I am getting more and more excited to teach PE as I am realizing more and more that it isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a space for athletically advantaged students to play dodgeball and run laps. I’m so glad that the Hall of Shame articles focussed on emotional safety as well as physical safety in PE classes. As we have been getting deeper into our coursework, an obvious theme is inquiry and I am thinking more about how to encourage inquiry in PE. I would really like to diversify students’ sense of what physical activity means and work with them to start exploring their understanding of physical and mental wellbeing through inquiry thinking! I’m so happy that the story of PE is changing from the militaristic style physical training to a more wholesome education on health and wellbeing. I was also considering competition in PE, and while I do believe that it is important to instil a sense of friendly competition in kids, I also am glad that there is a shift away from competition being the primary focus of physical education. I was considering dodgeball and how I might modify it away from its “shameful” characteristics, and realized that you can still teach the same skills (accuracy, throwing, etc.) by having a group on one side of the gym throwing balls at objects that are set up on the other side. Each object has assigned points (big = more points, small = less points) and the class as a whole is trying to get as many points as possible. Record how many points you get in each round, and try to beat the group score every time you play! That way you’re challenging your personal best every time.
I thought the group who lead the “Target Game” on Friday did very well. Their activities were well planned and the timing and transitions were great. They also did a fantastic job of explaining the readings, such as the history of PE, and they came up with interesting discussion questions. The part I liked the most was how they demonstrated that games which use humans as targets, such as dodgeball, are not appropriate to teach in PE class. When Steve mentioned this last week I was very surprised, because as a kid, I loved dodgeball and had always enjoyed playing it. My other thought was, it’s just a game so why do we have to take it so seriously? However, from last class’s games and discussion, I realized that no matter how well the instructions are explained, students can still unintentionally hit people in the head. If this can happen with us adults, it will be even harder to prevent it in a younger class. Also, I agreed with the point mentioned that maybe we can just laugh it off when we get hit, but kids might feel bad if he/she is the first one out. Therefore, I liked the revised version our teaching group came up with. In the modified version, the targets were not people, no one will be out alone, and the underhanded throw prevented hitting people above their shoulders. If I have a chance to teach PE in my practicum, I will definitely consider using this activity in my classroom.
I must point out how much fun I had on Thursday doing the Flash Mob with all the Elementary TC’s. I was motivated by the instructor; she was so enthusiastic and encouraging, getting us to dance along with her, and to BE fun. I know at the begging I was very worried about other people looking at me and thinking I was dancing strange. But as it went on, I knew all of us were doing the same thing. We were all just letting loose, laughing and enjoying ourselves.
This inspired me to want to teach in a similar way as her, very motivating and encouraging. Being able to teach in a fun environment like we experience on Thursday was very beneficial. This type of environment allows people to learn easily, especially if they see the environment as being a safe and warm place. I was a little nervous thinking of myself trying to teach such a dance class when I am not a great dancer myself. But I remember seeing YouTube videos where they show the dance moves to popular songs. They show the movements, you just have to follow along on the screen with the music. These videos are only 3-4 minutes long, so they could be used as a brain break in the classroom, or you could bring this idea into the gym and have a full PE class of dancing along to these videos.
Get up and DANCE! YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOeebil3eKY
Going to P.E. for the first time this term I rushed through the unfamiliar landscape of UBC, hoping that I’d make it on time. When I arrived I was surprised to see everyone at “free play” and instantly joined in the self-guided fun. Being free to do what I enjoy and feel comfortable with was a welcoming experience. As we moved to more directed activities, that comfortable feeling continued. I appreciated how this free, fun learning environment was created, and would like to replicate it in my own practice. I have a lot to learn as my experience is very limited. One thing I’d like to know is how to differentiate my teaching in PE to reach all kinds of learners. I’d like to create this fun, inclusive environment for children of all backgrounds.
Throughout elementary and high school, PE was always my favourite class!! However, the frustrations that came along with this class were endless. Even though I loved PE, I would never have said that I was better than average in any of the sports we played. I was often picked last for teams, and despite the enjoyment I got from PE, and my strong willingness to participate in every activity, I often received C’s, and even a C- at some point. This was extremely disappointing to me and made me feel that I shouldn’t have even bothered to try. Not being recognized for making an effort and bullies made PE less and less enjoyable for myself. It is only in the last five years that I can begun to enjoy physical activity once again as I realize that even though I’m not especially great at certain sports, I enjoy these activities!
For this movement journal I decided to ask my boyfriend what his experiences were in elementary PE. He also experienced bullying, but he said that this was specific to playing basketball or soccer, specifically relating to when he couldn’t score a goal. I asked him if he was ever picked last for a sport and he recounted one time when he was picked second-to-last when they were picking teams for handball. What is interesting is how this resonates with youth. Such a small act as being picked second-to-last in handball is remembered in adulthood, twenty years after the experience occurred. This is why we, as teacher candidates, need to make a different to children’s lives by not emphasizing competitive sports, but instead, supporting a active and fun environment, where the importance of teamwork is the focal point.
I enjoy our P.E class and I look forward to class every week. However, as others pointed out, it wasn’t always like this. I was a very shy kid back in elementary and I wasn’t athletic. P.E was a class I dreaded attending in elementary school because my P.E teacher didn’t like me and I wasn’t good at sports. I really liked today’s class and last week’s class because of the safe environment where everyone can participate regardless of level and skill.
Today when we started with dodgeball I was surprised at first because I knew that it was a part of the P.E Hall of Shame. Later on, they explained to us that it was an example of why these games should not be played and I thought it was clever that they made a modification to dodgeball.
Even though it’s only been 2 classes, I realized that there have been a lot of positive changes in P.E classes and the P.E curriculum. First of all, there is less of a focus on students who excel and more of a focus on inclusiveness. Physical Education should be fun for all students and it shouldn’t just be a time for the athletic students to show off their skills. I really appreciate the new mindset on teaching P.E which looks more at the student’s effort than their talent. I think key concepts in teaching P.E include patience, encouragement and inclusiveness. I’m really glad our class was able to have fun and encourage each other.