Professional Development Teaching and Learning

The Challenge of Teaching PE

I’ve always liked a quote that is attributed* to William Butler Yeats, ‘education is not about filling a bucket but lighting a fire‘.  This has suggested to me that there is going to be an element of risk within education. If you stay in teaching long enough you can end up on auto-pilot. You start going through the motions. I think this state is neither good for yourself or for the children in your care. Auto-pilot mode assumes an interaction between mechanical parts, and anything involving human beings needs to allow for fluid and flexible actions.

One of the ways to snap out of those auto-pilot moments is to take a challenge and push yourself. It’s tough to do because we naturally seek out comfort and safety. Also challenge and change requires energy and time that we feel we don’t have. However challenge is important. It doesn’t just help you grow your skills and knowledge, it helps you grow your belief. Obviously there’s a difference between taking on a challenge that lets you flex your muscles and grow and one that is a recipe for disaster for yourself and the children. Try to always have something going on that stretches you. Something that makes you wonder if you’re actually going to be able to do it. You will never fulfill even a fraction of your potential by sticking to the safe and comfortable. Why? Because the safe and comfortable never forces you to rise to the occasion. It never offers the weight or resistance needed to strengthen you. Challenging oneself is itself an act of persistence and habit. It gets easier overtime as we try it. Challenge also makes the time you spend much more memorable. Self confidence can grow through it and we need as much as we can get in our relentless profession.

Here are all the PE challenges I have shared recently. I would love you to set some for me.

No. 1 – Talk to every child in your class about their physical activity outside of lessons.

No. 2 – Plan and teach a flipped class from @MY_PE_EXAM

No. 3 – Start and end a lesson with Small Sided Games from @ DrDickB

No. 4 – Give verbal feedback to each individual within your class

No. 5 – Go and observe another PE teacher or Sports Coach

N0. 6 – Introduce an element of group processing into your teaching via @DrAshCasey

No. 7 – Correct as well as Critique 

No. 8 – Plan your questions in advance

Try setting the bar higher one inch at a time. Try small sustainable changes that are more likely to stick. Try taking on a small challenge. Try making challenge part of your routine. I know it is a risk and that you might fail. Failure is always going to be a risk but it is also a mark of aspiration and of aiming higher.

Seems my long held belief that this quote was by WB Yeates might be misplaced.

By @ImSporticus

Lecturer in PE, Sport and Physical Activity. Helping others to flourish through movement.

2 replies on “The Challenge of Teaching PE”

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