The best part of my week is when I can get into classrooms and spend time understanding our learners and their learning journey. This week I was able to spend time in our High School PHE department on a beautiful November day. My own memories of out-of-school sports as a child are very positive (I played Sunday league football when I was young!) but...to be honest I don’t have good memories of my own PHE classes. For me the pain was never worth the gain and being a somewhat overweight and slightly asthmatic student, running was the worst of the worst for me. I would always be in the final few, exhausted and embarrassed. Maybe some parents reading this can empathize with me!
So, it is a breath of fresh air to see how times have changed and to see how PHE teachers today do the very best they can to ignite a passion and spirit of confidence in every child. The focus is not on who is the fastest, the strongest, the best; the focus is on developing a pride in who you are and in the achievement of reaching your personal best – and on finding your own passion and using it to develop life-long habits of healthy living and fitness.
Of course different students will still have different emotions as they access the learning, but after today’s class I could have introduced you to four or five students who – based on timings – you perhaps could rank ‘fastest to slowest’ but you would not be able to tell me who was who. Each of them left the lesson proud of meeting their personal goals and energized by the heart rate they had been able to maintain. And, what is more, all of them were looking forward to taking this data into their math class to see what it showed them about linear and non-linear progression (if you can run 1 km in 7 minutes, can you run 10 km in 70? Why? Or why not?). Our students had also designed their own fitness routines to maximize their potential to achieve their goals. This was student owned and empowered learning.
I’m sure there are still some students who, like I was, might struggle in a subject area. For some it is PHE, for others it may be languages, the arts, math or the sciences. Few of us are able to sail through everything we do. Most of us will hit dark spots and need help finding our way out. I am so grateful to our teachers for finding ways to bring ownership and pride to our learners in each and every thing they do and helping them to come and know themselves for who they are, and who they can be!
- M. Parr, Head of School