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We Wear Shorts

A blog by a PE teacher, for PE teachers.

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Handball in PE – on the rise, or just another “alternative curriculum activity”?

I was fortunate enough to watch some Olympic men’s handball at London 2012, and it was enthralling – fast-paced, tactical, aggressive, and goals galore. Coincidentally, 2012 was when I started my teaching career, and I took my experience of handball into my first school and introduced it into the KS4 curriculum for both boys and girls.

3 years passed with year 10 and 11 students participating in handball. As a department, we thought it gave students a fresh outlook on team ball games, and relied on very basic skills that made it accessible and enjoying for less able students. A great success, right?

Continue reading “Handball in PE – on the rise, or just another “alternative curriculum activity”?”

Will “Pokemon Go” contribute to an increase in physical activity amongst young people?

Whether you are a gamer or not, you would have had to have been living under a rock to miss the phenomenon that has swept the world upon its release this week – Pokemon Go. In essence it is simply a video game, but the significant difference with this game to any others is it requires players to physical explore the world around them, walking, running and cycling to discover Pokemon in the surrounding area. Niantic, the game designers, are reportedly making $1.6 million a day, and the game is rapidly soaring to the top of the app with the most active daily users worldwide. This for a game that was only released last week in the US, and on Thursday in the UK. But my key interest in the phenomenon is this – should members of the PE and health community embrace a video game if it is getting young people more active?

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GCSE PE -“But I wasn’t here for that lesson, Sir”

I am nearing the end of my first full year teaching GCSE PE, and there are some major barriers that I would like to improve upon next year

  1. Students missing lessons and accepting that they have missed content
  2. Students completing homework to an inadequate standard
  3. Chasing students who fail to complete homework

With the new specifications increasing the theoretical weighting of the course, I feel now is the time to try and combat these problems to improve the quality of learning being experienced by my students. Let’s take them one at a time.

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Finding Strength in our Weaknesses

Last week, I passed my biannual lifeguard test for the third time – quite a normal thing for a PE teacher working at a school with a swimming pool to do. However, despite passing it twice before, this test is something that I still find challenging.

Turn the clock back seven years and I was a first year undergrad student at the University of Brighton completing the practical swimming assessment. In a cohort of 70 students, I was the only one to receive a grade low enough for this assessment to receive a fail; I received 20% for the practical element, and despite smashing the theory side, still did not earn enough credits. This is hardly surprising – when I was younger, I received a handful of swimming sessions through primary school, but never privately. I rarely went swimming with friends, and had few holidays abroad where a pool was readily available. It just wasn’t a skill I had much chance to practise. Continue reading “Finding Strength in our Weaknesses”

Rounders – is it time to end our love affair?

Visit any primary or secondary school in England on a warm summer’s day and you will likely see a game of rounders on the playing fields. I have yet to experience a school where rounders is not part of the summer curriculum, and in fact it is quite often part of the very fabric that people associate with summer term as a whole. But here is the question I have been posing of late – why? What is it with this sport that makes it such a staple part of what we do as PE teachers? Continue reading “Rounders – is it time to end our love affair?”

Benevolence as restraint in PE – 4 years on

I recently stumbled across an essay I wrote, in collaboration with my colleague and former housemate Sam Franklin, as an undergrad final year student at the University of Brighton. As most scholarly essays do, it had a wonderfully catchy title:

A critical discussion into the role that Physical Education can play in the perpetuation of male and female gender stereotypes, as a result of “benevolence as restraint’” (Larson et al, 2009), the subsequent impact this has on the quality of Physical Education available to all pupils, and ways in which this can be combatted.”

We wrote this for a unit entitled “Sociological trends in PE”, and I don’t mind admitting that it received a pretty stellar mark.

Continue reading “Benevolence as restraint in PE – 4 years on”

“Well done for not punching anyone!” The irony of behaviour reward systems.

As well as being a PE teacher, I am also a year 7 form tutor. Previously, I have only been involved with KS4 forms, so this is the first year I have truly seen first hand the impact of the whole school reward system (it is not used at all with KS4 students). At the time of writing this, the student in my form with the most yellow stickers (awarded for outstanding work or improved attitude behaviour) happens to be the same student who has the most negative behaviour entries, including a short-term, temporary exclusion to his name. Herein lies my biggest issue with our school reward system, and is the primary reason why I have set out to create a staff working group designed to completely revamp the system we use. As the tongue in cheek title of this post suggests, there is an over-representation of rewarding naughty students simply for not being naughty.

Continue reading ““Well done for not punching anyone!” The irony of behaviour reward systems.”

Joining in – is it ever OK?

Let me start by being completely transparent – I am aware AfPE guidelines dictate that joining in with students in PE lessons is a no no, largely due to safety and liability reasons. However, my aim in writing this post is to suggest the situation should not be so black and white, and in fact there are several scenarios within PE that I believe it is something that can benefit the students we teach.

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Why I might banish football from PE entirely

I remember as a trainee teacher one of my lecturers, Jon Binney, telling me something that, at the time, I found highly controversial:

“If I would get rid of any activity from the PE curriculum, it would be football.”

Now, as a spritely 19 year old I thought this was a ludicrous claim to make. “Get rid of football – but it’s our national game!”. Fast forward 6 years and I now see exactly where Jon was coming from, because I myself am beginning to think the same thing. I would like to remove football from the KS3 curriculum for boys. Let me be clear at this point that I consider football to be my favourite sport as I have both watched and played it my entire life, so on a personal level I have a deep love for the sport.

Continue reading “Why I might banish football from PE entirely”

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