“Learning should be prioritised in Physical Education classes”. Dr Susannah Steven.
Our bodies are not separated from our minds. We need Challenge, Meaningful Education, we need to learn about our own bodies and what we are capable of doing (now and as we change with age and experience).
Jarrod Robinson has been hosting Webinars through his ConnectedPE series and I found Dr Susannah (Susie) Steven’s topic to be really poignant for our current PE and Pandemic eLearning times.
The short answer is Yes! We must be concerned about the E in PE – we are the only subject that has an E in its name for goodness sake! Dr Susie was fabulous. She was energetic, on point and she backed up her ideas, thinking, reflections with clear arguments supported by evidence, research and logic. It was refreshing to hear someone clearly articulate why we must be asking more of our profession and ensuring that when people discuss PE they are actually talking about the Education of PE, not the Physical Activity or Fitness industry or others who are ‘experts’ in their own fields, but that doesn’t make them a PE teacher.
We must teach in a way that allows ALL of our students to be able to Move, to learn about and through movement all the while thinking, reflecting and engaging in how this affects them personally. We must learn these things, we must learn about these things – and for our students to be able to make this work for them in their context and environment. We learn through Thinking and the ideas and experiences connect to what we already conceptualise and have experience of. Our students/learners must be thinking and learning for themselves (as a body+mind = whole body) and it is our role as Educator’s to help them to achieve this and to critically evaluate and independently think about how they will Move with Meaning.
If we aren’t using an E, have we truly prepared and planned for Physical Education? Frameworks, models and theories help us to think, collaborate, evalute, reflect and plan for our learners. If we aren’t using an E or we fall into a rut of only using the Contexts that suit us as teachers and not necessarily advocating for the needs of our diverse group of learners. In doing this we are modelling what suits our own needs rather than promoting what could best suit our learners.
In this current Pandemic learning space, how might we lean more heavily on Pleasure as the focus of our learning for students? What can we do that educates and includes our students and asks them to Think as part of the Doing of E in Physical Education. Meaningful PE has identified Fun as well as Delight – in taking the Pleasure and being aware of our subjective selves, we may be able to open up another part of the Education of Movement.
How might we take our Movement pulse? How might we listen, focus and notice our movements (ex do you always put your clothes on in the same order? do you climb the stairs in the same pattern? do you use specific fingers on your phone for texting?) – this may lead to greater kinesthetic awareness and a greater understanding of ourselves.
How might we also advocate more for our profession? Could we politely but clearly ask Fitness Professionals to stop labelling their work as PE? Could we ask our Education boards/ Districts/ Groups to please ensure that we are focused on the Learning not just on the Doing. The Doing are amazing resources and tools that we can use to Educate, but we shouldn’t allow the Doing to be the only PE we are offering to our students or we are offering a dis-service to our learners.