It takes a village to raise a child – this saying has come back to me after a week of amazing conversations from Beijing to Saudi Arabia – social media and our #Physed village have come out in full support. My most favourite conversations are ones that are not affirming but rather ask a lot of questions or share research that allows time for more discussion and more questions. I really value these interactions and have found it very reflective as I consider both the scheduling chats (how will we make this new timetable work for our PE students and staff?) that I have been a part of but also how they are grounded in learning (what theory or practice is driving us? How does this fit into the scheduling chats?) as we ponder how to move forward for next year.
The image below is the revamped thinking based on conversations with others and thoughts from these conversations and resources. The text underneath the image is some examples of how we might put our units together based on giving students choice into how they might like to learn – this has been heavily drawing on Andy Vasily reminding me of Ron Ritchhart‘s work on Culture’s of Thinking. as well as the podcast with Scott Kretchmar where he and Andy discuss the Pursuit of Happiness and the importance of Joy and Delight in movement. All of this resonates deeply with the work that Tim Fletcher is doing as well as part of the team who are sharing Meaningful PE and how we might consider our lessons and curricula from more than just motor competence or sport learning.
The other work that I have read and drawn from includes articles from Dawn Penney and Shaun Wilkinson about ability grouping and looking at the effects of this on classroom teaching and student learning. They looked at a series of schools in the UK and looked at how students were grouped, and the impacts that this presents to student learning, student self-concept as well as teacher perception and its impact on student learning. It was interesting to read their conclusions and to reflect on my classroom – we have a random set of students in our classes but grouping within that group of students constantly changes based on the outcomes of the lesson or unit, the unit we are studying, social relationships and behavior effects within teams or groups. I also was reminded of John Hattie and his work on student learning effect sizes and that teacher perception and
The proposal I would like to share in April with my department is below. I would say we randomly divide students into 2 groups and then within those groups we offer the opportunity to self-divide and choose to learn based on our own experiences and risk-taking; it draws on gaining confidence where we feel safe and giving students time to think about where they best learn, where they want to learn and what makes learning meaningful.
Ex. Invasion unit (3 weeks) with Inquiry into being a stronger community of learners (kindness/ respect/ collaborators)
- Small sided games that are modified and work with skills and drills (with choice of equipment, space, timing, groups etc) in Soccer or Basketball or Ultimate (?)
- Play a full version (or such) of an Invasion Game (ex. Basketball) so that you are working to full rules, space, ball, and team size
Ex. Net/Wall unit (3 weeks) with Inquiry into a strategy for success (observation, planning, reflection, perseverance etc)
- small sided games that are modified for Volleyball (mini-volley, spike ball etc) that focus on skill building that transfer back into gameplay that use different spaces, equipment, rules all to reinforce and learn about Net/Wall
- Play volleyball or Badminton or Tennis as a full game – offer doubles and singles play and make it competitive with learning using full rules, court lines etc. Much stronger emphasis on the learning and improvement of skills for that game specifically.
Ex. S&F unit – Inquiry could be into? (not sure yet)
- Small sided S&F lead up games as you move to T-ball (choice of equipment, space, groupings etc)
- Play Baseball as a game out on the pitch with gloves, proper ball, bats and safety equipment for Catcher etc.
If we chose to continue by offering student choice throughout these main units, we could look to remove Choice as we currently offer them in our G8 program, as we are actively offering choice in every unit we teach.
Questions I still have:
- Are we okay with having groupings that may not be equal in numbers? One teacher might have 15 and the other 28, is that ok? What is the min/max we think works for keeping learning safe and challenging for our students?
- We would have to have some conversations about how we self-select and how we enter the right learning point for us.
The choice could be between
Appropriate level or teaching of swimming – those who want a Swim workout could choose that pathway, those that are interested in looking at specific strokes or inquiry into swimming could look at another pathway?
Chen, Ang, and Catherine D. Ennis. “Goals, Interests, and Learning in Physical Education.” The Journal of Educational Research, vol. 97, no. 6, 2004, pp. 329–339., doi:10.3200/joer.97.6.329-339.
Wilkinson, Shaun D., and Dawn Penney. “The Effects of Setting on Classroom Teaching and Student Learning in Mainstream Mathematics, English and Science Lessons: a Critical Review of the Literature in England.” Educational Review, vol. 66, no. 4, 2013, pp. 411–427., doi:10.1080/00131911.2013.787971.
Wilkinson, Shaun, et al. “Setting and within-Class Ability Grouping.” European Physical Education Review, vol. 22, no. 3, 2015, pp. 336–354., doi:10.1177/1356336×15610784.