Wow, what a packed and productive last class. I can’t believe we managed to fit in group discussions, two group presentations, and a resource share. I am really happy we had the opportunity to share our resources with everybody else. I was really impressed with some of the lesson plan ideas and resources that I was hearing and thinking of ways how I would incorporate them into my extended practicum. The group presentation on Yoga did an incredible job considering the time constraints. I found myself quite relaxed and stretched out after their activity. Yoga is a mind-body workout that will improve flexibility but also bring back focus and concentration. I teach grade 1’s and I imagine they may have trouble focusing while practicing certain yoga poses, however I’d like to try it with them perhaps as a cool down at the end of a PE session, with a peaceful song playing in the background. Yoga’s gentle movements are useful tools to relieve tension that may have built up during the PE activity and may help relax them. Breathing exercises is also an aspect of Yoga that I want my kids to practice. I would introduce the breathing exercises to them during our yoga cool down and keep referring back to them in times of anxiety and stress that they may encounter throughout the day. Overall, I think Yoga poses and exercises are adaptable to any age level and its skills can translate to actions that are mindful when engaging in other things.
I am really grateful for the opportunity to have BC wheelchair sports visit our class and enrich our knowledge on the opportunities they provide for individuals with physical disabilities to engage in able-bodied sports. Opportunities provided by the BC wheelchair sports truly changes the lives of individuals with physical disabilities as it encourages, supports, and respects their active living goals. By doing so, a sense of achievement and success is provided for them. This feeling will contribute to their motivation to continue in their personal active life goals and embrace a life long physical literacy. As I reflect, I remember one of our professors pointing out that it is inadequate to have able-bodied individuals to experience wheelchair sports themselves to motivate them to create equality and fairness for the students in the class. Although I agree that it is important for the people who introduce this topic and provide this opportunity to have expertise and knowledge, which transfers into their ability to appropriately deliver content material to the right age group. However, having had the opportunity to personally experience wheelchair sports myself, while not knowing much about the programs that BC wheelchair sports offered, the equipments themselves, the sports, and the skills that it requires; I am confident to say that this experience has really made me realize how talented, strong, and athletic these individuals are, and has motivated me to have my students exposed to this information and be able to experience this themselves.
This week our group taught on the topic of dance and technology. I have taken quite a few dance lessons while growing up, where I had to follow a choreographed set of moves; however, being on the other end of the receiver is really a different experience. Originally, I was familiar with the Cha Cha slide however I had never danced the moves myself, so I first taught the sequence to myself. After a couple times of practicing I was successfully able to master all of the moves easily and of course listening to the lyrics helped a lot. However, when I tried to break down the sequence into individual steps, and teach it without the music to the class, it became quite a complex task, as it was easy to miss simple steps throughout the sequence or confuse the order of the moves at times. Therefore I had known the sequence as a whole, but following a top down approach in my head wasn’t always easy. I now have a different appreciation of my dance teachers who always showed patience when they taught and made it seem so effortless. Overall, I am proud of my team and for all of our efforts. This week’s topic also included technology, and my first reaction to the thought of incorporating technology into physical education was negative. When I thought about technology I thought about convenience and laziness. Physical education is supposed to make you move, break a sweat, go outdoors, and be social. After reading the chapter, I have realized there are a lot of great apps and devices that educators could incorporate into PE, but I still don’t entirely agree with them all and by no means can any of them replace any aspect of PE. Although I am open to including technology as a supplemental tool to reinforce ideas, for example Edmodo can be used in addition to PE activities to carry on conversations and discussions about physical education, but technology such as online games that promote physical activity should never replace PE. Even management apps such as team shake or scorekeepers are all great, however I think those are experiences that children need to engage in themselves to learn these skills. Finally, physical literacy encompasses social, emotional, and physical development, and all of these can’t be achieved through the mere use of technology.
While being introduced to the teaching game for understanding (TGFU) model, I began to think about the assessment techniques that value performance. Why is it that we assess learners on their performance when they are able to show an understanding of everything else?! The reality is that some children are not capable of learning a formal game of soccer and may never achieve success in their outcome or performance, but may appreciate the game of soccer and fully understanding the skills one needs to play the game. Therefore, I really like that we are moving away from techniques based approaches of learning sports and to a more concept based approach. However, its important for us, as educators, to be careful to not straight up tell the participants of the strategies and techniques that are involved in any game, and instead allow learners to discover them on their own. We will then facilitate their understanding, and once we allow them to figure out these skills, we will see an increase in their performance as well. I also like that this model is very much focused on the abilities and needs of the learner. This is represented in the last stage of the model in which the game is modified to adapt to the learner. Through observation, teachers can choose to exaggerate a move to make it more difficult or simpler. Finally, this model emphasis inclusion of all participants, which was nicely demonstrated by our group teach last week, in which no one was left out and competition was taken away. Great job Sam, Krystal, and Eric !
I really enjoyed our group teach on Net games. First of all, “CrossWall” which is a game that combines the sports of volleyball and Lacrosse was such a creative game idea to teach. Though many of us were new to Lacrosse, we were very familiar with the sport Volleyball; therefore, I think we were all demonstrating physical literacy when we were applying our foundational knowledge and skills of volleyball to a new game in a new context. Most importantly, we were provided with a safe environment that allowed us to explore our risks and limits. Whether planned or unplanned, I really loved the fact that the group adapted their lesson plan according to our abilities. Our team was clearly struggling with the lacrosse sticks, therefore being offered the option to play with a variety of balls instead, provided the opportunity for us to succeed which gave us confidence and forced us to become motivated to keep going and stay engaged. I think a well-structured lesson that gears around individual differences and abilities is really important to implement in the physical literacy environment that I will be providing for my students in order to prevent the feeling of failure among my students, and to provide them with competence and confidence instead. I want to focus on fun, respect, and maximum participation, while engaging my students in physical literacy.
I think it’s really comforting to know that many of us were in the same boat with our experiences with PE. Just like many, I have had my share of negative feelings towards PE while going to school, which was why as soon as PE became optional in grade 10; I decided to take dance instead. My problems revolved around many of the social issues that are often associated with PE. These include the practices that humiliate students for their abilities. For instance, the process of “trying out” for sports doesn’t really create equal opportunity to participate regardless of ability. I remember a list of names was posted on a wall indicating all the people who had made it on the team, and I remember how embarrassed I felt when my name wasn’t on that list. Not being able to participate because I wasn’t good enough took a huge toll on my self-esteem and self-confidence.
However, I am so excited to be moving forward with teaching PE while this steady shift has been taking place in health and physical education classes with more and more educators adopting a broader, more balanced approach to health and physical education as a reflection of the new curriculum. I believe careful planning by educators is needed in order to structure programs to promote the development of social values within sports. I believe all students should be encouraged to participate in a wide variety of physical activities, such as sports, dance, and fitness to learn which ones they enjoy most and thus create a commitment to active living throughout their lives.