Is Physical Education only about cues and drills ?

We can teach differently.

“The teacher must adopt the role of facilitator not content provider.” Lev S. Vygotsky

This morning when I went to school, I had settled my lesson: enter in the relay race activity introducing games like Happy Families.

Coloring Page Of A Family #539351
(License: Personal Use).

I asked each team to choose their family. My topic was based on health and Well being and I found a free download on fruit and vegetables family. Bingo ! They decided who they wanted to be.

I began my session with grade 6, asking my pupils to group by 5 or 6. I already knew that each family in my game holds 7 members but as it was a relay race and the probabilities to sort out the right card each time are quasi nul, I knew pupils would pass several times.

(French version)à%20imprimer.pdf

I drew a circle in the middle of the field and put the cards face hidden in the center.

Each group had to wait the departure signal at each corner of the field. What was the aim ? To collect the entire family while waiting for a member of the team to come back at the starting corner. If the card sorted was not the good one, pupils had to put it down on the hidden face.

In the middle the cards are waiting to be collected.

After several passages, almost 3 to 5 minutes, happy families were reconstituted. Pupils were satisfied and wanted to change the aim of the activity to make it more difficult : to sort only a given member of the family such as the grand father or the mother, the son…

What happened ?

1. The activity was transformed because of the pupils’ historicity path. They all played Happy Families when they were children and being in Physical Education with a game that they already knew offered them other possibilities to express their agency.

2. The relay race was not an approach like a stick to transmit but a card to collect. The purpose was the same but the means were different. It was more accessible for these children who found pleasure and joy performing the activity.

3. Considering the Physical Activity level of practice , they ran more than if we had decided to apply the relay race unit. In fact, the running time was fast for the runner, they had to pass several times and to be concentrated not to lose their turn.

I let you try this activity in your class and expect your feedback. I am sure your pupils will love it… I still use this activity as a warm up for some physical activities.

Creative and Critical Thinker

Yesterday evening my daughter asked me to be magic. So I racked my brain and said to myself : ‘why not create a clue game !’. A good idea to work together on reading and maths !

So, I created the clue discovery game with some treasure to find. A letter was waiting for her at the entrance of her room and when she woke up this morning, she was astonished to find the first clue and was saying that I was magic. This is the best reward that I had from my daughter.

She enjoyed playing and discovering the game, reflecting on the riddles. One of her presents was a book about a love story between Mapa gloves.It is a really creative, humorous and moving book.

When you open it, the drawing is very bright and so realistic that you can see all the various details: a bottle cap is a hat, a nail brush is a dog, thimbles are glasses. The creativity is astonishing and seducing.

This is the way to consider Creativity. Achieved with real-life material and moulded into another shape to destabilize and enable you to become a critical thinker.

Une histoire d’amour, Gilles Bachelet, Seuil Jeunesse.

Let’s talk about active theory and creative thinking in Physical Education

We are aware that our contemporary society has changed and moved toward new skills and literacy either in digital world or in education. If critical pedagogy ( Kirk, 2020) develops social justice and equity, this theory also tries to capture the instaneous information that you can collect, and helps pupils to select the good ones and to be critical ( Wright, 2004).

‘Living in such times has effects on how young people think about and do schooling’.

Wright, 2004.

My project ATCT PE encompasses this way to be a critical thinker but in an active and creative mode.

As Ken Robinson says ‘ do schools kill creativity?’ ( 2007), this postulate has led me to think about schooling and Physical Education. Why can’t we leave pupils to be the creators of their knowledge building ( Bereiter).

Imagine that you are climbing the North face of a hill without any equipment and that your goal is to succeed. You will never get your dream to be true.

I’m not here to claim for some magic matter but I want to introduce a new way of thinking, a new way of looking at the world, a new way to capture what happens around us.

Let’s go back to my example, you are the climber on the North face and you have a fabulous equipment: a climbing harness, ropes, and crampons.You are more likely to achieve the ascent, aren’t you ?

Imagine that the equipment is artefacts that help you to climb , they will help you to overcome some difficult situations: a slippery hold, a fragile rock… The equipment helps you to meet your goal.

My project ATCT PE is a project based on artefacts that you have to overcome and it stimulates new answers to the contradiction that you are confronted with. Indeed, in this case, the artefacts are visual material that pupils have to assemble into a code.

You will say coding ? How does it happen in PE ? Education and Physical Education have to update and to introduce digital modernity in a creative and active mode.

Huge numbers of STEAM lessons use computational thinking as a creative and problem solving tool. It is as if you have to make a salad listing different components to create it ( Caldwell & Smith).

My first writing

Hi Everybody,

I have decided to share my research with you about my topic which is a new vision of learning in Physical Education. I am a PE teacher and I have been confronted to various problems during my teaching sessions so that I have wondered how to help pupils to have a voice and be empowered at school while developing the 21st century skills. I want to focus on an authentic and meaningful learning using an innovative framework in Physical Education : the Activity Theory ( Engeström, 1987).

“Knowledge is considered the fruit of human activities or the artefacts and tools produced historically by human beings and then crystallized in social and cultural activities that form the backdrop in which any learning is developed”

Vygotsky, 1934

This is my first blog . I will post different items as I will conduct this research. The aim of the blog is to share with you and to grow with you. It is the reason why I call it an expanding blog : we will improve together, change the purpose, reflect on the subject and in the end grow on the topic.

Don’t forget to follow me and to subscribe! 😉

More about me

I have been a PE Teacher in Secondary School for more than 10 years now. I have worked in different schools from “disadvantaged” ones to “classic” ones, if I can say so. Before being a PE teacher I have been a Personal Trainer and a Recreational Supervisor. Even if the positions I have had before being a PE teacher were very interesting and gave me a good feedback , I find that I have to share with children my vision and my passion of sport and physical education.

Recently I have decided to upgrade my career and to enroll in a PhD in Education.

The reasons that lead me to this decision were as follows :

  • Pupils are not enough interested in what they learn in school and are not really concerned by the content.
  • A lack of motivation is increasing during our lesson and we need to fix a new kind of teaching to give our pupils the power on what they learn.
  • Our profession is in evolution and even if teachers are devoted to their work they suffer from the task they have to complete: rules and regulation, less creativity in their work, a lack of consideration.
  • “PE teachers are lucky , aren’t they ? Every child likes to go in sport lessons”. This is the type of sentence that I’m used to hearing. Is this phrase a reality?