Sunday, October 14, 2012

My job is tough...

But someone's gotta do it! ;)


Besides dancing like a rockstar with my students,  I have been busy pursuing more professional development.  Namely, the MYP Intro to teaching PE online course.  Although I am currently teaching in an AP school, I am taking this course to improve my abilities as a teacher, and marketability as a professional.  I first learned about this course from my colleagues in Mallorca (TCNJ M.Ed program).  So far, I've been interacting with teachers from Wyoming to Russia, Singapore to India, and everywhere in between.  It's been really fun to read about other people's experiences teaching PE in various conditions and settings.  I am blessed to be in a school that is well-run and resources are plentiful.  I think team collaboration, communication and curriculum need development, but hey; one step at a time.

Here's some questions and notes I have been pondering for the first introduction module:


Do most schools hire a third party vendor to write the HPE curriculum, or do the curriculum departments do all the work, or do the HPE teachers sit down and write out curriculum for a day, few days, few weeks?  During summer break or during the school year?  I'm curious to know how other schools do their curriculum writing.

I'm not really convinced small class sizes are good 100% of the time for PE instruction. Some days I miss having 40 kids on my roster, to have lots of students for tournaments, and so everyone has at least one friend/partner to work with.  Although I really enjoy teaching my classes now of 15-20 students when we are working on more individualized units like rock climbing and personal fitness.  Overall, I think it would be a challenge to come up with lesson plans to teach team sports like volleyball or basketball with 5-10 students in the class.

How long does it take for all of the departments to horizontally line up their curriculum?  A few weeks? months? a year (gulp!)?  I would love to see our departments working together to provide more efficient interdisciplinary instruction.

What are some other activities we could all use (such as golfing, speed-skating, rock climbing, bowling, bicycling) that are alternative/non-traditional/cost-effective and relatively easy to implement?

I really like this goal: our school is working on a better connection with the neighborhood schools.  Here in Shanghai we have a bilingual Chinese/English school directly next door, and we have very limited interaction with them.  There is also a British school the next street over (same situation).  But we have students flying to Guam, and Japan, etc for interscholastic events--it doesn't really make sense to me.  While I think the international schools are wonderful for promoting a global perspective and actively traveling a lot, I think it's also a disservice to our TCK students who would benefit from a "neighborhood" culture, where they know all the kids in their compound, and not just the ones who go to their school.  In either case, maybe that would help all of us with facility issues, if we hold PE classes at different schools/community fields/spaces once in awhile.

Your PE curriculum predominantly focuses on athletic agility, endurance, sport conditioning and competitive play.  What research has your program utilized to suggest this is the best method for this age group?  How does your curriculum address the other components of wellness and fitness?  You mentioned your department considers the child's performance not just in the PE class, but in the real time competitions.  Are the students receiving a grade for these events?

NOW COMES THE HARD HITTING, MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION!

PE is still considered a second-class subject, despite teaching in totally different ways than years past.  What can we as educators do, to promote our field?  To let others know that PE is as important as math, science, etc?

From my moderator, a principal in Uzbekistan:

A great comment Laura - how do we "let others know about the importance of PE"! In my experience this is best done through the development of delving into conceptual understanding for our students and the relevant connection of those to their real life.

When our students see what they are learning as important and we plan our teaching to explore important concepts then they will take their learnings back to their other classes -- "We did this in PE ....", "hey this is the same as what we were talking about in PE", "how about using ..... from PE to solve this problem". When other teachers start to hear these type things, they begin to value what we have to offer.

Unfortunately it is a bit of an uphill battle as many teachers in their past experience did not themselves enjoy or learn much in PE so they devalue it. Get involved in your learning community, show off and be proud of the things you do, show your assessments and student work, take an active role in your professional learning community, lead workshops for other teachers, be an early adopter of technology, etc.

I can tell from the discussion that is already taking place here that students are getting a great experience in your classes - sometimes we have to promote what we do to get that value! I think that also we have to be our own advocates - fight for the time, fight for extra facilities, bring out the data and research, and get the school leaders on your side.



I totally agree with the key points she has made about being an advocate for PE.  I am presenting "Dance choreography, improvisation and collaboration using technology" this week for my colleagues, and although I doubted my abilities to do this project, I am going to push forward, because I am proud of the work I have accomplished, teaching dance in a way that most PE teachers don't.  I am proud to present my expertise as a dancer, and show my colleagues that arts integration practices are important to the learning profile of a 21st century learner.  Students must be collaborative thinkers, problem solvers and globally aware.  I think dance is a great avenue for young people to express their feelings in a safe way, and they should know how to move in a more meaningful way than the electric slide (no offense to the 90s).


That being said, today I hope you dance.  

paz.amor.felicidad siempre <3

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