Kieron O’Brien, Helen Miller & John Holland talk about how they’ve kick started students into action and inspiration for remote learning in sport
How have you continued to teach sport during remote learning?
John Holland: The whole world has been encouraged to stay active and complete daily exercise during this pandemic. Our first focus when online learning started was to encourage different ways students could stay active and gain the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. This term the focus has been much more student-centred, building their knowledge through research and completing different tasks, whilst being encouraged to be creative in designing a personal training programme.
Helen Miller: From an academic perspective, I have enjoyed finding new ways to help the GCSE and A-level pupils engage with topics ranging from the Ancient Olympics, Participation in Physical Activity and Sport development in the UK. These topics work well with research projects and we are starting to build an RST Academic PE website to benefit future students. The pupils have used lesson time to build a page, using their own ideas and formatting skills, and populate it with content from their research. This will stretch the ablest in the group and encourage any EAL pupils to write using sentence structures. The end result will incorporate ‘keywords’ from the syllabus and link to ‘quizlets’ to check their understanding!
Sport is a popular part of RST school life. Have your students engaged well with the online adaptations?
John Holland: Yes, they have! The variety of tasks set has kept students engaged and interested throughout. The current focus is on students building their own sports specific exercise programme, which aims to actively engage and build their PE knowledge and physical fitness, specific to a certain sport.
Kieron O’Brien: The students have engaged really well. They have left behind more than just their classes and academics, and sport / fitness is a good way of bringing back a sense of community. As teachers, we’ve all encouraged students to share what is happening in their lives, especially given the stress, fear and strains in these uncertain times.
What has been the most challenging part of providing online sport?
John Holland: Ensuring the work set is adequate for all abilities and ages, and that students are focused and interested to complete the work to the best of their ability.
Kieron O’Brien: Perhaps the most common challenge teachers face in online is the lack of face-to-face engagement with students and other colleagues. It’s also been a challenge balancing diverse learning needs.
What have you learnt from this new way of teaching and learning?
Helen Miller: I have developed my technology skills tremendously through the online google training (Level 1 and 2). This has opened up lots of new platforms (and therefore ideas), including Google Scholar, Google Sites, Google sheets and a better grasp of Google classroom.
John Holland: Firstly my level of ICT has hugely improved. I have become much more competent in using online resources and have even learnt how to edit and create videos. Similarly, in times like this I think everyone has developed an understanding of the importance of exercise and physical well-being in their daily lives.
Kieron O’Brien: Students appreciate regular communication. Students need extrinsic motivation Share ideas, collaborate about online teaching experiences.
How do you think the current situation might benefit your department in the long term?
Helen Miller: The resources we are building up to support all pupils, but especially the EAL students who choose Academic PE (GCSE and A-level) will put the department in a much stronger position.
John Holland: Our department will certainly never take for granted the excellent facilities we have on site and how our curriculum allows students to maximise their learning by using these. Our improvement in knowledge of ICT learning tools will certainly aid the quality of lessons delivered in the future and also how these tools can track student progress and attainment.
Is there anything you would like to say to the school community?
Helen Miller: As we reflect on the world around us, our lifestyles and our happiness, make sure that you take time for yourself. Whatever this may be – art, poetry, music, exercise or reading!
John Holland: It has been a great effort by all the community to keep going through these difficult times. The teachers have worked hard to plan and develop engaging activities and the students have shown excellent determination and perseverance to continue their learning journey. All the RST teachers are looking forward to welcoming the students back to school and hopefully the students will be rewarded for their hard work with the unveiling of our new sports hall.