So, I pose a somewhat long question:
How can teachers of Health and Physical Education ensure that they maximise the time they have within their school setting to develop their students physically while also ensuring they are able to explain this learning, and in turn analyse, evaluate and justify what they experience?
Some would say this is unrealistic and in fact impossible. I often hear teachers start to chip away at the fabric of a collegial environment within their school by stating that other areas of the school should have their students’ skills in literacy, analytical processes, numeracy or ultimately any other skill that underpins academic success.
I believe this blame game needs to stop for the good of our subject both in Year 7-10 and in turn our results and outcomes in Year 11 and 12 offerings within the PE suite. HPE teachers, and in a lot of cases leaders within our school environments, have the most engaging subject to achieve true teaching. We need to remove this blame and negative thought process and take it upon ourselves to teach cognitions every day in performance and classrooms settings and truly impact the futures of our students across their journey as a learner.
I can hear those reading saying, “How can this be achieved”. Below I present 2 ways that I have seen through our re-developed Year 7-9 HPE programme at Anglican Church Grammar School that may assist teachers around the state:
1. Change the language and standard academic rigour in the subject
To have students value the difference between explaining a concept, analysing through physical activity, then evaluating the outcomes and justifying why this has occurred, they must hear this language and understand what each cognition means. Below are some ways this can be done:
2. Build resources that promote cognitive processes to support lessons
Through a focus on developing students when they are both fit and healthy, as well when they are not, the following are ways to make the most of each minute to achieve the mix of activity time, delivery of investigating content outcomes, as well as build the ability for students to meaningfully learn and apply cognitions in HPE whether they are injured or actively participating:
- Non-Participation Cognition based task sheets. At Churchie, these are used in all Year 7-9 lessons to both have a meaningful experience whilst not participating, as well as developing the ability to analyse, explain, evaluate and justify content and learning occurring in the lesson.
- Long Term Injury Booklets. Cognition based tasks within a bigger workbook is a way to engage students. At Churchie, we use these for students who are out longer than 4 weeks and these are a meaningful way of student engaging in the lessons and ensure those that have the disappointment of missing practical performance can still develop as a learner.
Many times, the ‘time poor’, or ‘that is someone else’s job’ approach creeps in as downward pressure for student achievement comes into play and our allocated time for HPE is diminishes. We need to keep believing our subject is a great vehicle for academic success. To help our Year 11 and 12 cohort of truly capable students who can succeed in a QCE Physical Education pathway, I believe we as a HPE teaching fraternity in this state need to remember these 3 key messages:
- We have the most engaging subject to effect student learning habits
- Cognitive verbs inaction daily in HPE lessons in Year 7-10 can change a student’s whole academic future
- We must continue to be positive about our subject’s value and develop resources to formalize this in the eyes of school and state-wide administrators
We all have a responsibility for the way our subject scales in regard to a QCE result, and this process starts with better embedding of cognitions into our Year 7-10 programmes.
For assistance or examples of this in action or resource sharing, please don’t hesitate to contact me as both one of your ACHPER QLD Board Members and also a fellow teacher. I would welcome a chat or email to give further context to approach on embedding cognitions into Year 7-10 HPE lessons.
All the best with the run home to the end of what has been a big 2022 year for HPE teachers.
Head of Department – Health & Physical Education
Director of Basketball
Anglican Church Grammar School