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Arahoe School

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Most teachers shared an understanding of the importance of keeping the students physically active, and used a variety of grouping strategies to promote this.

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Aim/Focus: Curriculum

  • For 80% of our year 2, 4, and 6 students to communicate and demonstrate, where appropriate, their learning of physical education (PE)
    teaching programmes.

With the government’s focus on increasing students’ levels of physical activity (PA), we identified the need for professional development in the PE / PA area. When the opportunity to be involved in the 2-year School Community Physical Activity Project (SCPAP) presented itself, we saw this as an ideal way to provide our staff with the professional development they needed. Through our involvement, we aimed to develop our understanding of current approaches to teaching PE within a primary school setting.

Background

On our initial involvement in the SCPAP initiative, we set about developing a school-wide goal for PE. To set the goal, we needed to collect baseline data about what was currently happening with the teaching and learning of PE in our school. This took the form of teacher surveys and interviewing a sample of students.

Once the data had been collected and analysed, it was evident that teachers did not feel confident about teaching PE and the majority based their teaching on what they had experienced at school. Students saw PE as being solely about fitness and sport. What stood out was the need to narrow the gap between what we taught and students’ understanding of what they are learning.

Through consultation with the SCPAP facilitators, we developed our school goal and set about developing an action plan that would promote the ability of our students to communicate their learning about PE.

Phases/Steps

When the school was accepted into the 2-year initiative, it was decided that a Team Leader from each syndicate would attend all workshops and provide leadership for the rest of the staff. The team leaders, along with school management, scheduled staff meetings to pass on to staff all the knowledge gained from SCPAP workshops. This was supported by the SCPAP facilitators and relevant outside agencies.

From here, each team leader carried out specific staff development at syndicate level, relevant to students’ age and level of ability. During this time, the syndicates would develop their own success criteria for the learning experiences the students would undertake. Team leaders also set up a mentoring programme for staff to receive individual support in developing their PE teaching.

The staff professional development was structured around the context of Teaching Games for Understanding (TGFU) and how teachers could provide learning experiences for our students that could be easily transferred into their everyday PA. To help our students meet the school’s PE goal, a staff meeting was held with the SCPAP facilitator to help staff develop effective questioning skills.

Team leaders were also responsible for planning relevant units based on what they learned at the SCPAP workshops, providing age-appropriate learning experiences, and sourcing the equipment needed to provide a positive and rewarding PE experience.

Outcomes

Students and teachers were surveyed again, using the same questions as at the start of the initiative. The results indicated:

  • Teachers are using What Are we Learning Today (WALTs) success criteria and peer modelling when teaching PE.
  • Teachers are moving away from a skills-based approach to teaching PE.
  • Not all students are able to communicate what they are learning or why they are learning it.
  • Students are not making links between the WALTs and what they are doing.

Analysis of the data showed there was significant improvement in teachers’ understanding and teaching of PE. They felt more confident and better supported when engaged in teaching their students PE. Most teachers shared an understanding of the importance of keeping the students physically active, and used a variety of grouping strategies to promote this. More work was needed to improve students’ ability to communicate their learning. While the use of WALTs and success criteria were evident, these needed to be referred to and revisited in subsequent lessons so that students had the opportunity to internalise them.

Reflection

Strengths

  • Transfer of knowledge during syndicate/staff meetings
  • Flow-on from workshops to the next term’s plans
  • Questioning techniques – students becoming reflective thinkers
  • Expert modelling – feedback/feed forward
  • Student enjoyment/involvement in PE
  • Ability grouping
  • Support from management
  • Different learning contexts
  • Variety of equipment.

Weaknesses

  • Structuring time – mentoring other staff, expo, long-term plans
  • Teachers finding it difficult to manage students and adapt teaching styles
  • Weather limiting the amount of PE throughout the school
  • Space/environment to cater for a large number of classrooms.

Opportunities

  • Developing a quality, needs-based planning approach to aquatics
  • Involving outside agencies.

Threats

  • Teacher buy-in
  • Finance
  • Change in school or government focus.

Successes

  • Case study
  • School acceptance
  • Forward thinking
  • Teacher confidence in teaching PE
  • Students using PE vocabulary
  • Students transferring knowledge of PE into PA
  • Students sharing knowledge with others.

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