Added Value?

There is a current theme hanging around Scottish Education and that is one of Value and Added Value. In terms of CfE (Scotlands new curriculum), and Physical Education in particular, you can add value to your National Qualification by completing an added value unit. For PE this has caused some debate (well amongst the small number of teaching professionals i have come across) with regard to how this will look. In its simplest terms you can be assessed on pactical ability alone to gain a National Qualification, I am unsure about this, but you can ‘add value’ to it by completing a portfolio or a personal development plan outlining your performance requirements, training plan and outcome. In its most simplest terms you must complete a cycle of analysis on your performance in any chosen sport.

Where the debate lies is with the ‘look’ or finished article. How as practitioners do we manage and coordinate a class of, lets say, 30 through this cycle of analysis and allow for personalisation and choice. Which are as we all know key themes of ACfE (A Curriculum for Excellence). My main concern is how some may interpret this as rote learning. Do we simply teach the pupils in the skills based method of the past and hold their hands through the process of their portfolio and basically write it for them as we plan the course, after all it is mostly internally assessed! Obviously there will be a strict and stringent moderation process but who is to say that this is not how some may interpret it.

However, i do feel that this is also a golden opportunity for PE. We are now one of the big hitters, alongside English and Maths, so i ask myself ‘why have we gone down this road?’ We have the opportunity to really show he true value of PE and its importance not only in improving pupils physically but also mentally. I dream of PE being what it should always have been, promoting physical literacy, so that all pupils can run, jump, throw, catch, kick, bat and many other worthwhile skills and also so that they are mentally stimulated by the subject. Ask yourself this ‘did you leave school knowing what to do when you entered the gym?’ ‘do you know how to plan a 40 minute session in the swimming pool? Do you know why you are at the pool and what needs improved?’ ‘Can you explain to a colleague how to combine diet and exercise so that they are ready for the London Marathon?’ All of these questions are what we should be answering in secondary PE.

National Qualifications (NQ) in PE have two main outcomes 1)practical performance 2)factors impacting on performance. All of what i mentioned above come under section 2. Also does the thread of the added value unit. Why don’t we use this as the vehicle to truly physically educate pupils. Why don’t we use certain activities to help pupils truly understand their own physiology and how to make them better, fitter, faster, stronger and more practically able. Why don’t we hand over responsibility to the pupils and allow them to research themselves physically and ask us for guidance when they need help formulating a plan of action such as a 6-week training programme to improve their speed because they are keen rugby players. M interpretation of the NQ documents is that through a years course pupils will be educated and through practical theory sessions discover what factors impact on performance, and through a series of workshops learn how to use a cycle of analysis to improve and finally they will use this on their own with teacher as facilitator to guide them and offer advice on their journey to improve be it in rugby, cricket, golf, horse riding, football, sailing, marathon running, triathlon and many more.

Obviously a lot will have to be learned through the Broad General Education until S3 for the pupils to build upon in the senior phase, but i believe we have an opportunity here to accomplish this. In the future we could have all pupils being knowledgeable of their bodies and are more able to manage themselves through life and have purpose to their 30 minute jog or swim on a sunday and know why they are doing it and more importantly what they need to do to shave valuable seconds off of their 10k time. While through this they are truly adding value to their physical education.

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