Twice in the past few years, I have had to develop and refine a teaching philosophy statement (required for a tenure application and an award nomination). I struggled a bit with trying to define how… More
Never fear, the next post in my physical literacy series is coming. SLOWLY, but coming.
For now, this YouTube video caught my eye and I wanted to say just a few words about it. Please watch – then read.
Novak Djokovic vs. Dylan Alcott – who is ‘more’ physically literate?
Before you answer the question, let me remind you of the definition of physical literacy:
“In short, as appropriate to each individual’s endowment, physical literacy can be described as a disposition in which individuals have: the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for maintaining purposeful physical pursuits/activities throughout the life-course.” (Whitehead, 2010)
Got an answer? Before you share it, in all fairness I should let you know that the question is flawed. Sorry.
Key points from the definition: as appropriate to each individual’s endowment, maintaining purposeful physical pursuits, throughout the life-course.
Long story short? Physical literacy is a journey – not a destination. It is a winding path not a linear road. It is individualized, not standardized. Therefore, there is no need to worry about achieving some arbitrary endpoint or to make ridiculous comparisons about who is more physically literate than who. Go back to the video – see how Dylan has to help Novak operate his chair? Individual endowment. In another video of the same event Dylan drops this comment after Novak misses a few shots:
“…the movement is your weakness.”
Dylan’s endowment includes using a wheelchair to play tennis (and how!). Novak’s endowment includes using legs to play tennis. Different. Both demonstrate physical literacy. Note that I purposefully don’t say, “Both are physically literate.” That would indicate an end point. Remember: journey – winding – individual endowment.
Ramifications for physical education teachers? HUGE. I’ll leave you with these two thoughts from Margaret Whitehead:
“The uniqueness of physical education lies in its ability to enable each individual to realize, nurture and develop his [sic] embodied capabilities and thus become more fully human.” (Whitehead, 2013, p. 35, emphasis mine)
“Our mission or challenge is to DO ALL WE CAN to ENABLE ALL to make progress on their individual PHYSICAL LITERACY JOURNEY.” (Whitehead, 2013, caps and bold mine)
We join our hero as he realizes it has been over 3 months since his last post…
Speaking of Physical Literacy Part 3: An Introduction to Physical Literacy Praxis
Right. So suddenly it is 2016. MARCH 2016! I am not sure how so much time went by since my last post – oh wait, I know – life! Life got in the way. And work. Definitely work. Anywho…
What follows is a lead in to a rough framework that explores the implementation side of physical literacy. The post is loosely based on a talk I gave on October 22, 2015 at the Manitoba Physical Literacy Summit ‘Moving it Forward’. As well, I am working with an exceptional graduate student to design and implement a research project that will use a similar framework in high school physical education (more on that later!). Here goes.
If you recall, the last post in this series was about experiences and stories. So, please consider this story of an experience (brilliant segue, what?)…
PE, recess and lunch were always my favourite subjects in school. Perhaps it was a connection to my life running around on the farm but I found it tough to adjust to school and sedentary life. Opportunities to be active during the school day were not only my favourite times, they were critical to who I was as a person. My problem on this particular school day began with the excitement of heading to the local church basement for PE and ended with a frightening experience no grade two-er should have. I never forgot my PE clothes and shoes. NEVER. This day was no different. I had my shorts. I had my t-shirt. I had my shoes. As we were changing in the tiny bathroom of the church basement, however, I realized I had forgotten something. My regular underwear. I had neglected to put briefs on under my long johns…
EDITORS NOTE: for those from more southerly climes, long johns are full coverage thermal underwear and completely necessary for about 8 months of the year where I live. Thank you.
…and was therefore in a bit of a conundrum. I couldn’t wear my shorts with my long johns, I couldn’t wear my shorts without my regular underwear. I agonized about it until everyone else left the change room and decided to just head out in my jeans and t-shirt so no one would know of my problem. Surely the PE teacher would understand? As I headed over to try and quietly explain my embarrassing dilemma to the enormous ex-football player who was my teacher, he stopped everyone and singled me out. “Doug, you forgot your gym clothes! Come over here!” I sheepishly slunk over to the centre of the basement and was ready to explain my situation when suddenly I was swept off my feet, lifted high into the air and pinned against the ceiling. “Why do you not have your gym clothes?!?” Three quick, relevant facts. Number one, there was no way I was explaining myself in front of the whole class. Number two, I could barely keep myself from peeing my pants, much less actually talk. Number three, I stutter badly when forced to respond verbally under pressure. Therefore, I said nothing except for a few stuttered grunts. After a little more uplifted condemnation fornot being changed, I was forced to sit out for the rest of the class. Although I kept a brave face for my friends, (“That was so cool how he lifted me up so high”) inside I was embarrassed, frustrated, mad and ultimately – helpless. (Gleddie & Schaefer, 2014, p. 9-10)
Now that you’ve read my story (thanks!) answer me this: Why would someone who underwent that sort of humiliation and embarassment go on to have a career in physical education? Why wouldn’t that experience have turned me off of physical education for life? John Dewey, the renowned education philosopher, would probably have answered the question somewhat like this:
Experience and education cannot be directly equated to each other. For some experiences are mis-educative. Any experience is mis-educative that has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experience. (1938, p. 25)
I think that I had been ‘inoculated’ or ‘vaccinated’ with WAY too much educative experiences of movement and play to be turned off by one mis-educative experience – no matter how humiliating. Dewey went on to say that there are two key aspects to experience. The first is the immediate:
“Yes, this was good.” OR “No, this was not.”
The second aspect emerges when we consider the influence of the current experience on future experiences. Quite simply – I knew deep down in my soul that the one mis-educative experience with my long johns did not have the power to impact the future already set up by my countless educative experiences with movement and physical education. This idea is enormously important – now put it away for a moment and keep reading… Hopefully, you are already familiar with at least the definition of physical literacy if not the whole set of philosophical underpinnings (here’s a hint… It’s so much more than fundamental movement skills!). What I want to focus on, however, is physical literacy praxis. And no, I did not spell ‘practice’ wrong…
Etymology: From Ancient Greek πρᾶξις (prâxis, “action, activity, practice”)
Noun: praxis (plural praxes or praxises)
The practical application of any branch of learning.
(philosophy) The synthesis of theory and practice, without presuming the primacy of either. (en.wiktionary.org)
Love it! Take a closer look: the synthesis of theory and practice, without presuming the primacy of either. If you remember way back in the Travel Agents post, I quoted Margaret Whitehead as saying:
“Our mission or challenge is to do all we can to enable ALL to make progress on their individual physical literacy journey. (Whitehead, 2013)
This is PRAXIS! This is what physical educators can do with the theory! Or, as John Dewey put it,
“…upon them devolves the responsibility for instituting the conditions for the kind of present experience which has a favourable effect upon the future.” (Dewey, 1938, p. 50)
This is where my rough framework for physical literacy praxis fits in. Here is a visual to get you started.
We leave our hero as he realizes that this post is getting way too long… Hopefully, he doesn’t wait 3 months before the next one and leave us all hanging…
TO BE CONTINUED!
Speaking of Physical Literacy, Part 2: Becoming Travel Agents
In March 2015, Ever Active Schools hosted a Physical Literacy Summit in Calgary, Alberta. I was invited to close the Summit and chose the following title for my talk: Becoming Travel Agents for a Storied Physical Literacy Journey. I also revised and refined this keynote for another Summit hosted in Winnipeg, Manitoba in October 2015.
My purpose in choosing this title and topic was to bring together the life-course aspect of physical literacy with the concept of storied lives. Since we know that physical literacy is a journey, not a destination, I thought the metaphor of travel agent was appropriate. Travel agents facilitate key experiences and assist with the progress of our travels. However, no one comes back from a trip and shows you their itinerary – no way. They tell you stories. What follows here is a synopsis of how we might become travel agents for Canada’s children – helping them to build a storied physical literacy journey.
In the last post, I shared a definition of physical literacy. Today, I want to add the idea of moral purpose.
“A compelling and inclusive moral purpose steers a system, binds it together, and draws the best people to work in it” (Hargreaves & Shirley, 2009, p. 76)
In other words, “Why do you do what you do?” I feel that for those of us who work with children and any form of physical activity – health, education, sport, recreation and home/family – physical literacy can be that moral purpose. Here are some quick examples of compatible goals/vision statements found within each of these sectors that can connect to a moral purpose of physical literacy. Although these examples are specifically from Manitoba (woot, woot – shout out!), I would be VERY surprised to find much difference in other regions.
- Health: “…to meet the health needs of individuals, families and their communities … A health system that promotes well-being…”
- Sport: “…a goal to advance the health, social and recreational benefits of sport and the overall performance of Manitoba athletes…”
- Education: “…ensure that children and youth have access to an array of educational opportunities to experience success to prepare them for lifelong learning and citizenship…”
- Recreation: “…enable Manitobans to fully develop their innate capabilities and creatively use their energies, while enriching their lives and improving their health and sense of well-being.”
- Home/Family: Hmmm… Would there be any parent that would disagree with the above values and goals for their child?
Margaret Whitehead expressed this very concept of a shared moral purpose at the International Physical Literacy Conference in Banff (2013).
Our mission or challenge is to do all we can to enable ALL to make progress on their individual physical literacy journey.
What if all areas touching on physical activity bought into and operationalized physical literacy? Powerful. Efficacious. Life changing.
Since we can’t MAKE someone physically literate, it becomes our mission to: Provide enriching and enhancing environments in which kids can have positive, educative experiences. What might this look like? To go back to Margaret Whitehead’s talk in Banff (2013) she shared the following about creating experiences to foster physical literacy:
- Rewarding and enjoyable – fostering motivation
- Positively effect self confidence and self-worth
- Enable progress and have success in a wide range of pursuits
- Empower decision making
- Enable appreciation of life-course physical activity
- Energize for proactive participation
Therefore, our roles, whether in education, sport, recreation, home/family or health, are to be travel agents for a storied physical literacy journey. Travel agents don’t send everyone to the same place! They take time to get to know you, your dreams, skills, passions, past experiences – then they craft an experience that meets YOUR needs. When you get back home, you don’t shares clinical, dry details of your trip. NO! You tell stories. Stories of risk, surprise, joy, learning and new experiences. If you need a refresher on the power of story – check this out.
I encourage you to become physical literacy travel agents to help kids (or adults!) take steps on their individual journeys. As you do so, remember:
It’s about relationships – take someone along – connect across sectors.
Where do we want kids to go? Where do THEY want to go? Choose destinations with the CLIENT’s needs at heart – not yours.
Explore and try new things… Nuff said.
Take (acceptable) risks!
Remember, it’s a life-long journey! The value is in the journey – not the destination.
Be a travel agent.
Do what’s best for kids.
Enable ALL to make progress on their PL journeys
LIVE Storied LIVES.
To order the shirt, go here (no % 4 me, just love the shirt!)
Over the past 9 months I have been privileged to be able to speak at a number of Physical Literacy ‘Summit’ type events across Canada. After reviewing my notes and doing some thinking about the many conversations with individuals very passionate about physical education and physical literacy, I have just realized that I have yet to write a blog post exclusively on physical literacy! I use and explore the term with my students. I speak about it. I tweet about it. I read about it. I am beginning to research it. I am incorporating it into a PE textbook. Guess it is time to blog about it! So here goes my first swing – a short three point introduction to the topic. I hope to have two more physical literacy posts ‘on deck’ (see what I did there?) to follow in December.
Firstly, let me just remind you (and myself) about the definition of physical literacy. We will dive into the ramifications of this definition later, just wanted to get it in your head again! Margaret Whitehead (2010) states:
“In short, as appropriate to each individual’s endowment, physical literacy can be described as a disposition in which individuals have: the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for maintaining purposeful physical pursuits/activities throughout the life-course.”
Secondly, let me state that I am whole-heartedly, unequivocally, undeniably, explicitly, enthusiastically and for reals on board with the concept of physical literacy. I believe that we are standing on the threshold of a HUGE opportunity for physical education. Here’s why:
- Literacy is an expanding concept as shown by this United Nations definition from 2002, “Literacy is crucial to the acquisition, by every child, youth and adult, of essential life skills that enable them to address the challenges they can face in life, and represents an essential step in basic education, which is an indispensable means for effective participation in the societies and economies of the twenty-first century.” It is about time that the physical aspect of who we are is embraced instead of being divorced and downtrodden.
- Physical literacy as a concept includes a language and vocabulary that educators (and parents and kids) can understand. Most times when I explain it to educators unfamiliar with physical or movement education they go, “Oh! Well that makes sense!”. The connection with what we should be doing in physical education is rock solid and connects strongly with overall educational goals.
- We have an unprecedented opportunity (and momentum) for collaboration, cross-sector appeal/uptake between physical education, sport, recreation, family and community. If we do this right – everybody gains. Especially the children. Common, consistent messaging and practice!
- Physical literacy can help to remind us that physical education is a necessary, crucial, essential and vital part of a viable education system. It can also remind us that we must strive to be better. Better teachers. Better physical educators. Better motivators. Better learners. Better advocators.
Thirdly, this super-on-board status of mine does not mean that I have fears. Specifically I have two big ones: that physical literacy is interpreted and applied as no more than a bigger focus on Fundamental Motor (Movement) Skills and; that the concept somehow loses momentum and dies without accomplishing implementation and accountability change. More detail to come on these later…
That’s it for this introduction. The next two physical literacy focused posts will feature ‘Readers Digest’ version of two talks I have given recently at the aforementioned Summits:
- Physical Literacy Praxis: Moving from theory to practice (and back again!)
- Becoming Travel Agents for a Storied Physical Literacy Journey.
Welcome to what is now the third installment of the “Youth Sport” series (I really need a better name for this…)! Post #1 addressed some issues with school sport. Post #2 was a look at winning vs. development. My friend, Andy Vasily (whom I have yet to meet in person!) replied to Post #2 and shared his son’s experience with a school sport league in China. I thought it was so cool, I asked him to expand it into a guest post. So, without further ado, here is Andy’s guest post!
When I read Doug’s blog post, I couldn’t have agreed more with the points that he had made. As a teacher and coach for the past twenty years, I have seen numerous examples of young people being turned off of sport because the attitude and environment in which they play the game is much too serious in nature. Whether it be overzealous coaches hell bent on creating winners at all costs or parents who simply push their kids much too hard, we have to be extremely careful about the expectations we are placing on young people in regards to competing in sport. Helping young people to understand the value of being physically active for life is essential as the research has conclusively shown, time and time again, the massive benefits it has in regards to their physical, social and psychological well-being. When they have a positive sporting experience, they are much more likely to remain active in sport and recreational pursuits for years to follow.
Building a supportive community around the concept of healthy competition not only lends itself to better engagement, but also emphasizes that every person involved in the sport experience can learn so much about what it truly means to be a part of a team. As important sport related physical skills are being developed and improved upon, the students also begin to understand that their self-worth and self-identity are NOT connected to winning or losing.
In certain cases, when there is too great an emphasis on winning, a young person’s self-confidence can be completely crushed in the face of failure, defeat, or being benched for not living up to the expectations of the coaches. Therefore, there must be another way to deliver the sport experience in a way that engages young people and encourages them to give it a go and be involved regardless of level of skill.
As I read Doug’s blog post, I immediately thought about a model of sport competition that has been running at my school in Nanjing, China for the last several years. The Nanjing International School belongs to the Chinese International School Sport Association (CISSA) which is essentially a league that is set up to give all students from grades 5-8 a chance to experience sport competition in which the emphasis is not on winning or losing, but playing the game for the pure joy of being involved in sport and to experience all of the benefits that come along with it.
Not only has my own son, Eli, been involved in CISSA sport, I have been lucky enough to coach several different teams over the years. As rewarding as it is for the students, it is equally rewarding for me, as a coach, to be involved in the CISSA experience. My good friend and colleague, Danny Clarke, our Athletic Director here at Nanjing International School sums it up perfectly below:
“CISSA is a Shanghai based organization with additional schools from surrounding cities such as Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing. It is for students in Grades 5 – 8 (Year 6 – 9, ages 10 – 13). The philosophy is highly inclusive and one that fits our school philosophy and the philosophy of our Athletics Program. What we find is that students sign up and participate in sports competitively that would never normally do so. By providing a competition in which no scores are ever recorded or displayed, no awards given and in which coaches are required to play all their players equally, it creates an environment in which the focus of success is inwards towards your own team and players and a supportive and non-judgmental culture is fostered.
Students support each other because they know that they all have a different level of experience in that sport and that winning and losing is not the most important thing. Of course the students know the result and are disappointed when they lose and happy when they win and this is part of sport. More importantly though, enjoying playing the sport, enjoying the improvement of self and of teammates is what it is about and I have witnessed it over and over again. The kids really enjoy this competition and I am convinced that, all of the students, whether they are the best athletes or the weakest, benefit from this experience. It also influences the coach and their coaching methods. They become more inclusive, supportive and focused more on improvement and less on results.
It is important to note that the CISSA model is not the be all and end all in sports competition. Offering a more competitive and selective program for students as they get older (for our school it is from age 13) is also important whilst hopefully still encouraging those students who are not selected for the more competitive teams to continue to participate through other recreational opportunities.”
I’m happy that Doug asked me to guest blog about the CISSA experience because I have truly seen firsthand how wonderful a model it is. My son comes home from every single tournament with loads of stories about how much fun he had. Not only has he bonded with other students on his own team, he has also made many friends with students from other schools (that he stays in touch with).
As a CISSA coach, we are required to referee the games and rarely do we ever have discipline problems or rough play as the very nature and culture of the league is one of friendly competition which makes the entire experience all that more special to the players. The CISSA model is perfect for those students who may not be athletically inclined as it gives them equal access to playing time. I’ve seen some student’s self-confidence sky rocket as a result of being involved in CISSA team sport and actually being able to participate equally in games along with their team mates.
Included in this blog post is our CISSA handbook which explains, in detail, all of the rules and regulations in the league. Should you be interested in reading the handbook, feel free to download it. If there is even the slightest of possibilities of setting up a league like this in your area or region, I highly recommend doing so as it completely changes the sporting experience for many kids who may not have the chance to play otherwise. I’d like to thank Doug for allowing me to guest blog and to share my thoughts about the CISSA model and the positive impact it has had at our school here in Nanjing, China.
Thanks for sharing Andy!
This post is the first of what I intend to be a bit of a series on youth sport and kind of picks up where A Sporting Chance left off. I want to chat briefly about winning vs. development in child and youth sport and share a wee epiphany with you. Although this has long been a topic close to my heart, I have been doing much more thinking and reading on the topic as preparation for the Re-Imagining School Sport pre-conference session that Vicki Harber (@vharber) and I planned for the #Banff2015 National HPE Conference. The day was full of great conversations and evidence to push some of the boundaries of what we know is good for kids in sport. As well, two recent articles on youth sport caught my attention this week and are worth the time for you to read them (now or later- it’s up to you).
Where the “elite” kids shouldn’t meet. Tim Keown, ESPN. All about the marketing and the myth of elite sport for preteens. “This is the age of the youth-sports industrial complex, where men make a living putting on tournaments for 7-year-olds, and parents subject their children to tryouts and pay good money for the right to enter into it.”
Playing youth sports about having fun, developing skills. Jason Gregor, The Edmonton Journal. This article is all about why a 9 year old hockey player quit playing spring hockey and the letter his dad wrote explaining the decision. “…as a nine-year-old, you have only played two shifts in the game, no matter how important that game is … it is time to have a talk with yourself and re-evaluate why we do this.”
Full disclosure: I am extremely biased on this topic and believe that there shouldn’t even be a debate. In my mind, if you are involved in child or youth sport in any way, shape or form (parent, coach, ref, etc.) and consider placing winning some banner, trophy or medal ahead of the development of individuals and teams – you should give your head a shake. Just thought you should know…
In this installment, I want to address the culture of “my kid is really good and therefore deserves to play much more so we can win”. Kinda what both of the previous two article’s address.
I once chatted with a parent who was bemoaning the fact that her daughter was playing the same amount as other kids on her team. She shared with me that, in addition to the $1,400 team fees that all the kids played, she was also spending $800/month on private training and weekend clinics (her daughter was playing U15 volleyball). In her mind, her daughter should be playing more because she was spending more on training and was “better” than the other girls. This got me thinking…
Let’s look at a professional sports franchise – often held up as the pinnacle of sport achievement. The Edmonton Oilers, not currently contending for Lord Stanley’s Cup (but things are looking up!), are such a team. According to http://www.hockey-reference.com, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made $6,000,000 last season and averaged 20:38 minutes a game. In contrast, Luke Gazdic made $800,000 and averaged 7:23 minutes. Hmmm… Here comes the epiphany – wait for it!
Since there are a certain number of people who want kids to play “just like the big leagues”, why don’t we model that? Since our kids DON’T get paid to play, what about if kids that PLAY MORE – PAY MORE! PLAY LESS – PAY LESS! We could have a sliding scale based on minutes / sets, etc. That way, those that want their kids to play more can pay for that privilege! Brilliant, eh?
Sounds odd but if you really want your team to focus on winning, wouldn’t this be the best way to go? (insert sarcastic emoticon here)
Of course I am being facetious, however, I am using this example to ask why we focus so much on winning in youth sport? Kids really don’t need to focus on winning – sure, anyone would rather win than lose BUT – their care does not last… There has been LOTS written about what kids value in sport – winning is not at the top of the list. Winning should not be a high stakes game for kids.
So. You GET PAID to play? Then playing time can differ.
If YOU PAY, then you should PLAY!
School sport, youth sport – anything that claims to be developmental and “for the kids” should be held accountable to actually follow through and be “for the kids”. Why the focus on banners, titles, trophies, winning as the main goal? I have yet to hear someone with a valid argument on why (in a “developmental system”) – please let me know if you do!
I could tell you more stories on this theme but I’d rather post this for now and then take a look in the pot I have stirred up…
As some of you may know, I had the distinct pleasure of co-chairing the recent joint Health and Physical Education Council / Physical and Health Education Canada, National Health and Physical Education Conference – A Physical Literacy Uprising, in beautiful Banff, Alberta, Canada (let’s just go w #Banff2015 from now on though…). I could share a lot about #Banff2015: the 867 passionate delegates, the crazy and fun socials, the variety and diversity of sessions, and much more. In fact, for an overview of the conference, presenters and presentations, check out http://www.phecanada.ca/events/conference2015/program/workshops.
However, it is really hard to replicate a conference on a blog page. I would say impossible. Fortunately, with some collaborative effort from Brent at PHE Canada and one of our keynotes, I can share a video that I hope will make you think about the way you think about exercise and physical activity (read it twice, it makes sense, really, it does). We were privileged to have Dr. Yoni Freedhoff (@YoniFreedhoff) speak to us on Friday morning on the topic of:
Rebranding Exercise: Why Exercise is the World’s Best Drug, Just Not a Weight Loss Drug
The premise of the talk is as follows: By preventing cancers, improving blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar, bolstering sleep, attention, energy and mood, and doing so much more, exercise has indisputably proven itself to be the world’s best drug – better than any pharmaceutical product any physician could ever prescribe. Sadly though, exercise is not a weight loss drug, and so long as we continue to push exercise in the name of preventing or treating adult or childhood obesity, we’ll also continue to short-change the public about the genuinely incredible health benefits of exercise, and simultaneously misinform them about the realities of long term weight management. We need to REBRAND.
Please take a moment and view the video.
I would encourage you to watch the whole 39:13, however, if you want to skip all the research evidence, jump in at about 28 minutes or so for some key points and the summary.
You may wonder why we asked someone who mostly writes about nutrition and weight management (http://www.weightymatters.ca/ – highly recommended!) and is an obesity medicine doctor to keynote a conference called A Physical Literacy Uprising. The reason lies with the way we sometimes rationalize our work as PE teachers and Physical Activity professionals: childhood obesity.
“We need more PE to combat childhood obesity.”
“We need more PA to combat childhood obesity.”
I have even heard colleagues’ state that the obesity epidemic finally makes our jobs relevant and necessary – finally we will get the respect we deserve as a profession because we can FIX this. I couldn’t disagree more.
As Yoni states in his presentation, when we tie exercise to weight loss/control/management etc. we are committing:
A dis-service to exercise – we box exercise in as weight loss instead of highlighting all the other benefits of physical activity: sleep, co-morbidities, mental health, well-being, academics, joy, etc. This aligns with my own thoughts about WHY we need to move. Movement is worth so much more than the box(es) we often place it in.
A dis-service to quality weight management – people will try stupid things when they feel exercise has “failed” them in their goals (ie. Biggest Loser. To read one of Yoni’s scathing critique of that show, click here). Incidentally, this aspect is also linked with the fallacious idea that we need to be “fit” (or at least look that way) to be effective teachers of PE (more on that here!).
From a physical literacy perspective, we need only return to the original definition:
In short, as appropriate to each individual’s endowment, physical literacy can be described as a disposition in which individuals have: the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for maintaining purposeful physical pursuits/activities throughout the lifecourse. (Whitehead, 2010)
Quite simply – weight loss is not the motivational piece we are looking for to get kids (or adults) active, healthy and joy-full.
Let’s REBRAND EXERCISE and get it right*.
*My apologies to those who already “get it” and therefore do not need to rebrand. Please keep on being and doing awesomeness.
April 30-May 2, 2015
Why should you come to Banff for the 2015 Health and Physical Education Council (Alberta) and Physical and Health Education Canada National Conference? Well…
I could tell you about the long hours and hard work the Steering Committee has put in to make your experience at #Banff2015 second to none.
I could tell you how important our theme of PHYSICAL LITERACY is and why you should come and learn all you can.
I could tell you how inspiring and informative our keynote sessions by Dr. Kathleen Armour, Dr. Yoni Freedhof and Dr. Nancy Melnychuk will be.
I could tell you about the incredible variety of sessions facilitated by leaders in the field from across Canada and beyond (even Australia and Ireland!).
I could tell you about the incredible social events on Thursday night, Friday night (including a National Dance-OFF!) AND Saturday night.
But I won’t.
Nope. You can get all that from the conference website.
What I want to do is tell you a story of how you might maximize your #Banff2015 experience and leave the conference a richer human being.
Slow fade to black as I take you back (way back) to the beginning of my final year of undergraduate education… After a summer of working hard and playing harder I did a lot of thinking as I made the long drive out to campus. I was mulling over how I wanted to spend my senior year. Would I do the same things? Try some new stuff? The upshot was, I made a conscious decision (shouted out loud on the Coquihalla Highway) to take risks and be open to the opportunities they created. I had the BEST year. Here are some examples:
The woman in the apartment across the hall was the editor of the campus paper. She was bemoaning the fact that she did not have a sports editor. Because I am a sporty guy, she asked me if I knew anyone who could do it. Given my new philosophy, I said, “Yes. Me!” Presto – the “Strapped Jock” editorials were born. Risk taken. Opportunity accepted.
As part of my decision, I resolved to introduce myself to interesting people who I might meet around campus – the gym, weight room, cafeteria, classes, wherever. I had fabulous conversations, made many new friends, had unique experiences and even (finally) got a few dates! Risk taken. Opportunities accepted (I even asked a girl out after a final exam… Like, right after. I mean, I waited in the hall until she came out an hour later).
I know. You are trying to figure out what the heck my college dating life and experience as sports editor could possibly have to do with #Banff2015. Good question! Simply this. Give my senior year strategy a try and take a risk (or 4) at the conference. Then, be open to the opportunities those risks provide.
Make an effort to get outside your normal group of conference buddies – invite others to move with you and go and move with others.
Try a brand new activity to bring back to your students. Preferably, one that makes you slightly uncomfortable.
Introduce yourself to 15 people you have never met before. Partner with them during sessions. Follow them on Twitter. Exchange emails and teaching ideas.
Meet at least 6 people from outside your home province and dance with them on Thursday night. Find them again on Friday night and do it again.
Come to #Banff2015.
Take risks. Be open. Enjoy (the conference and the gratuitous Banff shot below).
I have been challenged by Andy Vasily to answer the above question. Here is my response! Hope you enjoy – I recruited a little bit of help…
Thanks to the awesome EDEL 321 classes for their insights and enthusiasm! #321pe
I am now challenging all the #Banff2015 Steering Committee members, @LifeIsAthletic and @CollinDillon to answer the question and post.
Be sure to check out physedagogy for the latest info on the #PhysEdSummit coming on October 25th. Hope to “see” you there!
I have been pondering doing something like this for a long time – time to get ‘er done!
“This” is figuring out a way to better integrate Twitter (and other technology) into my undergraduate classes (Curriculum and Pedagogy in Elementary Physical Education) and also further connect with those either new to teaching elementary PE or those just finally coming to the glorious realization that whole child education includes education of the physical!
So, here goes… #321pe
What? A hashtag? Seriously, didn’t Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake do that already? Doesn’t the online PE community already have #physed, #pechat, #pegeeks, etc.?
Why, yes. Yes it does. However, many of the folks that use these current tags are PE specialists. Not all – but many. Now, that is not a bad thing – au contraire! I LOVE PE specialists and wish we had more of them – especially in our Elementary schools. But, I wanted something distinct and focused for the elementary based teacher.
The teacher who is passionate about PE but may be the only one in their school.
The teacher who maybe had 1 class in University on how to teach PE.
The pre-service teacher inundated with “core” subject responsibilities.
The pre-service teacher who wants to connect with others interested in quality elementary PE.
The pre-service teacher who wants to learn from experienced elementary teachers who also love PE and teach it amazingly.
You get my point…
My hope and dream for #321pe is that it can grow organically and rhysomatically as it morphs to meet the needs of the community with input from said community. Although I don’t have all the details yet, here is my initial plan:
- Start using #321pe with my classes this term.
- On the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month (September 25th to be the first!) anyone can post questions and ideas to #321pe and, for now, I will direct those questions to people I think have a good idea of how to address them.
- Summarize those Thursday discussions and questions and post the summary to Google Drive.
- Speaking of G-Drive, springing from the #321pe conversations I will add shared file folders for folks to be able to access resources, links, co-created lessons, etc.
- Eventually, I would like to have “featured hosts” who will coordinate a Thursday session (maybe 1 hour, maybe just sum up the day’s discussion and provide links and ideas).
As another way to launch and explore this idea, I will be submitting a #321pe session for the #PhysedSummit on October 25th, 2014. In the meantime – tweet me your ideas, comment on the blog and let’s build a community together!
So why #321pe and not something else? You’ll have to wait for the #PhysedSummit to find out!