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Rethinking Physical Education: Changing Priorities Professor Len Almond St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK.

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Presentation on theme: "Rethinking Physical Education: Changing Priorities Professor Len Almond St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rethinking Physical Education: Changing Priorities Professor Len Almond St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK

2 Is Physically Active Play Extinct?

3 Inactivity o Inactive = 30 minutes of moderate activity each week – ONCE A WEEK!! Current recommendations o 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day o 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each work

4 Kids today run slower than their parents did Today's kids run a mile 90 seconds more slowly than children three decades ago, according to new research that analysed 50 past studies on running fitness conducted between 1964 and 2010. Heart-related fitness in children has slipped 5% per decade since 1975. American Heart Association November 2013

5 Problems o 70% of young people claim they don’t like competition – WHY? o Huge drop out from sport – WHY? o Most parents have a “Big Concern” with youth coaches (Aspen Institute Project on Parents, 2014) – too much emphasis on winning and poor coaches – WHY? o Very high levels of inactivity – WHY?

6 WHY? Is it o The content o The way we teach o Schools – PE not a priority o Young people today o Pressures on teachers o Distraction of social media and screen time

7 My answer - Disconnection

8 o Curriculum aspirations and practice-major gap* o Health and practice – taken-for-granted* o Pedagogy and practice – uninformed* o Sport and Physical Education -sport dominates* o Assessment and achievement- what is important?* o Young people and teachers/coaches - ? o Theory and practice - nothing new/understandable*

9 WE NEED YOU to restore connection

10 These words are on a commemorative plaque for Lawrence Stenhouse. He was probably one the most distinguished, original and influential educationalists of his generation. A great believer and supporter of teachers – he never doubted their potential. “It is teachers who, in the end, will change the world of the classroom by understanding it. ”

11 Teachers/coaches are Gatekeepers With a negative perspective who can: Put young people off sport Stall and inhibit progress or a Positive Perspective Encourage Inspire Empower

12 Revised Educational Aspirations Health o Energise Lives o Optimal Development Enriching Lives o Active Lifestyle o Developing an absorbing interest o Enhance quality of lives Learn to give life shape and purpose

13 Reality Check The UK Physical Activity Guidelines for School Aged Young People o 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day o Reality o Self-reported-Scotland o Boys 66% Girls 58% o 13-15 - B56% G32% o Accelerometers o Boys 33% Girls 21% o 11-15 – B7% G 0%

14 BUT is this our role?


16 Source: NASA & WHO Disease patterns by 2030 1. Aids 2. Depression 3. Stroke 1. Aids 2. Infant Mortality 3. Depression 1.Depression 2.Heart Attack 3.Alzheimers 1.Depression 2.Heart Attack 3.Alzheimers 1. Aids 2. Depression 3. Stroke 1.Depression 2.Heart Attack 3.Alzheimers

17 World Health Organisation (1984) The definition of health is: “the extent to which an individual or group is able to realise aspirations and safety needs, and to change and cope with the environment. Health is is a resource for everyday life, not an objective for living.”

18 Health as a Resource o Regular engagement in physical activity and purposeful physical pursuits enables the body to function well o Potential to build a personal resource that leads to feelings of vitality, energy and dynamism and the achievement of wellbeing o Enables children and young people to o feel good and flourish well o reach their optimal development (including children with impairments) o enrich lives in other ways because it underpins a person’s capacity to pursue other meaningful pursuits.

19 Enriches Lives Developing capacities to o Learn to give their life shape and purpose through purposeful physical pursuits o Learn how to make informed choices that they have thought about. o Acquire the power to make choices of a certain kind (informed and rational) and arrived at in a certain way (non-coercive and non-indoctrinatory).

20 Enable young people to exert greater control over their health and the factors that shape health. Enable young people to exert greater control over their lifestyle and the factors that shape living well.

21 Young People need o The capacity to take responsibility for creating a meaningful life/fulfilling life in which purposeful physical pursuits (like sport) can play a significant role. o Learn to make informed choices that they have thought about o Learn to give their life shape and purpose through purposeful physical pursuits o Generate an enabling resource that provides the basis for living a flourishing life (wellbeing)

22 These proposals represent radical proposals for Physical Education and Sport

23 Royal Society of Arts article 2013 o Expose the danger that lies at the heart of British Education, the profound disregard for the cardinal sin: first, ‘do no harm’. o We are harming the life chances of our young people by rigid academic models and testing that fail to capture the richness of human need and capacities. o Where do we encourage capabilities like initiative, responsibility, self-discipline, persistence, flexibility, self-management, teamwork, problem solving, resilience and confidence?

24 Issues o Do NO harm o Address human needs and capacities o Encourage key capabilities that we have neglected These represent key principles

25 What do we need to do? o A curriculum in schools that recognises that these dispositions need to be addressed o Appropriate pedagogy o The will and courage to challenge existing practice o The patience to generate change

26 Missing Ingredients in Physical Education o Empowerment and Agency o Informed decision makers o Responsibility o Independence o Giving young people a genuine ‘voice’ o Inner resources/capacities

27 A Sporting Habit: Are these recognised? o Emotional engagement in sport while growing up is the most important driver of current regular participation o Young people have built a much stronger attachment to sport from secondary school age, being more likely to feel sport defines them and plays a much bigger part in their lives o The support networks of family, friends and teachers to build and reinforce an emotional connection with sport and making young people feel that sport is ‘for people like them’ o A passion for sport in general is more important that a passion for a specific sport. Research in dance finds the same characteristics How to Develop a Sporting Habit for Life: Final report. Sport England December 2012 for-life-report.pdf

28 Inner resources o Self-confidence o Enthusiasm o Optimism o Perseverance/stickablity/grit o Determination o Patience o Resilience

29 Empowerment, Independence and Responsibility o TGFU o Games Making o Sport Education o Constructing/Choreographing a Dance o Developing self-controlled practices o Expeditions o Leadership o ?

30 Thinking Curriculum What the Student can engage in What the Teacher needs to do

31 Thinking Curriculum o Solving puzzles – scenario based learning o Making Informed choices o Intelligent performances in games o Planning (leadership) o Games making o Sport Education o Athletic Challenges o Dance o Adventurous activities o Expeditions o Informed decision- making o What would you do in situation x or y? o Explanations- why and what o Self-corrected practice

32 Gamification - Gameful design This is the real challenge to Physical Education

33 Gameful Design “Rarely did they report the sense of excitement around their learning that they experienced in learning to play video games”. Where the deeply satisfying properties of video games, features such as agency, emotional engagement, social affirmation and immediate feedback help students to feel good about their learning as they reach their goals, connect with others, and engage in experiences with meaning.

34 Enabling Conditions for Learning o Build attention span, listening skills, concentration and alertness o Develop self-control o Generate behavioural flexibility o Emphasise emotional attachment to purposeful physical pursuits o Encourage stickability

35 Recent thinking o Spaced learning o 45 minutes followed by 15 minutes recess o 15 minutes followed by 5 minutes of activity o The brain needs a break in any task o External focus v Internal focus o Try out their skills in unfamiliar situations to develop behavioural flexibility

36 What do we need to do? o Establish a positive culture that promotes active lifestyles o Give young people a Voice in their learning o Encourage self-directed learning o Enable young people to be independent and responsible learners/people o Create a culture in which empowerment and agency can flourish

37 Thank you Any questions?

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