Thursday, 7 September 2017

PE Teachers in Action

Over the past couple of months I have enjoyed completing observations of other teachers in the school (e.g. a couple of Science observations and an observation of Learn, Create, Share in action). I have found these observations incredibly useful to reflect on strategies which I do and don't use within the classroom. 

As I had completed 3 observations of other subjects, I decided to complete 3 observations of PE teachers and classes. I observed Brenton with his Option Y10 class, Doris with a compulsory PE class and Alex with his 13PE class. I was looking for different things during each observation, but walked away with some similar ideas and reflections. These are the key things I have taken away from the observations to think about and implement further;

  • Although saying 'good girl' may be positive, without explaining what is actually good, this isn't actually feedback. Feedback (and feedforward) need to be specific to the task/activity, such as good explanation of this topic, however you're missing an example. When I heard comments like good girl, the student appeared happy for the few seconds post, but some were still confused or became offtask.

  • Across the observations there were opportunities for the teachers to ask open-ended questions. The use of open-ended questions may have reduced some confusion/lack of understanding from students, as the teachers were checking in to see whether they understood what to do. I have been trying to break up teaching points with questions along the way to keep students engaged, and to determine what their level of understanding is. I am struggling to do this in a way which encourages the quiet students to speak, so sometimes I may think the class is ready to move on, but only the vocal students are.

  • Two of three of the teachers used countdowns to bring students in/gain their attention (one in the gym and one in the classroom). I realised that I used countdowns regularly last year, but hardly used them this year, and I am unsure if I have ever used them in the classroom. This could be a useful strategy for getting students' attention, something I am currently waiting a long time for.

  • Rather than having discussions and/or drawing attention to students when they are late, give them their activity quickly so that they can get on task. Once they're on task, a quiet conversation with them later on, is likely to be more successful than asking right as they walk in the door. I have found recently many of my students have been coming late because of legitimate reasons, and it is difficult to determine what's the truth or not. By waiting to have the conversation later, I think this may encourage students to be more truthful about their absence.

  • Overplanning ensures there are plenty of activities for the students to do, and is likely to reduce boredom or disengagement. I noticed during the observations if tasks weren't challenging enough (or too challenging), or didn't take students very long to complete, then some students would start to become offtask as they were trying to entertain themselves. So, by having extra activities available in case students complete activities quicker than expected, ensures the learning continues. This also relates to the importance of differentiation within a class, something I am trying to work on at the moment (as it is difficult with so many on period per week classes).
Overall, I enjoyed these observations, and am looking forward to completing an English observation to focus on literacy strategies as well as an observation of Health. I will now need to think about, and put into action some of these takeaways!


  1. Hey Georgia :)
    Awesome that you are making the most of observing other teachers - such a powerful learning tool. I observed a primary school teacher recently and he used a similar method to a 'countdown' to get student attention... He would say 'Tahi' the students would reply 'rua', he would say 'Toru' the students would say 'wha' and by then he had everyone's attention. I thought it was far more effective making it something that the teacher and students were part of rather than just the teacher standing there counting down.
    Hope you are well. Keep up the great mahi.

    1. Kia Ora Celia,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with me, I love that idea! I can picture the students saying rua and wha, and how quickly the others would catch on. I might have to use this strategy next year with new classes.

      I am well, I hope you are! Thanks for your ongoing support!


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