Professional Learning – Part 6 – Putting myself on the line

ISB MS Professional Development – Peer Observation Task 2016-17

This year our MS Admin challenged us to invite a colleague to observe a lesson via video of our lesson and sharing.  You can read the overview of this process above.  As a new teacher in this school, this is a bit of a big ask.  I have blogged a lot about my Professional Development work this year and you can go back and read up about Data and how I am trying to use this in my student learning.

If you team teach then the opportunity to challenge each other and push and to share your observations is very powerful and can have an impact on your student learning due to the best practice being the focus of your team work.  But working alone I like to think that I am offering my very best and expect effective pedagogical practice from myself.  But the truth is that this is not the case, well not every day anyway.  I do try hard but without some giving of myself to find out whether I am effective or not, how will I know?  I am not sure about my effectiveness as a teacher and relationship builder of MS students.   Often we find that people put other teachers on a pedestal or we find epicenters over Social media and I wonder if this sometimes creates assumed best practice.  If you haven’t actually seen someone else teach how can you judge what their classroom might be like and whether they are in fact effective teachers or just offering the best social media dialogue but not practice?

I admit that I am nervous about what others might see here in my class.  I feel like I need to defend my classroom and my situation in these films like others will automatically troll me.  But the truth is I am probably my own fiercest critic and if I am really going to grow and learn I need others to give me their Notices and Wonderings so that I can take this feedback and apply it in small doses or in one large sweep so that I can grow.  I want my students to have the most effective teacher in their PE classes – if that is me then I need to get going.

The videos here in this PD Playlist are the last five of the list.  There are four from one G8 class and one from a G7 Invasion lesson that I have blogged about previously.  The G8 lessons followed a Badminton format that I have also shared on this blog and you can read more in detail here.   My G7 Badminton unit is a mini-unit of similar work and you can read about it here.

I have reached out to Dr Aaron Beighle and Dean Dudley who are both amazing PE academics and teachers themselves.   I know these gentleman and have take time to work and share with them in a variety of ways for the last year at least and they have kindly offered to give me some feedback based on my Focus Questions.  I will write more posts based on my notice/wonderings writing/ and their responses and then my plan moving forward from here.

As a summary: The lesson filmed here was part of a unit in Badminton, there were a lot of students who signed up for this choice focus unit and a colleague and I split the group of 38 students into two groups based on the first few lessons of practice/play and I took the higher level of students.

I put together a booklet of work with the focus on Tactical Play and then students completed peer and self reflection and assessment to determine areas of focus they wanted to really use.  We started looking at footwork and used an iPad app and our booklet to go through footwork drills and give observations and feedback as we were working 1:1 and put this back into our game play.

We then played a lot of different modified games and reflected and decided on a hierarchy of shots or tactical focus areas – a wish list if you like and the students then grouped according to the shot they were focused on in their play.  We then played games based on a pyramid system of play.  Students could only play people in the same pyramid level of them and this gave them lots of choice but kept the games in similar playing levels without doing Knock outs or King of the court.

The video is of a lesson in the middle of the units.  The clips initially shows some of the footwork work we did 1:1 with me doing student assessments with the coach/observer/peer.  Then we came together and went into skill focus session and I am working with students on feedback and ideas and reflection.  Then we come together and move into games with clear focus/differentiation about how to play.   Each small movie makes up each of these progressions.

My initial watch drew my eye to the students who are not in my line of sight and me seeing that they are not on task.  They aren’t disrupting others but I had hoped that they would have stayed on the task – we had discussed that focus and working through something that is hard or boring can be really challenging but I hadn’t thought it was so much off task.  The appear much more on task in shot work where they identified the area they wanted to grow and practice on.  And of course they are very involved in game play.

So as I stop apologizing for my teaching I want to write down my observations on the following questions.  I will write another blog post about observations to these questions.

Focus Questions I have for this lesson that I am sharing with my peer/s:

  • What is inhibiting me from making a more meaningful connection/relationship with my students? (ex. Body language/ lack of smile/ name saying (or not saying))
  • What do I notice about the movement and motivation of students based on the lesson format?
  • How am I an effective teacher?
  • Where am I challenged?