26 September 2023

PE pilot teaches kids while teachers learn

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ACT students are to reap the benefits of evidence-driven, high quality physical education through a pilot program from the Education Directorate and University of Canberra (UC).

Assistant Professor at UC’s Faculty of Education, John Williams said the pilot project saw UC researchers work with ACT primary schools to deliver high quality physical education and upskill teachers.

“The aim of the project is to support the fantastic work ACT teachers are already doing, by building on their existing skills and knowledge, without taking any time out of their already busy days,” Dr Williams said.

“Our project is aimed at students in Years 1 and 2, with the main purpose being to further the capacity among primary classroom teachers to teach quality physical education,” he said.

“The associated funding is indicative of an Education Authority that recognises the value and potential that physical education has for children and enables us to draw on gymnastics as our vehicle of choice to teach much of the program.”

Dr Williams said five ACT public schools were participating in the pilot, which saw Primary Health and Physical Education specialist teacher, Sophie Newton deliver a weekly lesson in each school.

“A unique feature of the project is that all lessons are recorded using GoPro technology from a teacher’s perspective,” he said.

“This provides the classroom teachers with an embodied experience from the perspective of the specialist to refer back to later on.”

Dr Williams said classroom teachers observed as Ms Newton delivered the lesson, which they could then replicate on their own with the help of a suite of resources and videos produced by the program.

He said the videos, along with detailed unit plans and other learning materials developed by the project team, were available for teachers online.

“By upskilling teachers across the school system with additional contemporary and personalised teaching approaches, the program is ensuring that generations of future students reap the benefits of evidence-driven, high quality physical education,” he said.

“The goal is that by the end of the pilot program students will master the fundamental movement skills — with staff and parents reporting that the program is already having an impact on students.”

Dr Williams said the pilot was set to run for the remainder of 2022.

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