#WellyHPE Workshop 1

It is evident that there are some really exciting things happening in Health and Physical Education departments and kura throughout Wellington.  Wellington HPE teachers were well represented in presenting workshops at the PENZ/NZHEA/EONZ National Conference in July.  There have been some awesome online networks set up this year by Wellington HPE teachers – the PE Gear Shed Facebook page by Matt Lambert, Heretaunga College and Cam Smith, Scots College; and the #NZPETeachercast run by Carl Condliffe, Rongotai College.  On a national level the NZ Health and PE community host #nzhpechat on Twitter – held on the first Sunday of every month at 8pm.  These social media networks are fantastic for connecting and collaborating, but I believe you still can’t beat kanohi ki te kanohi – the face to face interaction.

The awesomeness of Welly HPE teachers was evident again when people willingly and enthusiastically contributed to the team effort in pulling these workshops together, agreeing to host workshops, and agreeing to present workshops and share ideas.  And then equally importantly, on Thursday people came along to participate and contribute, and support their colleagues.

The #WellyHPE 2016 Workshop series is an opportunity to collaborate with and connect Wellington Health and Physical Educators; to provide PLD for teachers, by teachers, in order to improve outcomes for ALL learners.

“A key finding of an international report found that innovative teaching practices flourish when:

  1. Teacher collaboration focuses on supporting peers and sharing teaching practices.
  2. Professional development involves the active and direct engagement of teachers, particularly in practising and researching new teaching methods.
  3. The school culture offers a common vision of innovation, as well as consistent support that encourages new types of teaching.”

ITL Research Project (2012). 2011 Findings and Implications

Workshop one was held at Scots College on Thursday 10th November, with three diverse presenters lined up.  

“Place-responsive education: not just for Outdoor Education!” – Chris Taylor, St Patrick’s College, Wellington.

At the heart of place-based, or place-responsive education, is the idea that if you do something in people’s place of significance, they are more connected to that place and that then motivates them in caring for that place.  It also means that they are more likely to repeat their experiences as they are more accessible to them.

In these changing times with regard to the Health and Safety legislation, and legislation around what fees schools can and can’t charge for, PBE is more important now than ever.

Chris identified the following benefits of PBE:

  • Students are more motivated when connected
  • Being connected translates to better care for the environment
  • Lower risk activities: from an educational perspective lower risk translates to better learning (research suggests higher risk activities eg. abseiling, white water rafting, minimise the learning)
  • Local often means cheaper and more time efficient

He also identified challenges associated with PBE:

  • Requires a school community open to change
  • More time is required to research and prepare for trips
  • Local may not offer anything great
  • In some cases the loss of the skill teaching (eg. kayaking, rockclimbing) may be seen as a weakness
  • Teachers need more breadth of knowledge

The ‘Sign Posts’ of PBE:

  1. Being present in and with a place – don’t rush through.
  2. Place-based stories and narratives
  3. Place experiences – what does the place have to offer?
  4. Apprenticing ourselves to a place – positioning ourselves (teachers) as learners.
  5. Community focus – community of people.

Chris’s tips on starting off:

  • Be open to whatever the place has to offer
  • Pick a local place and visit it
  • Research that place from a Māori and Pakeha perspective
  • KISS – keep it simple
  • Don’t do assessment – focus on the learning; try and avoid assessment driving education
  • Seek advice from kaumatua (in the broader sense of the word) – talk to the local farmer for example.

Chris was asked a question along the lines of “How do you define local? Beyond what distance is something no longer place-based?”  For Chris personally, he uses the figure 50km.

Suggested readings from Chris:

“Challenges and opportunities in implementing a place-responsive education course in a NZ school” – Townsend

“A Pedaogogy of Place” – Wattchow and Brown


‘How can Socio-critical thought be applied practically in primary/secondary PE?’ – Cam Smith, Scots College

I have to admit I didn’t take many notes from this one as we had a tonne of fun participating in practical activities in the gym, and engaging in some great socio-critical thought in between – which is what you would expect given the title of the workshop!

The essence of Cam’s inquiry into this topic comes from the challenge PE teachers face to maintain the movement, the doing, the physical activity, when exploring socio-cultural issues related to movement.  There can be a tendency to explore these issues in the classroom, and so is it hardly surprising when we assess students learning that the results are not great?  Instead of putting this learning in the too hard basket, or throwing out these achievement standards, we as teachers need to inquiry into how we can make this learning more relevant and authentic for our learners.

From Cam’s powerpoint:

What is Socio-critical thought?

  • Challenging and questioning assumptions based around sociological issues related to physical education,  and developing ideas to take action.
  • Sociological issues in PE: commodification, gender stereotyping, body as a project, technocentricity, healthism, scientism, s.p.e.e.e.c.h factors.

How to apply Socio-critical thought practically:

  • Planning – learning first, context second – inquiry based vs sport (solo taxonomy around development of higher order thinking) – pam hook and Nicola Richards;
  • Use the “critical analysis process” it is gold – McBain and Gillespie
  • CIA (curriculum in action series) old now but some good practical ways to apply socio-critical thought;
  • Kolbs learning cycle “experiential learning”;
  • Interdisciplinary units – be careful that the HPE learning doesn’t get reduced to sport;
  • Be creative and inventive – you don’t have to teach the sub-routines of every skill in a unit;
  • Use the flipped classroom, where possible, to develop basic knowledge and understanding;

Cam highlighted the need for learning to be student centred and for inquiries to meet the interests and needs of YOUR learners.

Suggested readings from Cam:

Sally Hart’s blog and thesis

“A critical analysis process – bridging the theory to practice gap in senior secondary school physical education” – Gillespie and McBain

You can hear Cam talk about this topic on Episode 8 of #NZPETeachercast

“HPE from a Montessori Perspective” – Hamish Buddle, Wa Ora Montessori School

Montessori education focuses on self-regulated learners – students take responsibility for their own learning.  The idea of community is at the heart of Montessori.

When Hamish was creating a vision for PE for the Year 1-13 learners at his kura, he asked the question – what does life-long learning look like in PE?  He then did some backward planning using the curriculum document.  At Wa Ora, he takes a whole school approach; once per week senior students (all seniors, not just those who take NCEA PE) help out teaching the junior students, a fantastic example of tuakana-teina.

In the senior school, Wa ora operates in 3 hour work cycles – so you see your learners once a week for a three hour slot.  Hamish has one NCEA class that is multi-level (NCEA levels 1-3).

Planning and using time in longer classes:

  • Whole class vs small group vs individual work
  • Practical and theory
  • Negotiating with students about their use of time
  • The classroom environment (MLE) is conducive to this at Wa Ora
  • One google site for all three NCEA levels

Three hour work cycle opportunities:

  • Get out into the real world
  • Deep work – can get into it
  • Flexibility (multi level classes)


  • Lost time – if a student is away they lose a whole week

Multi-level opportunities:

  • Students can see where they have come from and where they are going
  • Appreciate contexts through multiple perspectives: for example all students may be playing badminton with the Level 1 students working towards 1.1 so considering factors that affect participation, the Level 2 students working towards 2.8 so considering social and personal responsibility and the Level 3 students working towards 3.1 so considering own and others experiences in PA.
  • Tuakana-teina


  • Managing time between year levels
  • Finding achievement standards that fit (the jigsaw)

Hamish is looking at splitting Level 1 and then a combined Level 2 and 3 class in the future.

Assessment – Junior PE:

  • No grades up to and including year 10
  • Evidence based, use of portfolios – students are then able to take these portfolios into the senior school and provide experiences and knowledge to look back on.
  • Reports written twice a year – emphasis on specific comments and feed forward
  • Linking approach to assessment to the goal or vision for learning in HPE

Hamish uses heaps of self and peer assessment but this requires a lot of teaching of how to assess correctly; he spends a lot of time co-constructing success criteria.

Suggested reading from Hamish:

“Assessment in Physical Education” – Hay and Penney 

Many thanks to My Study Series for sponsoring these workshops; one class package for 2017 being given away at each workshop.

Next workshops:

Tuesday 15th November, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, WHITBY, 1.30-4.30pm

  • 1.30pm – Chris Taylor (St Patrick’s College, Wellington) Achievement standards in outdoor education: Beg, borrow and steal AS from multiple domains to get the course you want!
  • 2.30pm – Michelle Ferris (Aotea College) Health Education focus: Why schools should offer senior Health education, selling it to senior leadership and producing meaningful courses. Looking at achievement standards in more depth and how to best prepare students for externals.
  • 3.30pm – Aaron Mead (Paraparaumu College) and Barrie Gordon (University of Victoria) – ‘Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility in a NZ Secondary School PE programme’

Wednesday 23rd November, Heretaunga College, 1.30-4.30pm

  • 1.30pm – Carl Condliffe (Rongotai College) – ‘Gamification to increase student engagement and motivate participation’
  • 2.30pm – Sport in Education Project panel – Alissa Murdoch (Taita College), Kath McGuinness (Wainuiomata High School), Carl Condliffe (Rongotai College), Matt Jacket (Avalon Intermediate)
  • 3.30pm – Matt Lambert (Heretaunga College) – The Armoury and contextualised PE programmes.

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