Play.sport Issue 7: March 2018
29 March 2018
Welcome to the first Play.sport newsletter for 2018. We’re now two years into the four-year pilot in Waitakere and Upper Hutt, and through the stories that have been gathered in that time, plus the Year One evaluation, we can see the initiative is leading to higher levels of student enjoyment, confidence and participation in physical activity, PE and sport.
I’m looking forward to seeing the second year evaluation results which are due soon, the highlights of which will be shared in further editions of this newsletter.
In the meantime, enjoy this latest update providing a snippet of the excellent work being done with schools, teachers and students, and their wider communities.
Sport NZ Chief Executive
My first time using health and physical education for my Teacher Inquiry
As part of the curriculum, a Teacher Inquiry is designed to provide teachers with the chance to reflect on their current classroom strategies and to test new learning approaches with their students. Traditionally Teacher Inquiries have dealt with subjects such as reading or writing, but this is shifting – Play.sport mentors are working alongside teachers to help them expand and connect their inquiries to health and physical education (HPE).
Cath Brattle is a year three and four teacher at Plateau School in Upper Hutt. Her recent Teacher Inquiry focussed on core competencies, and specifically fostering inclusive and engaged classroom behaviour. And she did this by using HPE. Working with Play.sport mentors Celia Fleck and Jarod Summers, Cath’s plan focussed on giving the students time to share and reflect on their learning.
Photo: Cath's class in action
“One of the things that stuck with me, from a PD day with Play.sport, was hearing from college students who wished their primary teachers had taught them skills, rather than just play games or do sport – it highlighted to me that I wasn’t giving my students time to discuss what we are learning, why and our next steps,” says Cath.
At the outset Cath’s goal was to get her students interacting better. She noticed that when she used sport with her class, there wasn’t a lot of teamwork, things quickly became competitive, and some even cheated. She wanted her students to be able to relate well to one another, to be inclusive and encouraging.
“As we move into a time where classroom collaboration is becoming increasingly important both for teachers and for students, group work and cooperation are key skills for students to practice and build upon,” says Cath.
“This was why I decided to look at key competencies for my Teacher Inquiry. Jarod and Celia from Play.sport were super helpful and supportive and it was easy to develop my health and PE teaching time around this.”
And she saw changes quickly in her students. “As we continued on our journey, the shift from being the best at a skill changed to having a go, and encouraging your team mates. Everything became a team effort and the main competition came from bettering your effort from last time.”
As hauora and wellbeing were at the heart of the plan, exploring Māori concepts was integral to the process. This was a something new for Cath, too.
“This part was quite hard for me as it was new learning for myself and I was not so confident with pronunciation. But the great thing was it provided an awesome platform for me to model risk-taking and perseverance.”
Overall the Inquiry was a real success for Cath, and for Celia and Jarod. As a result, Cath’s seen her class increase their output in all their curriculum areas, not just HPE. They’re meeting deadlines and are on-task; she puts this down to the entire class being invested in working as a team and supporting one another to succeed.
Cath says the best learning for her as a teacher was having the support to give it a go, and the help to link classroom learning with the HPE curriculum.
“HPE is very important to me as a person and as a teacher. Through PD with Play.sport and support from the team, as well as my work colleagues, I feel confident that the learning experiences I share with my class are helping to prepare them to be kind and respectful, active members of an ever-changing society.”
Grant Schofield talks about the importance of physical activity for wellbeing
On 13 March Grant Schofield, Chief Education Health and Nutrition Advisor, at the Ministry of Education spoke to a group of Play.sport West Auckland primary and intermediate principals and senior leaders about the importance of acknowledging student and staff wellbeing.
We grabbed some footage of his insights to share with you, including focusing on the relationship between Hauroa/wellbeing to the education curriculum.
Hearing from the Ministry of Education’s chief advisor in this area is invaluable for senior staff involved with and supporting Play.sport. The success of the programme is dependent on the commitment of teachers and their leaders.
Jade Eru Bennett
Creating sport and physical activity opportunities that are fresh, engaging and collaborative is the key aim of connecting schools to communitities via Play.sport’s activators.Through Play.sport, Heretaunga College has recently employed a full-time activator to focus on wellbeing for its students and staff. The purpose of this role is to oversee and work within the school and community, and to implement an approach that ensures all students have access to quality sport and physical activity opportunities to increase their wellbeing and support them to be active, engaged, learn and succeed.
Jade Eru Bennett is one of Play.sport’s newest activators. Since joining Heretaunga College in Upper Hutt late last year, she’s been working with students to trial a range of activities, using current outside providers and co-designing with students to energise and drive interest and participation in physical activity.
Jade says it’s “the perfect job”. She found out about the role when her mum saw it advertised, and passed it on with an encouraging, “this sounds exactly like you”. With a background in youth work, community development and wellbeing, becoming the school’s first activator was a natural move for the born and bred Upper Hutt local.
Striking the right balance with students is key to Play.sport’s success – encouraging young people to take ownership and set the direction of their activities is the backbone of Jade’s work. In particular, she’s been working with a raft of students across the school testing the basics – the spaces, places and best times to get together.
Last term she was focused on trialling ideas and getting students to co-design what activities could be the most appealing. At that time there were only junior students left at the end of the school term. This gave Jade a chance to capture those transitioning from intermediate to college. There were some “real, tangible and positive outcomes” for these students who often get lost or lose interest in physical activity as they get older.
‘Capture the flag’ - a fast, non-traditional game - was a popular choice and an eye opener for Jade. Students loved the fact they could shape the game as they needed and that the markers of success weren’t about “getting a ball in a hoop”.
Jade says not being afraid to try and remove barriers to participation – perceived or real – is essential for running a strong programme. By working across the entire school, and engaging those not ordinarily interested in being physically active, tapping into the arts, music and kapa haka, Jade’s holistic focus on wellbeing is successfully creating inclusion throughout Heretaunga College.
Five quick questions with Jade Eru Bennett:
What brings you the most job satisfaction in your role with Play.sport?
Working with young people and seeing them smile and develop brings the most job satisfaction. The role is very malleable and creative so that it can shape the real need for that specific school and community – so I also really thrive in that kind of space.
How are you enticing students who wouldn’t normally be physically active, or identify with being “sporty”?
It all comes down to relationships. Building an authentic connection with young people first will enable those options to become a lot more viable. Also working alongside young people, asking what they want to do helps a lot. Young people are so capable and are best at knowing what they need. There’s no use putting something in place that I as an adult think might work… if it’s not coming from the young people themselves, it’s a lot harder to get them to engage.
What’s your main focus, or goal for this term?
My main focus this term is developing young people to work with young people. Always thinking with a long term sustainable focus, then it’s vital that there are systems in place for students to effectively lead one another. So that’s my big focus this term and I’m excited to be working directly with a group of fantastic students, passionate about making a difference in their school and community.
In your short time in the role is there one key learning, or something that’s surprised you?
Key learning that always keeps being confirmed is that co-design is essential for young people to authentically engage. Something that’s surprised me is how many opportunities are currently being offered within the school and the structures of success are almost there – it’s just connecting the dots almost and refining some processes and providing support to enable them to thrive.
What do you hope students will get out of Play.sport and the role PA plays in their lives?
I hope students and staff will have a broader understanding of their wellbeing needs and what tools they require for a resilient and flourishing life.
Planning for the gods in Olympus
Play.sport assists teachers with both planning and implementation – two different but equally important parts of executing the health and physical education curriculum. In this update, we’ll look at a well-crafted plan, and tease out the things that make it work. In our next newsletter, we’ll review an example of a recent, successful implementation.
Sam Morrison is a teacher at Blockhouse Bay Intermediate. In approaching his next athletics unit, he was trying to find a stimulating, new way to explore the subject. Olympus, the home of the Greek Gods, seemed a good place to start his plan. Culture, values and belief were the starting point for the students’ engagement with the programme – testing their attitudes to ideas of winning, or losing by establishing a “truth continuum” to gauge themselves on.
In developing a way to engage students, he had to think critically about PE and sport, and how to make it fun. Using Play.sport concepts and methods, while working with mentors Tracey Stewart and James McIntyre, and working alongside another teacher, Sam’s own approach to teaching was challenged, “…not just in PE but in all curriculum areas. Providing a space for students to think critically in a practical way and also giving me tools to be reflective on my practice has been invaluable. I wish I had this kind of support in all curriculum areas!”
Play.sport mentor Tracey Stewart worked with Sam, and says his plan is exemplary. She says a good plan is first and foremost realistic.
“A plan needs to be able to be used regardless of weather, season and school events. It needs to be reflective of student lives and their needs. It asks students to question, and think critically about the world we live in … it does all this in through and about movement.”
The Olympus plan impressed her by taking the common context of school athletics and applying socio-critical thinking.
“It explores political themes. It really gets the students thinking about their own attitudes and values and whether they live by them when it comes to implementing what they believe to be the ‘right’ thing to do. It asks them to reflect on their attitudes and explore why it is difficult to live by the values you believe are important. And it does all of this using a physical context which is relevant to the world and school events the students live at the school,” says Tracey.
Tracey works with teachers to develop strong health and physical education (HPE) plans.
“Being a part of Play.sport has given the teachers ‘permission’ to try new things, and think creatively about how they plan and deliver PE. That leads to quality experiences for the students – with higher levels of engagement and connection to the learning experiences. If leadership in the school is supportive of the teachers to explore the potential in HPE, then I have found teachers have the ability to create interesting strong plans – relevant to the students in their classes.”
Tracey suggests teachers start with some good questions when developing an engaging PE plan:
- What is the most important set of Achievement Objectives for my students to explore and challenge their thinking around at the moment?
- How can I use the Underlying Concepts to facilitate experiences for my students to learn these life enhancing lessons?
- What contexts/sports/physical activities/outdoor ed/home ed/play experiences can I use to stage the learning?
- What is happening in the school on a community level (gala, sports events, athletics day, festivals, etc.) can I link the purpose of the plan to these events at all?
- What is the inquiry topic being covered, can I link the purpose of the plan to this topic?