“School sucks.” is an often uttered phrase that is generally agreed upon by those both young and old. As a society we have come to the consciences that school sucks; it has been that way since the dawn of time and is just something we have to muscle through, like eating a meal we truly despise. More and more these days, people are suggesting that school doesn’t have to suck, that actually it SHOULDN’T suck. In this day and age, as teachers we really have no excuse for condemning our students to tedious hours of lectures that could put an insomniac to sleep. Or asking them to do the type of homework that makes their brain cloudy, head heavy, neck weak, and cause drool to seep from the corners of their mouths. With a wealth of ideas and lesson plans stored in the internet, and a plethora of technologies to get students engaged, this should no longer be an issue. Washington and Oregon both have high school graduation rates averaging under 80% (you can see state by state averages here) surely these new methods are worth a try since it looks like none of the old ways of teaching have been nearly successful enough.
A great way to get the students engaged and excited about tasks is asking them to use video in some way shape or form. When I was in high school I remember some of my favorite projects were the ones where we got to make videos. As a future PE teacher you my be asking the question: “but how can I possibly use this type of technology in my class?” I had to ask myself the same question, after all isn’t PE pretty straight forward? Isn’t the point of the class to get the students off the hind ends and moving, rather than asking them to sit in front of a computer for hours editing a video masterpiece?
I’ve been told that there is no better way to learn something than to teach it to someone else. How great would it be to get a PE class involved in making an instructional workout video? Splitting them up in to groups would be best if you have a big enough class, and then assigning each group a type of exercise or workout. Aerobic, Olympic lifting, plyometric, core ect. ect. ect. Then each group would have to learn about their specific workout or exercises enough to put together a short film. Then, it would be great to have the entire class follow their classmates videos for class each day until every group had been covered. Yet another way that video could be used is to have students in groups of 3-4 make 30 second TV commercial spots for athletic clothing or event of their own choosing, complete with their own motivational catchphrases and voice overs.
How to use podcasts in a PE classroom is one I’m still struggling with figuring out. I thought students might enjoy pretending to be radio commentators during a sporting event that the class is learning about and analyze both the game and the form of the “athletes competing” in the imaginary game. By doing this they could demonstrate knowledge of the game play and the correct way in which to play or execute the sporting event.
These are just some musings that I have had as I travel the route to becoming a PE teacher. Perhaps I will carry some of these ideas with me and use them in the future, or maybe as I grow older and more knowledgeable about teaching physical education I will end up throwing them out. Either way, my take a way message is this: There are so many innovative ways to get learners engaged, and excited. This is so incredibly important when it comes to PE, a class that is often dreaded and in order to prevent these students from dreading and avoiding all forms of physical activity as they age, it is imperative to get them excited, pumped-up, and interested in physical education. Remember when you were in school? Didn’t you learn so much better when you were having fun with an assignment and excited to do it? We should make sure our students feel this way. So instead of assigning another 5 page paper that they will write alone and quietly at their desk, try to find a way to get them up, get them interacting and engaged, much like they will be later on in their careers.
You can read more ideas for using podcass and other media in classrooms at this link.
“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” – John Dewey