PE Play Book

The PE Play Book – July 2019 Edition

The PE in the title will take on two meanings; Physical Education but also Practice Focused and Evidence Informed. What do I mean by Practice Focused and Evidence Informed?

Practice Focused Evidence Informed
Purpose of Curriculum Theory and Research
Content of Curriculum My own experience of teaching
Teaching of Curriculum Subjective Data
Reflection on purpose, content and teaching Objective Data

PE Teachers have at their disposal a range of verbal (instruction, questioning, feedback) and non-verbal (demonstration, observation and time spent on practice) modes of communication to help children to learn knowledge and acquire skills. Part of developing the craft of teaching PE is to refine these techniques, whilst at the same time learning when and where they are best implemented. Refinement is easier than professional judgement and decision making, but both are required if you want to become a better teacher.

An issue I have (and still have) is confusing instruction with questioning. For example – ‘Why didn’t you make that pass to the free player?’ isn’t really a question. It’s an instruction disguised as a question and that usually means we aren’t really interested in their answer. If we feel it is appropriate to instruct, then we should instruct, there is no reason to dress it up. However if we want to gain a better insight onto what they know, understand or perceive, or to guide individual and collaborative reflection on experience in a effort to define problems and come up with solutions then questioning has to be improved.

Here are four techniques that I have implemented into my practice that have improved my questioning and raised the quality of reflection from pupils:

4 techniques that I have implemented into my practice that have improved my questioning technique and raised the quality of the reflections and answers of the pupils I teach.

Numbered Heads Together in Cooperative Learning in Physical Education and Physical Activity by Ben Dyson and Ashley Casey

  • Pupils are in groups, each pupils is assigned a number in that group.
  • Teacher poses a problem or a question.
  • Each pupil thinks of the correct response or a solution.
  • Members of the group come together to share their response and discuss which is most appropriate.
  • Group decides on a group answer.
  • Pupils sit down when they have agreed the answer.
  • Teacher calls or group and number at random, the pupil who has that number assigned has to answer the question on behalf of the group.
  • Rest of the group can support, when called upon.
  • Teacher can ask for different types of response, such as a practical demonstration, whiteboard written answer or an individual explanation.

The Debate of Ideas in Teaching and Learning Team Sports and Games by Jean-Grancis Grehaigne, Jean-François Richard and Linda Griffin

  • Teacher has a pre-prepared list of generic questions.
  • Often used to generate dialogue and reflection during a ‘time-out’ when playing team sports in lessons, but can be adapted to other activities with planning.
  • Example Framework:
    • Can you identify the particular strengths of your opposition team?
    • What things did you do to cope with these strengths in the previous game?
    • What sort of things does your team need to do to counteract the strengths of the opposition team?
    • How will you do what you have mentioned in question 3 in order to be effective in the next part of the game?
  • The framework of questions can be written down on a resource to be used at an appropriate point in the lesson.
  • The teacher can listen to the dialogue that the framework initiates and step-in if needs be, or can lead the dialogue
  • Teacher should facilitate discussion through probing questions such as ‘Please tell me more about that’ or ‘What happened then?’ to further encourage dialogue between the pupils.

Wait Time in How to Teach Like a Champion 2.0 by Doug Lemov

  • Be patient and wait after asking a question. Don’t ask the first person who raises their hands.
  • Very simple and effective, but I find very difficult to implement.
  • After asking a question, a teacher typically waits a second or two before taking an answer. Wait time asks you to extend that time.
  • “The answers the teacher can expect to get after less than a second’s reflections aren’t likely to be the richest, the most reflective, or the most developed.”
  • I have found asking pupils to challenge their original answer in their head helpful tactic, not just it improves the quality of their answer, but helps me to wait before asking for an answer.
  • Other tactics that Lemov offers to help is to narrate the amount of hands being put up, prompting what to do during their thinking time or explicitly saying how long they have to think and come up with an answer. All three are enhanced by some extended silent time to help children think.

Probe them like Socrates in Making every lesson count by Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby

  • The key purpose of this technique is to challenge the completeness and accuracy of thinking via six levels of questioning.
  • Level 1 – Getting pupils to clarify their answer (for example asking if they could explain it further).
  • Level 2 – Challenge or probe their assumptions (for example asking whether their answer is always the case).
  • Level 3 – Demand evidence (for example asking if they could provide an example).
  • Level 4 – Look for the alternative perspective (for example asking if there is a counterargument to their original answer).
  • Level 5 – Exploring the consequence (for example asking if this happened what would then be the result).
  • Level 6 – Questioning the question (for example asking why they think that question was asked in the first place).
  • Get to a point where pupils themselves can ask these different levels of questions when involved in group dialogue.

By @ImSporticus

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

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