This was my very first time teaching physical education, and I can honestly say I learned a lot just in the planning and execution of this one lesson. First, I learned there are so many details (particularly with dance) that you have to consider when prepping your lesson. For example, considering your student’s skills and prior knowledge. As a group, we wanted to come up with a dance lesson that was challenging and new, but still accessible. We also wanted to come up with a routine that was fun and engaging. It was difficult coming up with a dance routine we felt was both age-appropriate and fun. We also had to consider in what format were we going to introduce the routine, for example, if we’d teach it in parts, or as a whole with music. All these minor details had to be thought out and discussed.
Overall, I’m really happy with our lesson. I feel like we were able to create a lesson that encouraged a lot of class participation, group collaboration and fun! Something that we can definitely consider for next time is (as mentioned to us by Steve) is ensuring every student feels supported and included in their learning by giving them that one-on-one support if needed. For example, while I was demonstrating at the front of the class, we could have had Amy and Jennifer roaming through the students to see if anyone needed extra help in learning the dance moves. As an educator, it’s easy to forget that even though you’re teaching to a group, you’re teaching individuals who learn at different rates. When we check in with students to see their progress, some students may be too shy to admit that they are behind the class or just not understanding the material. It’s our job to notice this and take the time to help those students. That’s the same with teaching dance, knowing when to break in your lesson or take that initiative to help those students learn the dance moves and overall, feel included.
I use to work at an Outdoor Camp for children and from that experience I learned there’s so much value in teaching alternative environment/outdoor education. The outdoors doesn’t just offer an alternative space, but it provides students the ability to develop independence and self-reliance. In the outdoors, students can learn how to adapt, face new challenges, and overcome fears or apprehensions they otherwise wouldn’t face indoors. Active learning in the outdoors also introduces young people to the environment in a way in which they can develop understanding and appreciation for nature. They can build a connection to nature and therefore understand the contexts of today’s issues of sustainability. We live in a complex world where we continue to exploit the environment and all it’s natural resources, if children are aware of these growing issues then perhaps they can become stewards of change in helping protect it.
I would think for many of us school was the first place where we learned or first participated in outdoor education. I’m glad that schools today understand the value of outdoor education, just not the activity aspect of it, but also its impact on someone’s physical development and mental well-being. We live in a digital world where kids are recorded spending more time in front of screens than outside. I’m afraid that the growing immersion of technology in almost every aspects of our daily life could potentially disconnect younger generations from the outdoors. As an educator, I want to ensure this doesn’t happen. I want to integrate the natural environment just not in PE class but in other subjects. For example, teaching environmental issues/concepts in depth (and preferably outside) during subjects like Science or Social Studies.
As we delve deeper into the school year, I’m beginning to notice that so much of our year will be spent learning from each other. I’ve spent much of our PE classes just observing and learning. I take note of what activities my classmates have come up with, how they instruct and what is they are hoping to accomplish in the short 45 minute lesson. I’m starting to realize it takes a lot of work, organizing and thought to carry out these lessons. I use to think that PE was just a way of getting kids active, but in hindsight it’s really about building a child’s character, confidence, teamwork with others and physical literacy, and it’s up to as a educators that the activities we employ foster that.
My group lesson isn’t for another couple of weeks, but as I think about it more –there are so many details that I still have to fine-tune with my group members. For example, what activities we want to cover, how we want to divvy the lesson between our group members, the ways in which we want to instruct the activities, and how we are going to organize the class during the lesson. I only hope that creating and organizing lesson plans gets easier with time and practice. With our regular school visits beginning this week, a question I’d like to ask my SA is at what point does creating lesson plans become second nature? Hopefully they’ll be able to impart some wisdom that I will happily share with my cohorts!
This week I became overwhelmed with the idea of creating my own lesson plan (something I have never done before). But after watching today’s groups execute their lessons so flawlessly, they helped me realize sometimes the best form of learning is to “do”. Like our peers today, I can be creative and unafraid to try new things in front of our classmates and instructors. Our time at UBC is really a chance to hone our own styles or ways of teaching (without judgment) and realizing this has helped me settle my own anxieties about our future assignments.
Regarding our own PE experiences, growing up I actually had only positive experiences. I always loved the physical, teamwork and competitive aspect of physical education. However, today’s class did put things into perspective; I realized that some of the things I might have enjoyed in my PE experience may have negatively affected or excluded my classmates in the past. The fact that Steve recommended setting benchmark goals to improve students’ individual results shed light that there has been a clear shift in teaching physical education. Teachers today want to create positive experiences and attitudes towards physical activity within their students by considering inclusivity and personal growth. These are important values that I want to instill into my own teaching.