As of late I have tried to increase my twitter presence, become a teacher people want to ask questions of and engage in more professional discussions. All of this is aimed at improving not only my practice but that of the people that read my tweets by forcing them to think about the what, the how and the why of their practice. It is important that teachers are reflective of what they are doing currently and how they can make improvements. I want to do this through asking all stakeholders to evaluate my lessons (I ask learners constantly what is good and what needs improved about my lessons and my teaching) and identify areas where I need to improve in and out of the classroom. I, like all teachers, want to ensure my delivery is as good as it possibly can be to ensure all learners can achieve. As of late I have been involved in developing two projects which have been based around twitter: #scottishpe and #inmygym.
Myself and two colleagues are currently developing a resource that will allow practitioners to plan for and deliver high quality physical education by delivering the Significant Aspects of Learning and Skills for Life, Learning and Work through the vehicle of sport. It is important that we move away from the old school blocking of activities and into developing learners by using sport as the vehicle and the learning as the key focus. Instead of learners asking ‘are we doing rugby today sir?’ I want them to be asking ‘is it central net or invasion games today sir?’ and ‘are we continuing with physical competencies?’. I am a realist and understand that for many centres this will take a long time to change or may never change but if we start now we can move away from a coaching model delivery and into a concepts model delivery where the focus is on learning and not necessarily who is better at badminton. We have also developed an assessment tool that will allow practitioners to assess learners against all curricular organisers. This package has been shared with some colleagues for feedback and will be made available soon.
Linking with this development we have also created a twitter handle, @thefuturepe. We have used this to ask questions of practitioners on what they are doing in the Broad General Phase and how they are getting on. My main question is this: are secondary departments as able as our primary colleagues at delivering the significant aspect of learning? I could also ask: how many secondary PE teachers have read the Significant Aspects of Learning and can deliver them in their lessons? I am willing to bet that the answer to this wont be as surprising as we may think.
As part of the twitter handle I have tried to encourage practitioners to share what significant aspects they have been teaching each weekend for the past few months using a simple hashtag: #inmygym. I am a huge believer that we as a profession are perfectly placed to deliver the aims and values set out by the Curriculum for Excellence and want to promote the sharing of practices and resources amongst the profession. A great many of us are using twitter weekly and daily to engage in professional dialogue but we aren’t as good at saying what we are good at, I am hoping #inmygym can demonstrate some staying power and be a platform for twitter users to share their practice and discuss how they are delivering through the vehicle of sport with others. We only have one chance to get this right with the Curriculum for Excellence, lets be damn sure that we do get it right.
With regard to my own twitter (@dnleslie) I have tried to engage in more and more professional discussions. I keen keen to challenge others thinking and more importantly challenge my own thinking. I am very keen to learn from others and from what they are doing in both the BGE and the Senior Phase. Of course, the Senior Phase has been a major focus over the past few years and it is fair to say that some practitioners are more confident than others. I feel that I am confident in what I am delivering and only time will tell me if what I am doing works for the learners in front of me. With this in mind I enjoy sharing what I am doing with others to seek their feedback, advice and opinion and decided I wanted to learn more and make a contribution to the discussion and capture the ongoing discussions in departments across the country. I decided to start a forum for discussions after a SATPE Executive meeting and after a few weeks I started #scottishpe on Monday evenings at 10pm. The first two discussion forums have been a success on a small scale. There is mileage in this yet as many of our profession have a presence on twitter so my next task is to engage as many physical educators as I possibly can. Scottish Physical Education is in a great place just now but it will be easy for us to lose that place if we don’t ensure that we move away from old school teaching in the BGE and from rote learning in the Senior Phase. It never fails to amaze me the great practices that are going on in departments the length of Scotland and I want to be a part of that and be a part of celebrating that.
This Monday I will be moderating the third instalment of #scottishpe at 10pm, please follow the hashtag and join in discussions. Contact me using @dnleslie if you want to know more or if you want to see what the topic for discussion will be this week.