson (NZHEA), Margot Bowes (PENZ), Libby Paterson and Fiona McDonald (EONZ)

 

These are my reflections on what has been another outstanding conference.  I can only speak for the workshops that I attended – there were many, many more that I would have loved to attend.  Many thanks to all those who attended and especially to those who presented either keynotes or workshops.

The conference ‘meet and greet’ on a Sunday night is always a fantastic opportunity to connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues from near and far.  Looking for a way to describe the  HPE community in NZ, I straight away thought of whanaungatanga – “relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.”  The evening was a joyous occasion of hugs and kisses as people caught up with people they hadn’t seen perhaps since last conference, or even the one before that; people who had only previously ‘met’ on twitter, now finally were able to meet kanohi ki te kanohi; and introductions to new people to the HPE community were made including the new PENZ CEO Richard van der Jagt.  

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Day tahi of conference began with a pōhiri, as is the custom in Aotearoa.  Delegates were ably guided through this process by Nichola McCall, PENZ Board member.  The Papamoa College Kapa Haka group did an outstanding job welcoming the manuhiri to their kura.  Delegates were well represented by Wally Rifle, Kings College, who performed the whaikōrero on behalf of the manuhiri.  Following this process of joining together, we all gathered for some kai.

 

The welcome from Papamoa College Principal Steve Lindsey encouraged us focus on students at the centre of learning – an important concept not to let go of during our time at conference and beyond.  To set the scene for conference and introduce the theme, we heard from three keynote speakers on Day tahi.  While introducing the speakers Susie Stevens urged us to ‘learn from the past to prepare for the future’.

 

Learning from our Past – Professor Ian Culpan, School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury

  • “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think”
  • The role of Humanism in HPE is about the development of people – we must never let this go: HPE is needed for Human Development, and our NZ HPE learning area is well regarded around the world
  • Does HPE exist to implement government agenda to ‘control’ the body?
  • Can Bodies and Human Nature be normalised? If so what is our role?
  • As Bob Stothart would say “Let’s be forever watchful” – “engage in political debate”

 

Celebrating our Current Position – Cameron Smith, Scots College, Wellington

  • Physical Education is about education, not physical outcomes
  • Are we celebrating or marginalising socio-critical thought in HPE?
  • Acknowledged the role of HPE departments and individuals and their contribution to the HPE community
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes

 

Challenging our Future Direction – Helen Tuhoro, Principal, Tarawera High School, Kawerau

  • Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • Authentic, local, engaging curriculum – curriculum fits the environment
  • We have to resist the urge to tell students what they ‘need to know’ – don’t give the kids the final product of our thinking.
  • Know your students, whānau and community – ako
  • Focus on the key competencies
  • E kore te tangata e pakiri i runga i te wai marino – A person who remains in calm waters will never get strong

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‘A Second date with the Salmon’.

It was a privilege to present on Day tahi with Susie Stevens.  This was an opportunity to revisit the 1999 HPE Curriculum document, and in particular to think about how we actively bring life to, and make meaning of, the Underlying Concepts in our teaching and learning programmes.  We also explored the Achievement Objectives in our learning area, and encouraged each other to think critically about how we know that our students are learning.  Another important document is the 2007 NZC, and it is important that we think and discuss with each other questions like ‘how does HPE contribute to the vision, values, and key competencies of the NZC?’ ‘What does Effective Pedagogy (p.34-35 NZC) look like in HPE?’  Thanks to those who attended this workshop, the kōrero was inspiring and the movement was joyful!

The PENZ AGM was an opportunity to celebrate the resilience of the HPE community, and to thank those who have worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure the survival of our subject association under extremely adverse circumstances.  Special thanks to PENZ President Margot Bowes, Board members Sue McBain, Nichola McCall, Kane Wilson, Natasha Powell, co-opted Board members Professor Ian Culpan, Professor Lisette Burrows, Associate Professor Alan Ovens, PENZ Patron Trevor Garrett.  Thanks also to our new CEO Richard van der Jagt, and new office manager Claire Waring for your extremely hard work in recent months.

It was a privilege to be nominated for the PENZ Board this year and to be successfully elected to the board along with Katie Spraggon, from Manurewa High School.  I am looking forward to the many exciting opportunities ahead.

 

Day rua keynote from Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner:

  • Shout out to Tauranga Boys College PE department for positive role they play in boys lives
  • What does diversity actually mean?  We have a responsibility to educate our students about the true meaning of multiculturalism.
  • Young people don’t see colour, we learn those behaviours from our environment; prejudices and intolerances grow from small seeds of hate.
  • Inclusion is about making people feel like they belong… more difficult to enact than to talk about.  You feel like you belong when you see yourself represented.
  • Give nothing to Racism.
  • Being a kiwi is about being connected with our land.
  • Building relationships… asking the questions.

 

Making Learning Visible for improved student outcomes for priority learners in HPE (Hobsonville Point Secondary School) – Jayne Dunbar, Elizabeth Samuel, Anne McKay, Kylie Thompson and Margot Bowes

  • The person doing the talking is the person doing the learning.  Need to make the shift from monologue to dialogue.
  • How do you know that students have understood the feedback that you give them?
  • How would you identify priority learners in HPE?  What data would you have?  Success in PE is very complex.
  • Story Hui is an awesome tool for thinking about our learners – what do we know about them?  Importance of whanaungatanga.
  • Cool idea to support learning – ‘draw’ notes (instead of writing notes) when listening to someone speaking.  Then compare with another person; this affirms your learning and also provides insight into different perspectives.
  • SOLO hexagons to support learning conversations.
  • Success criteria language – good, great, awesome.  Students want to know what they need to do to become awesome.

Visible learning

Practical applications of gamification in PE – Carl Condliffe, Rongotai College

After listening to Carl’s presentation at conference last year about gamification, this was a great opportunity to see some of the game mechanics in action.  I like the use of avatars in practical activities, and really like the use of narrative with the escape room task.

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PENZ Award winners:

  • Outstanding New Professional Award – Mallory Bish, King’s College and Georgia Dougherty, Tamaki College
  • Outstanding Physical Education Award – Te Puke High School HPE department
  • Te Iho-Takaro Ringawera Award – Professor Ian Culpan, Professor Lisette Burrows, Associate Professor Alan Ovens

 

NZHEA Award winners:

  • Emerging Leader award – Annie Macfarlane, Tamatea High School
  • Life member Award – Dr Jenny Robertson

 

Planning and valuing joy, play and intrinsic motivation for movement – Susie Stevens, University of Canterbury

Take off your shoes and socks, and go outside for 5 minutes … use your senses, what do you feel?  How do you want to move?

One of the key provocations for me during this workshop was the idea that perhaps we only see play, and joyful movement, as a reward, and not as an inherent part of planning for our teaching and learning programmes.  Do we only see our learners playing and being joyful in their movements when we give them a ‘free period’?  How can we be more mindful of the importance of the joy of movement and value it enough so that it is evident in our teaching and learning?

 

Day toru…

Community Consultation – what do you mean it’s required? – Vicki Nicolson, Principal, Port Chalmers Primary School

  • Think of the consultation process like the Spiral of Inquiry; scanning – what are we noticing? Etc
  • Some great questions for asking various groups in your school community – students, staff, whānau, community partners etc
  • What does our school do well in helping students maintain or improve well-being?
  • What could we do better?
  • Are you concerned about any part or aspects of Health Education being taught?

 

‘Challenging the Status Quo’

Another privilege to present with my colleague Ryan Clark, and shake up people’s thinking with regard to PE being about Physical Education or Public Embarrassment.  Fundamentally this will come down to how well we are enacting the Effective Pedagogy found on pages 34-35 of the NZC.  Sometimes there is a tendency to get caught up in some fairly traditional teaching practices, especially when it comes to athletics, cross-country, swimming, gymnastics etc.  It was fantastic to see people thinking and reimagining what learning might look like if we are to apply the effective pedagogies.  Many thanks to Debbie Wilson and her students at Fergusson Intermediate, Upper Hutt for allowing us to share your story and hear your voices.

 

Keynote, Mike King – Mental Health Educator, The Key to Life Charitable Trust:

  • His aim ‘to forever change the way people feel, think, talk and behave in relation to mental health’, ‘to reverse the population trends of depression and suicide by effecting positive social change.’
  • Talk to the young people and talk to the communities – bring them together.  The young people know the issues and they know what they need to solve them, they need to be given the opportunity to be heard, and to be part of the solution.
  • It is a crime that people in NZ have to ‘prove’ that they are feeling suicidal before they can access the support they need.
  • Teachers don’t worry about teaching, please just care, and have high expectations for all learners.

nautilis_medium

“Physician, writer, and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) saw the spiral shell of the nautilus as a symbol of intellectual and spiritual growth.  He suggested that people outgrew their protective shells and discarded them as they became no longer necessary:

‘One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.’

It is as a metaphor for growth that the nautilus is used as a symbol for the NZC.

 

My mind has certainly been stretched by the keynotes, workshops and conversations that I have engaged in at conference this year, and I am looking forward to how I might apply my new learnings in my context.  I look forward to sharing more with you, and hearing from how you too have had your mind stretched and what new ideas you are going to implement as a result.

 

Ngā mihi nui.

Good Takeaways

When we (the Wellington Play.sport team) are planning our PLD sessions with teachers we are always mindful of the concept of a good ‘takeaway’ – something that might be new to teachers that they haven’t seen before, or a reminder of a strategy or a tool that they haven’t used in a while.  Something that they can take away and use with their learners tomorrow, or next week, or in planning their next unit of learning.  These might be a digital tool, an active education strategy, a ‘theory’ activity, or a practical physical activity – or if we are lucky and have time all of the above!

A couple of weeks ago, we ran a day long workshop for our Play.sport schools.  We were stoked that all 16 of our schools, across primary, intermediate and secondary, sent at least two people to attend – all up we had 34 teachers, DP’s and Principals come along.

The objectives for the day were to explore the following:

  • What does a Physically Educated student look like?
  • What does visible learning look like in HPE?  How might I collect evidence of learning?
  • What might my practice look like?
  • What does this mean for my school?

Plus also have fun, and build and strengthen connections across the Upper Hutt Cluster.

On arrival to the venue we provided a large variety of sports equipment out on the turf and encouraged people to drop their bags inside and come out and PLAY.  They didn’t take much encouragement, as it was a beautiful February morning.  Play mostly consisted of throwing around a frisbee, and some backyard cricket.

After our karakia and waiata we introduced our key note speakers – two Year 13 PE students from Heretaunga College.  It is important for teachers to listen to and reflect on student voice, and later on in the day we also used a video of a collection of student voice from Year 1 students through to Year 13 students.  This served to remind us all why we are here – that we are trying to improve outcomes for our young people and to help us understand how to do this we need to hear from them.  The Year 13 students spoke about their experiences of PE across primary, intermediate and secondary; about what they valued, and about what they felt needed to be challenged.  They valued teachers who made learning in PE fun and encouraged everyone to participate.  They valued lunchtime and after school opportunities to be physically active, and also the opportunities these provided to build and strengthen student relationships and teacher-student relationships.  They felt that many of their experiences in primary PE were about “running around and letting off steam rather than learning skills… it was all about getting fresh air”.  One said that for her, primary school PE was either a game or fitness.  For both speakers their biggest challenge to teachers was to consider how they could structure PE to be more inclusive of all learners.  One spoke of her experience through Years 7/8 and having to undergo operations which limited her mobility; she asked that teachers think about how they can include kids who are injured rather than leaving them sitting on the sidelines.  The other said that as a ‘sporty kid’ she had never stopped to consider ‘how demoralising it must be for kids if half the class is bragging about winning and you are on the sideline feeling responsible for your teams loss’.  She said that games that were very fielding and batting based did exclude those less able or less interested, as it was very easy for them to just stand to the side and be overlooked.

Next up, as a bit of an ice breaker and a way to start unpacking the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, we introduced our first Active Education strategy.  This was a quiz and traditionally we might have got people in groups, then sat them together in their groups to answer the quiz ‘How well do you know your HPE curriculum?‘ (Thanks to Rochelle Keown for the quiz!)  Instead we sent them out with a map to find where each question was, and then at each station before they were given the question they had to complete a physical activity, literacy, numeracy or problem solving challenge.  (‘Minute to Win It‘ provide great ideas for physical activity challenges).

Next we pulled out the good old Y-chart.  Teachers were asked the question “What does a physically educated student look like (what do we expect them to be able to do), sound like (what language are they using), feel like?”  They completed this brainstorm in groups of 4 in their sector groups – primary, intermediate, secondary.  The feedback generated great discussion and was a valuable opportunity for teachers across the different age groups to hear from each other.  Does being successful in NCEA Level 1,2 and 3 Physical Education align with the messages we give our young people about their level of success in PE in Years 1-10?  Does what we have brainstormed align with what we are explicitly planning for and teaching in PE in Years 1-10?

At the end of this teachers were asked to consider the questions:

  • What does this mean for me and my teaching practice?
  • What small change might I make as a result of this mornings activities and discussions?

Following on from this we did the ‘HPE Curriculum Traffic Light Activity’.  Teachers were each given a copy of the HPE AO’s from Level 1-5 across the four strands.  They were asked to reflect on their own practice, in regard to the planning and delivery of PE and in doing so, highlight AO’s they were confident their students are learning and also areas which are not currently being targeted explicitly.  Green – very confident.  Orange – somewhat confident.  Red – not confident.  Once they had completed this they were asked to look again more critically at the AO’s they had highlighted green and ask themselves:

  • How do you know your students are learning the ‘green lights’?
  • What evidence do you have of student learning and achievement?

This was when the really rich discussion and ‘lightbulb’ moments happened.  Teachers noticed that for many of the AO’s that began with ‘participate’ or ‘experience’ or ‘develop’ they could highlight the first half of the AO green because they were providing the opportunities to do the ‘active’ bit, but the second half that might start with ‘describe’ or ‘identify’ or ‘discuss’ they could only highlight orange or even red because they were missing the ‘reflective’ bit.  They noticed that Strand B: Movement concepts and motor skills contained a lot more ‘greens’ than the other three strands.

From this we segued into choosing one AO – Positive Attitudes.

  • What might this look like at different levels of the curriculum?
  • How will we know if our kids are learning?  What evidence might we look for?

We modelled a range of learning activities including play, creating your own games, ‘role play’ during physical activity (how do others respond when you give someone the role of being a ‘disruptor’?)  But most importantly we modelled the reflective questioning that needs to take place to make learning visible for our learners in HPE.

Teacher workshop

The last part of the day was for teachers to be reflective; to begin to process their learnings and think about their ‘next steps’.  What does this mean for my school?

  • Challenge – with your school buddy identify a challenge related to planning and implementing quality PE experiences in your school.
  • Problem solve – buddy up with someone from another school.  Have a solutions focused kōrero to move forward with your challenge.
  • Support required – identify what internal and external support is required.
  • Reconnect with school buddy and share ideas generated from conversations.  Access Google+ Community and document your challenge, solution, support, and…
  • Next steps – what are your next steps?  What are the next steps you require from Play.sport?
  • Comment on one other schools post.

The Google+ Community (modelling the use of a digital tool for collaboration) will provide an ongoing platform to discuss ideas and share resources.

Since the workshop it has been inspiring to go into schools and see the small but effective changes that teachers have made to their practice.

  • “My students are really enjoying the varied approach to fitness. We are focusing on the behaviours and skills that are required to play and participate in a group and they are experiencing more success, which is making them feel more confident in all areas of the school day.”
  • Teachers that attended the workshop have run whole staff meetings using the Curriculum Traffic Light Activity
  • One principal who attended has run a whole staff meeting using many of the activities that we ran on the day of the workshop.
  • A teacher  has created a space on her classroom wall and has put the HPE AO they are focusing on – around it students are unpacking what it means and what it will look like.  They use this as a reference for learning conversations.

Erins wall Fraser Cres

  • A teacher did the Y-chart with her Year ⅚ students – what did they think that a Physically Educated student looked like, sounded like, felt like?  This generated some fantastic discussion.
  • A teacher has been trying working in small groups with his class in PE – sometimes he lets students choose groups, sometimes he picks the groups to encourage working with others of different abilities etc.  He is making the learning of interpersonal skills explicit and allowing time for reflection.  He has found that allowing the kids to make up their own games and work with others they wouldn’t normally has been great for setting up class culture.

I applaud all of these teachers who are so willing and enthusiastic about improving outcomes for their young people, and I thank them for their time and energy in learning how to improve the planning and delivery of quality PE experiences for their learners.

“The most valuable resource that teachers have is each other.  Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.”

– Robert John Meehan

#nzhpechat Creating a supportive learning environment

It was a privilege to moderate the first #nzhpechat for 2017, and engage with so many enthusiastic and inspiring educators.  Here is how it played out…

Welcome! Who are you and where are you from? Ko wai tō ingoa, nō hea koe? What has been a highlight for you so far this 2017 school year?

Thanks to these amazing educators for contributing to this chat.  The responses to the questions in this blog is a collation of their awesome ideas.

  • Debbie Robertson – HOD Health and PE – ChCh. Highlight – teaching my Year 7’s a sense of belonging in their new school.
  • Georgia Dougherty – I am a 2nd year HPE tchr in East AKL, highlight so far is seeing all my students from last year again 🙂
  • Rachel Colby from Stonefields School. My highlight: connecting with a new group of amazing learners at my new school.
  • Hanchen Johnson, Levin. Highlight so far for 2017 is teaching at my school for the second year so relationships are established
  • Rachael Dixon from Christchurch; full time student-ing.
  • Grace Goodall – HPE teacher @ Welly Girls’. Highlight = meeting all my new students/colleagues. Low light=traffic in2 CBD 😩
  • Mallory Bish – 2nd yr from East Auckland highlight = familiarity of students from last year
  • Jo Smith from Kapiti/Welly. Highlight is my Level 2 class…they’re already stepping up!
  • Sally Hart – highlight, seeing students forming great relationships with their Kaiarahi… purposeful selection, akonga and staff buzzing
  • Hayden Viles from Takapuna Grammar. Enjoying the challenge of becoming a dean and making connections between pastoral & curriculum
  • Nicola Richards from Christchurch.
  • Natasha Low from HPSS in Auckland.

Talking about Classroom Culture tonight.

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So let’s start off thinking about the WHY. Q1. Students learn best when….?

  • they are engaged and have opportunity to take ownership and direct their learning; teachers co-create learning experiences based on interests and make it meaningful and real; they are interested in the given tasks
  • teachers know who they and what makes them tick; they know you care; meaningful relationships
  • they know you as person and not just a teacher (relationships)
  • safe learning environments are created; when they feel important, safe and valued; they can share ideas & take risks & feel they are valued
  • Authentic, relevant, empowering, r-ships…
  • they have opportunities to PLAY, Freedom to explore, be CREATIVE, share their learning with others
  • when they are able to connect with people, ideas and place.
  • when they feel safe to challenge themselves, not afraid to make mistakes and feel part of a +ive working enviro.  How do we actually know that students feel this way though?  Ask them. What helped you to learn today? What more could I (Teacher) do to support your learning?  I think that you can feel their confidence increase, by their willingness to share their own ideas.  noise, excitement, sweat & tears! Students questioning the process, reflecting on disappointments, joy of success
  • And here is what the NZC had to say… (p.34)

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Q2. What are some specific examples of how you build relationships with your classes and within your HPE departments?

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-3-45-48-pm

  • Starting the year with Adventure Ed unit and spending breaktimes playing with learners informally – Got to get on their level! I’ve also asked them to teach me Māori (I’m American) to help make connections.
  • last yr for my hardest class I got them to create a playlist of music we played in the gym, they felt very spesh
  • sharing yourself with students, finding out about students identity, whanau, connections to each other, perspectives, values…
  • lots of trust, ABL, communication, team building. Listening is a big focus too…we do this for few weeks as impt
  • Lots of ABL games! Try and show the students I am human too and can have fun! I feel we need to do more as a dept.
  • ABL activities such as fruit salad and questions that allows students to anonymously share personal info with you
  • I have been doing the Helium Pole ABL activity with groups of teachers – hilarious!
  • Full Value Contracts have been something we (my Ss & I) have gone back to this yr- has been positive so far. ABL as always
  • Human connect 4 is one of my favorites and played first 1/2 sessions on plus bodyguard – breaks down barriers…
  • include in decision making eg course outline, create times for sharing, discussing, reflecting and not just being content driven
  • set the scene and provide a snapshot of what students can expect for the year. Lots of fun, ABL and co-op games. Learning students names!
  • Use TPSR (Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility) activities and introduce concepts early to get them caring about each other

Q3. How do you go about building relationships with whānau and the wider community and why is this important?

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-3-46-00-pm

  • Termly activity nights where whanau can come and participate with learners, teacher vs learner games, fortnightly comms
  • I have started the year by emailing all parents to open communication lines – have had some great responses back
  • I call each of my tutor classes caregivers and introduce myself, regularly stay in touch re: attendance etc, have conferences
  • Relationships with students whanau and wider community is important to create a partnerships between home and school.  How do we move from relationships to partnerships? Is there a difference?  partnerships involve constant communication, common expectations & working together to enhance student learning.
  • Ringing/ introduce yourself to Whānau students family. Using community in learning programmes.  Do you have some examples of how you use your community in your learning programmes?  primary schools to come to college to experience coaching by senior students. Local athletes as Speakers for sports academy,
  • we have yr level parent evenings, tutors call parents, PDP with student, tutor and parent and online communication..
  • We start with IEMs, individual education mtgs between hub coach, hub students & their parents, 30min, great to set-up the yr.
  • I email parents 2 intro myself and provide an outline of what Ss can expect this year. Let parents make contact if they need

Q4. How do you create an environment where students cultural identity is welcomed, celebrated, nurtured and connected to their learning?

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-3-46-11-pm

  • Have my students teach me about their cultural identities/language and make connections in lessons
  • Include in their cultural practices/traditions/games/values
  • Model & position self as a curious learner. Co-construct activities with students & learn about their experiences, strengths, fears, hopes, culture
  • through creating opportunities to share and bring their culture & identity into the class
  • ultimately for all these things to happen students must feel safe +supported & this should be done by building relationships first

BYOQ. Finally tonight time to source the expertise in the ‘room’… what questions do you have for your #nzhpechat colleagues?

I am struggling to co-create experiences – do you have any examples/suggestions of how you do this?

  • Find out what your Ss are interested in, what do they want to learn, what contexts excite them, provide choice

Do you have any cool activities to describe/demonstrate the importance of listening? I’d love to include into ABL

 

  • play a simple game eg put 10 passes together and then add rules 1 by 1, must count passes aloud correctly, can’t return a pass
  • I have a good one for name game which requires listening, it’s called four on a couch.

Do you ever provide students in Health or PE with ‘free time’? Why/why not?

  • Think of it as ‘freedom to explore’ and if it is purposeful then yes absolutely.
  • Yes! Freedom to connect concepts & form new ideas. It also is an insight into what/how Ss want to learn
  • I think it provides opportunities for students to make new friends by connecting through interests too
  • I do for my lower level classes who struggle to stay focussed for a long period of time. Or also a reward for working hard
  • Me too! I’ve decided this year to have 2-3 challenges during ABL lessons, & if completed successfully then free time

What are the best PD seasons you have attended? And why were they thre best?

  • Anything that is PD for teachers, BY teachers eg. EduCamps, #WellyHPE workshops. PENZ conferences, ConnectedPE Conf
  • Not HPE specific but mind lab is pretty amazing
  • Practical applications made by teachers for teachers @phys_educator has AMAZING resources!
  • Also, @mrrobbo is coming to NZ to do PE & Tech workshops. Auckland 8 May
  • Twitter chats! Because I interact with others, challenge my ideas as well as others, & pick up resources

What are you most excited about trying/doing/implementing in 2017?

BYO ABL – If you didn’t share this as part of Q1.. tell us what some of your favourite ABL resources and games are.

  • #minefield Great start to the year observing how groups operate, the roles individuals play and group dynamics. (A.S91336)
  • Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil
  • Anything that encourages the students to challenge and share their ideas! The square paper challenge is always fun! (Students have to keep folding the paper in half and still fit the whole group on the paper)
  • Class photo, calculator, name time, turnstile, blindfold tent pitch, confused muse…so many games!
  • I love listening/command games like captains coming/Mr Viles says, Buddies up, Squistle tag, number shape maker
  • Activity to develop listening, teamwork, communication – Life with the Wright Family
  • Great resources for ABL – two books that are a must have – Silver bullets or Cowtails and Cobras – Karl Ronke.  Also project adventure – go online for their activities & also go to thenewPE.com and select adv activities in PE.  Wilderdom.com is another goodie.
  • ABL games and activities for Effective Communication via Hayden Viles

This was a great chat to start the 2017 school year and I hope that this summary will prove to be helpful.  Thanks again for the opportunity to connect with you all.

Celia Fleck

PE Curriculum Facilitator, University of Auckland

Being Connected – thanks ConnectedPE

This week has been full of opportunities to connect online with Physical Educators from all over the world, thanks to Jarrod Robinson and the Connected PE Online Conference.  I have loved listening to what amazing things people are doing to ensure quality physical education and physical activity experiences for our young people.

I haven’t had a chance to watch them all yet, but these are some highlights from those I have watched so far:

Making Physical Education Addictive – Andy Hair

Loved his quote – “Be Different – not so you stand out as an educator, but so your kids get an experience that is unique to them.”

He talked about the importance of fun, freedom to explore, and creativity in PE lessons.

He gave some fantastic examples of using provocations to begin units of work and really tap into students curiosity.  Examples were Dude Perfect and Angry Birds for target units.  Throughout the units of work it was emphasised to students that it was all about trial and error and that it was okay to fail over and over before achieving success.  There was an emphasis on reflection to grow knowledge and success.

Lessons took the format – Driving question, learning intention, success criteria, challenge activity.

“We are not teaching children to pass a test.  We are educating children to be successful in life.” – Andy Hair

 

The Physical Educator as a Resource for the Classroom Teacher – Mike Kuczala

This session resonated with me, because it connects with the work we have been doing as part of the Sport in Education Project and in particular the work that Craig Reddington, Kaikourai Valley College, and Karen Palmer, Queens High School are doing with regard to Active Education.

With many high schools in NZ moving to longer teaching periods, the ability for all teachers to incorporate active learning pedagogies is critical.

Mike talked about the 6 Brain Principles that support using movement/physical activity in the classroom:

  1. The brain responds to novelty
  2. The brain responds to movement
  3. The brain is always trying to make meaning
  4. The brain thrives on concrete experiences
  5. Emotions help the brain remember ‘experiences’
  6. The brain needs social and environmental interaction

He then went on to talk about why movement enhances the learning process:

  1. Provides break from learning
  2. Enhances episodic memory (memory association)
  3. Provides opportunity for implicit learning
  4. Provides an opportunity for differentiating instruction (through different learning styles)
  5. Sensory engagement
  6. It’s the best available manager of state
  7. Provides motivation and the meeting of basic human needs

Check out the following for further inspiration to get your students moving:

TED-Ed “Why sitting is bad for you” – Murat Dalkilinc

2017 5 minute per hour challenge

www.movetolearnms.org (Primary age)

The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and learning through movement

 

Using Data to inform Teaching Practice and Student Learning – Pat Coleman

This was a great presentation that encourages us to expand the concept of what counts as ‘data’ – think beyond the numbers.  (Do we perhaps need to use the word evidence more?)

There were lots of practical ideas through out the presentation and these were some of my favourites:

Plickers – provides data on a class level, and also at an individual student level.  What do we as a class need to go back and address?  What gaps are there still in the students knowledge and understanding?  I loved the application of Plickers as an exit card – in the photo below the Plickers stuck to the wall and as the students pass on the way to the changing rooms they turn their own numbered Plicker to the orientation that represents their answer.  Then the teacher can scan the wall and get instant feedback.

plickers

Quizizz – this is very similar to Kahoot!, students get points for speed and accuracy of answers, however the advantage this has over Kahoot! is that it can be accessed at anytime.  The teacher sets up the ‘game’ and then once the students have the code they can take the quiz when it suits.  It could be built into a practical lesson as a ‘station’ where students take time to reflect on learning, could be taken in the classroom, or at home.

SOLO taxonomy and QR codes – Pat gave a great example of how he had used SOLO in his Sport Education unit.  Throughout the unit all students had to at some point take a turn at the five different roles, and there was a SOLO rubric for each role.  This was all on the wall of the gym and students had to place their number next to the SOLO level they considered themselves to be at for each of the roles; when they moved up a level they then had to scan the QR code on the wall to fill out an explanation/justification  of why they had moved up a level.  SOLO provides feedback for students about their learning and makes it clear what they need to do to progress to the next level ie. next steps in their learning.

 

Disrupting Traditional PE – Finding your Passion and Purpose through Play – Will Vreugdenhil

This was so on point, and again really resonated with me due to the work that I am doing with Primary and Intermediate teachers at the moment and challenging them to rethink their teaching practices in PE.

So where does the disruption lie between Traditional PE and Innovative and Modern PE?

Teacher centric -> Student centric

Movement focused -> Understanding focused

Units of Sport -> Conceptual units

Fitness testing (comparing to standards) -> Fitness testing (measure against self)

Repetition = mastery -> repetition is isolation of mastery

Competitive -> collaborative

Teacher determines pace -> student determines pace

Only certain ‘mold’ of student/athlete experiences success -> everyone succeeds

Designed to free up other teachers -> designed for student learning

Technology is the devil -> Technology is our friend

Students treated the same -> differentiated

 

Play:

“Research has shown us that human beings are born with an innate desire to explore, experiment and imagine new possibilities.” (Wagner, 2012)

“The start and end of purposeful PE is play, but it isn’t in my opinion a panacea.  We must watch the children in our care play and then decide how best to support them” (@ImSporticus)

Passion is not just an emotion.  It is the drive to push forward, to try something new, to master a skill or reach the next level.  Passion is usually a product of play, where success was experienced and confidence grew.  Passion is more powerful when intrinsic.

Purpose evolves from passion and play.  It is an intrinsically motivated state, reinforced by passions.  It is about making a difference.

 

So some quick ‘Innovative PE’ suggestions from Pat:

Give students choice between being in a competitive group vs a non-competitive group: the expectation of the competitive group is that they are skilled and have a mindset of competition, the non-competitive group is not about winning, but participating with purpose.

Integrate technology with a purpose.

Allow for more thought/reflection time.

Co-create with students – which rules would you change and why?

Let students choose what they want to be assessed on (from a range of options)

Be empathetic – give students a ‘day off’

 

Of course another highlight of the week for me was being able to present during the Connected PE Online Conference on ‘The Value of Sport in Education’.  Thanks Carl Condliffe for suggesting I give it a go and supporting me with the preparation.

Interestingly during this same week of celebrating being able to be connected globally, and seeing the immense benefits, I spent some time in a room of educators who still have a level of anxiety with connecting and collaborating with others online.  We were introducing this group of people to the safety of collaborating within a closed group on Google+ Community; but even within this relative ‘safety’ they expressed their fears about what people might think, how people might respond etc.  We had some great dialogue about the value of the different online platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Virtual Learning Network, blogging.  It was a great reminder to me that it is important not to dismiss people’s anxiety, and to remember how I felt when I first entered the world of Twitter.  It was also affirming for me to realise how far I have come – from contributing to twitter, to moderating twitter chats, writing a blog, and this past week for the first time presenting at an Online Conference.  Another facilitator and I talked about how now our fear is not that people will respond when we post something on line, to that people won’t respond!

Thanks again to Jarrod Robinson and the Connected PE Online Conference for the chance to access FREE professional learning and connect with Physical Educators the world over.