PE PYP Job Alike – Constructing a Learning Community and Enhancing Learning Through Collaboration

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The Physical Education programme at Arab International Academy is adding strength to the educational values of our institution by placing emphasis on learning through play and focusing on purposeful learning. Our physical education teachers are curriculum designers and we are employing the Teaching Games for Understanding pedagogical approach, which emphasizes play, where tactical and strategic problems are posed in a modified game environment, empowering students’ agency in making decisions.

With the purpose of promoting and establishing high-quality of learning and creating a culture of collaborative planning, the Primary PE Department at Arab International Academy organized a job-alike event focused on Invasion Games.

Physical education teachers from the main IB schools in Doha attended, participated and collaborated in a grade 5 practical session that involved students in inquiry, play, critical thinking and problem solving. Group interaction and communication skills were practiced in a meaningful way by students who inquired into the invasion games category by playing, comparing and contrasting 4 different games. The students’ PE session concluded with an exit permit in which they expressed the outcomes of their learning in a written form by using a ‘Traffic Light’ strategy.

In the second part of the event, teachers planned and reflected on a comprehensive range of assessments and opportunities for learners to take action upon their learning. Developing conceptual questions that spark students’ interest was another key element of the session that supports the Teaching Games for Understanding pedagogical model. We have analyzed the strengths of our programmes and brain-stormed different ways to extend our collaboration beyond this event.

The Physical Education department in the PYP at AIA continues to focus on the progression and development of knowledge, understanding and skills and how students will make meaning and apply them in a variety of environments. Physical education in our school is more than just student participation in sports and games. Our students develop a combination of transferable skills promoting physical, intellectual, emotional and social development and they are provided with learning opportunities to practice, create, apply and evaluate them.  

As teachers, we are revisiting this key information about their learning both, horizontally and vertically, progressively increasing its complexity. Creating connections between what students know and the new learning, moving from simple to complex representations are features of a spiral curriculum, which is one of our strengths at AIA.

We are looking forward to promote collaborative practices at all levels and to co-construct learning, therefore we invite you to strengthen our learning community so that all its members benefit individually and collectively and contribute to our global success. Join our future events and let’s celebrate together learning through collaboration.

What is Physical Education? Why Physical Education?

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We start the year with enthusiasm and we get ready with engaging and fun games. We all do it with passion and our students benefit from this play and fun. But… is this enough?

As Pill (2018) mentioned in his article, physical education doesn’t include just the physical nature, but the relations of physical training to attain a complete education and the making of it as a integrative part of individual’s life. The dimensions of physical education we emphasize are social, emotional, physical and cognitive and this is what the PSPE in the IB framework is concerned with: the individual’s well-being and the understanding of self, through the promotion and development of knwoledge, concepts, attitudes and skills.

Physical education is commonly perceived and described by students and parents as play and fun, so I decided to inquire with my cohorts into the meaning of our subject and for a better understanding of the ‘whys’. Defining ourselves as a team of learners we construct the believe that physical education is more than games and sports and we purposefully transfer the skills we learn, we encourage present and future choices and we promote cultural understanding.

Together, we identified the meanings of physical education and we formulated our learning goals that will keep us engaged and motivated throughout the entire year. It is an ongoing process and I find it essential in the transformation that we all undergo in the upcoming year.

Singh (2017) suggests in his article that fun, by its nature, does not create learning and is mostly a by-product. He proposes instead the theme Learning for Joy, which, together with Play with Purpose (Game Sense Approach), have become purposeful mantras for myself, as an educator.

Our students should enjoy the PE sessions through play and the fun must be connected to it. If this play is connected thoroughly to the planned learning we just make one step further in this becoming adventure and we are setting the bar high. Can we keep it up there?

References:

Pill, S. 2018. What IS Physical Education? A Siendentopian Answer. Available: https://learningthroughsport.blogspot.com/2018/12/what-is-physical-education-siedentopian.html

Singh, B. 2017. Understanding, Appreciation, Learning and Fun – How Do They Connect In Physical Education? Available: https://reinventingthegame.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/understanding-appreciation-learning-and-fun-how-do-they-connect/