Models Based Approach
The curriculum at my school is adapting a multiple models based approach to activities year by year to meet its ultimate aim. That is to ensure that children have the knowledge, understanding, competency and confidence to stay fit and healthy for life beyond school. However PE has the potential to be much more than this, including offering the opportunities to develop personal and social values and skills. The Sport Education model does this to some extent, but I feel it works better when developing leadership skills. The Sport Education units of work we do for tag rugby and 5-a-side football work very well in developing students to become more competent, enthusiastic and physically literate sports players.
Don Hellison provided a model that can help us teach responsibility through physical activity. This models based approach to PE has a focus on students to become more caring by giving opportunities to support and help each other through sport. Ultimately it would want to take this attitude from inside the classroom to the wider school community and to world they live in. Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TSPR) is best summarised by this quote direct from Hellison himself:
‘Helping students take personal and social responsibility, in part means sharing power with the students and shifting decision making on to them. TSPR does not mean getting inside the kids’ heads but getting them inside their own heads’.
Year 9 Wrestling TSPR Unit of Work
Main outcomes of the this unit are to teach students how to build muscular strength and muscular endurance and also to develop responsibility, through the activity of wrestling.
It wasn’t a sport I was particularly knowledgable about, or comfortable teaching. I have worked hard on rectifying this, but I still need to learn more. One element that I took out of the unit of work were throws and takedowns. None of the teachers had the right knowledge and skills to teach this properly and safely. So we have adapted a form of wrestling ourselves that we call ‘lift’ and ‘down’ wrestling. If there is someone with more knowledge on wrestling, that could help improve the content to this unit of work I would love to hear from you.
Students are given responsibility to set themselves up into ‘weight category’ groups. The only criteria for them deciding is that safety is paramount. This usually works well, but may need advice from the teacher. They then tend to stay in these groups for the rest of the unit of work, almost like a mini Sports Education model.
Each lesson is split up into 4 main sections: 1. Warm-up 2. Strength work 3. Skill work 4. Competition. In sections 1 to 3 there are always teacher led elements and pupil led elements. Section 4 is fully pupil led.
In this lesson we introduce basic wrestling moves through ‘sock’ wrestling. Students win the bout by removing a sock from their opponent, but they are not allowed on to their feet at any point. We discuss the importance of safety, especially illegal moves, how to observe them and what to do if they see them.
In this lesson we introduce ‘lift wrestling’. The object of lift wrestling is to get your opponent off balance, by getting both their feet off the ground for a fraction of a second. This would in proper freestyle or greco-roman wrestling allow for throws or take downs. As said previously we neither have the experience or ability to teach this well or safely. The lift wrestling bout is finished when the officiator judges both feet to be off the ground of a wrestler. The teachers responsibility is to make it very clear to both the officials and wrestlers that they have a duty of care in this aspect. The winner of the lift bout is given a point and can decide the starting positions of the sock wrestling, which then continues afterwards, once the official ensures everything is safe.
In this lesson sock wrestling is replaced by down wrestling. This is basic wrestling on the ground with pins. The teacher sets the problem to students to develop their own scoring system of wrestling and then implement it, however they may need some guidance from the teacher on this. This is really where the TPSR comes into play. A lot of the scoring rules are subjective and to the officials judgement. This can cause some potential issues, especially due to the contact nature of the lessons. Management of these issues, through questioning, self reflection and group discussion are essential to both prevent injury and empowering the students, enabling them in making decisions, in helping engage themselves and others safely in activity.
This lesson is about refining and developing the skills and rules that each weight category has put in place. Time for practice, group discussion and self reflection is needed within this lesson. If there are problems with the scoring or with students these need to be rectified within the group. The main problems that occur for me is inconsistency of points being awarded, dangerous play and certain students not being competitive. The groups are expected to find ways to work together and over come these issues, such as awarding certain wrestlers with a points advantage or bringing in a second official to help spot dangerous play.
In this lesson the students on each mat are expected to run their own round robin tournament. Rules and fixtures are expected to be prepared via Edmodo for homework. The group is expected to contribute and agree to the finalise rules. Everyone must take on roles of responsibility and this has to be put into the tournament structure. The lesson is then given over to the the pupil led wrestling tournament.
Post lesson self-evaluation
This is a key part to TSPR. After each lesson, at home, via Edmodo, students are to complete a self evaluation form. These reflections help me to engage in conversations about their personal and social behaviours within the wrestling group. Six lessons isn’t enough to get students behaviours to change, but they do start to challenge them and make them think on their interactions with others in a sporting context. This builds throughout the year, and I can often see occasional changes especially in students that struggle in social and sporting contexts.
Obviously this isn’t a true TPSR model. Like any models based approach it is adapted to suit my schools context with the staff expertise and children we have. I like it as a model that starts to challenge students behaviour and perceptions in a group dynamic. I think it would be adapted well to a unit of work where students had to design their own game. Anything where you can give students decisions that have an impact on others will create opportunities for them to reflect on those decisions and the consequences. At times it can be difficult to implement and manage. Ultimately it can be rewarding to see students have a shift in attitude and start to care and look after their peers, and empower them in a dynamic social setting, hopefully taking that into their life outside of the classroom.