When I started this little site one year ago, my main purpose was to create a reflection tool to gather my own thoughts and evaluations about my teaching and the learning that was (hopefully) happening in my PE classes.
I thought if it went well, perhaps there might be a few of my ramblings that could help others.
Today MPF now has over 500 followers and was recently voted in the Top 10 websites by The #PhysEd Podcast.
It was also the springboard for a recent international trip to co-teach in China and has enhanced my learning as a teacher on a scale I cannot put into words.
So while this kind of reach was never my intention, the road it has taken me on has been so meaningful, valuable and has helped me to become the teacher I am today. One of the greatest things of which I am sure is that blogging and connecting via this site will allow me to become even better in the year ahead.
Prior to setting up my own blog I had been inspired by the websites of three (Physical) educators who are more than worth a mention, Andy Vasily, Joey Feith and Nathan Horne.
I have been very fortunate to have met two of them in person over the last year. I am now gunning for Mr Joey Feith before MPF turns two!
These three inspired me to ‘come to the party’ and share a little of my philosophy, views and practical ideas. Kind of like, giving back for some of the insightful stuff I was learning from them.
Not long after discovering these three, it became clear via social media that there was a whole world of #pegeeks out there, simply amazingly committed people. All collaborating, sharing, inspiring one another and ultimately helping shoulder some of the responsibility of leading Physical Education into the future.
Soon I was hooked on blogs, podcasts, #pechat, twitter and having google hangouts with people who have forgotten more than I know about teaching PE.
So in the spirit of a true birthday, I wanted to use this occasion to look back a little but to look forward a lot.
I have enlisted the help of some of the #PhysEd community to help answer the question, “What future are we preparing for in Physical Education?”
Next month, I will be presenting to a bunch of PhysEd teachers on this very topic, I was blown away (as usual) with what these amazing teachers came up with.
So strap yourself in and get ready for the future…because according to these guys, it starts tomorrow!
Brendan Jones @jonesytheteachr
“PE teaching now, compared to when I started, has changed a great deal with respect to the opportunities that technology can bring to the learning table. In other respects, PE teaching has elements that should never change. As soon as we forget the purpose of why we stand in front of and beside our students as they take part in our classes then the future of PE is doomed.
PE is always about movement – the love of it, the fun in it, the development and showcasing of skills learned and shared. What will PE look like in the future? I hope it is more student centered, inquiry based with a connection in meaningful terms to the world outside the school gates.
And what skills should a future PE teacher possess?
I could say management, personal fitness, knowledge or tech savvy – predictable answers based on the compliance culture we are assume are important and assessed on currently. To me the things I’ll look for in future PE teachers I work with will be things like pedagogical risk taking, design thinking and the ability to forge positive working and collaborative leadership relationships with their students, fellow staff, the broader school and societal community and the PE fraternity worldwide. Then I’ll know PE is in safe hands”
Andy Vasily @andyvasily
“As we look forward, we need to reflect more on the powerful role that physical education should play in our students’ lives. We must continue to advocate for its rightful place in a school’s curriculum spreading an important message that policy and decision makers must listen to. We must break free of restraining curriculums and traditional delivery methods as they only result in increased disengagement among our learners. We must listen to the voices of our students and allow them more opportunities to decide upon the direction of their learning in PE.
Physical education can and should be a powerfully rewarding experience that helps to shape and lead a school’s curriculum, but it takes teachers who are ready to continually step up and think outside the box of our subject area drawing upon the very best teaching practice.”
Ash Casey @DrAshCasey
“For too long we have been channeled towards technocratic or performance pedagogy where students ability to perform textbook movements and actions (and teachers ability to facilitate these) dominate our conversations and the practices of physical education.
The development of new technologies – no matter how breathtaking – will have little impact on these practices because they cannot be the driver for learning; only pedagogy can do that. Instead we need to rethink the things we deem as important and focus our efforts on these and not our out dated traditions.
Nelson Mandela said;
“Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”
While I agree with Mandela I don’t see how the current incarnation of Sport or Physical Education can do this. We need to reconceptualise our pedagogies and fight injustice where we see it. What is the point of choreographing the perfect dance routine or hitting the perfect set-shot if we condone (through inaction) the expectation that the dancer will be a woman or a homosexual man and the basketball player will be tall and black and probably a hetrosexual man.
We need to challenge the assumption that sport and physical education are inherently good and work to ensure that they are good because they shun inequity and create opportunities for each and every young person who comes into our care. Otherwise, what is the point?”
Happy Birthday Making PE Fizz!
Ashlea Mills @ashleamills
“The future of Physical Education looks bright. If the representation of PE teachers on Twitter is anything to go by, it is evident that this generation of teachers are passionate about their job, willing to share best practice with others, care about their students and work hard to ensure every opportunity for learning is valued.
In the future I hope to see Physical Education valued more in the whole school curriculum and more time dedicated to Physical Education and Sport, particularly in primary schools. I hope to see technology integrated purposely, without sacrificing activity time. I hope to see classroom environments where students are challenged and take responsibility for their own learning whilst having the opportunity to pursue their own physical interests.
I hope that we continue to develop learners who are inquirers, engaged, flexible, caring and dedicated. But most of all I hope that we as PE teachers keep sharing and inspiring others teachers, new and old.”
Naomi Hartl @MissHartl
“As I look forward into my career I am excited about where we can take our students within the realm of Physical Education and beyond. My wish is that we recognize the power of physical education and the need for it in the lives of our students. Our Physical Educators will create amazing PE programs that are able to support the whole student. PE will be a partnership with all subject areas to create an all-inclusive education for our children. Schools, communities and parents will also be in a partnership to support PE and the benefits it has on each child. I look forward to pushing our profession forward in advocating for our subject area and our students.”
Adam Metcalf @MrMetcalfPE
“It is my opinion that the future success or failure of Physical Education will largely depend on our teachers’ ability to plan, execute, and reflect upon the type of learners we wish to produce. Being mindful of the fundamental focus that it is our job to teach people, rather than to teach lessons, units, sports or games. Our approach must shift from teacher-centred to student-centred, where students are empowered to learn through discovery, setbacks, and reflection within a variety of safe and positive environments. As teachers, we must be willing to pursue a deeper connection with our students by modelling the behaviours we seek, as well as demonstrating the mindset to step outside of our comfort zone, seek advice, be willing to fail, ask questions, and remain lifelong learners.”
Nathan Horne @PENathan
“I believe we have hit a fork in the road for the future of physical education moving forward into the 21st century. Never has there been a time where there are so many committed physical educators who are connected together in a network of like-minded advocates for quality movement experiences for our young people.
However a lot of our community face issues of increased obesity in their students, lack of funding to their programs, cuts in the number of teachers or minutes for physical education programs.
So which road will physical education take moving forwards? It’s up to us to decide.
The committed network of #PhysEd professionals must continue to connect, share, collaborate and advocate the fantastic work that is being done all around the world in an attempt to slowly but surely chip away at the negative stereotypes so often attached to our field.
We may not change the minds of the policy makers and nay-sayers of the current but what we can do together is provide the students to today with positive & innovative experiences of physical education that enable them to reflect critically upon their wellbeing and that of the wider community. These students will go on to be the policy makers and power holders of tomorrow and in turn when they think back to their experiences of physical education at school they will do so with a knowing respect and positive perception of the power of purposeful #PhysEd.
While we cannot change the past, together we can make #PhysEd fizz for future generations.”
I want to say a sincere thank you to all of the wonderful people above who contributed to this birthday blog post. Through these simple messages you have given me more than I could have expected in the way of a birthday gift.
I look forward to connecting-sharing-collaborating so much more in the days, terms and years ahead.