Drowning in the Shallow 2019-in-review

Stop worrying “Who am I?” There is not a single you, nor should there be. Embrace the richness and complexity of human existence, work to integrate the contradictions, actively cultivate your favourite selves, and view other humans with the same understanding and compassion.
10 most read posts of 2019 10 most read posts written in 2019
4 domains of learning in Physical Education (written in 2015)

Physical Education is a contested subject and will always remain to be so. Should we PE Teachers focus on the physical, or should we focus on the education? A Twitter survey of PE Teachers on what makes a good student of PE suggests that the education is held in higher regard than the physical.

Physical Education: The Antidote or the Poison?

There doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by where one agency or another espouses the power of PE to solve one or more of societies ills. However, before we look to PE to be an antidote, shouldn’t we make sure the experience of it isn’t a poison.

What is a ‘constraints led approach’? (written in 2016)

Constraints led approach is a relatively new approach to skill acquisition. By manipulating constraints in highly specific and systematic way we can educate a performers attention to perceptual information or encourage them to come up with a different movement solution.

Advocating for Meaningful Experiences in PE

If we want PE to be valued and embraced by all then perhaps, we need to give our subjective experiences of movement a more central part in our PE curriculum.

A Models Based Approach to PE: Cooperative Learning (written in 2016)

An overview of how I have tried to move away from traditional DEP (demonstrate, explain and practice) style of teaching athletics to one that was underpinned by the benchmarks of cooperative learning.

Physical Literacy: What’s your flavour?

There is a growing usage of the term physical literacy within the field of PE, youth sport and physical activity. This post attempts to explore and clarify some ways it is being used and possibly for what ends.

4 domains of learning in Physical Education – Refined  (written in 2016)

This post explores how I tried to develop a coherent and clear language around four learning domains within Physical Education so that both teachers and pupils could understand. This is an ongoing process in developing a holistic curriculum within PE.

Game Sense as Explicit Guided Discovery

Game Sense have become my go to games-based approach when teaching or coaching, mainly due to its flexibility and adaptability to meet the needs, demands and priorities of the young people in front of me.

A bluffers guide to non-linear pedagogy (written in 2016)

In 2016 I was reading a lot and part of my reading brought me to non-linear pedagogy. This is an attempt to get my head round the basics and collect a number of resources such as academic literature, video, lesson plans and commentary on the approach by PE teachers and sports coaches as a future reference source.

The physically educated person

Whilst there is a lot of talk about physical literacy, my own personal belief is that we should use the term ‘the physically educated person’ not just in PE but beyond.

What does success look like in Physical Education? (written in 2015)

Successful PE can be measured and analysed in multiple ways. I think it is up to us, to be honest, and clear about that and to explore the underlying assumptions and misconceptions that might arise

A Digital Video Games Approach is not ‘just’ gamification

Gamification within PE and youth sport is growing popular, this post attempts to define the differences between gamification and a pedagogical model which uses elements of gamification for the development of meta-cognition.

Does PE really develop Team Work?  (written in 2015)

During my MA in Educational Leadership I came across academic literature on group work and teamwork within organisations, this led to me thinking about the statement that PE develops teamwork and perhaps what we just naturally accept as an outcome of PE might be a myth.


A personal post, as I end 17 years of teaching physical education in schools, I consider how much of my personal identity is wrapped up in my professional identity.

Meaningful Experiences in PE: Guiding Principles (written in 2018)

Over the last year I have been increasingly convinced that for the children in front to me to become physical educated (a person arrange their lives in such a way that the physical activities they freely engage in make a distinctive contribution to their long-term flourishing -MacAllister) they need to find meaning in forms of movement. These are my guiding principles to attend to the creation of meaningful experiences within physical education.

A Digital Video Games Approach to Cricket

This posts explains how I used Amy Price’s proposed critical elements of a new pedagogical model, based on the work of James Paul Gee, and how I applied it to a Year 7 cricket scheme of work in an attempt to develop meta-cognition.

What the game is (written in 2016)

With a growing movement of teachers and coaches who advocate for the ‘game is the teacher’ I wanted to write what I though the game is and should be, ultimately deciding that it is a learning environment.

Should competitive activities be part of the curriculum in physical education in schools?

Physical Education is a subject where much of what we do and believe in is based on tradition and not educative reasoning. Ken Aggerholm and colleagues paper attempts to question a long-held belief of ‘competition in PE is good’ and whilst it doesn’t shift my thinking it does provide a easy to use model to help PE Departments start to rationalise and justify what they do.

A models based approach to PE: Sport Education (written in 2014)

Sport Education is an approach to the teaching of PE that emphasises learning through sport, developing skills such as team-working and leadership in pupils, as well as enhancing self-esteem and encouraging an appreciation of concepts of fair play. The blog post has links to documents that can help the novice teacher attempt to use this pedagogical model for the first time.

The path to expertise

One area that I’m fascinated about is how to develop the craft of teaching PE and coaching youth sport. My current thinking is that we need to move beyond either/or thinking to something more nuanced and thoughtful if we want to develop expertise in our subject.

Once again thank you to those who have read, commented, challenged and critique. The investment of your time into my understanding and development is greatly appreciated. Wishing you all the best for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2020.

The previous Drowning in the Shallow Reviews can be found here.

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