Today’s blog is a guest post from Nathan Weaver, who I have been lucky enough to meet on a few occasions and connect with frequently through Twitter. Nathan is passionate about having a healthy, active lifestyle and resides in Sydney, Australia, where he teaches PDHPE. He blogs at https://weaverteaches.wordpress.com/ and is an up and coming leader in this field. I am honoured to have him blog for me and hope you connect and engage with him to discuss this important topic further.
Almost ten years ago in his popular TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson raised the powerful question ….. do schools kill creativity? This question resonated amongst many in our profession and since the question was raised, we have seen many new pedagogies emerge such as the socratic seminar, genius hour and makerspaces. The new approaches to teaching provide students with time to develop their creativity while solving problems and learning that it is ok to make mistakes. In addition to this, when students learn that things do not always work out the way we plan they begin to develop grit and resilience which are skills students need for life beyond the classroom.
Ten years may seem like a long time however if we reflect on what has occurred during this time the reality is with the aid of the internet, rapid progress has been made to address the issues raised in Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk. We still have a long way to go but the collaboration among connected educators around the globe has lead to the sharing of knowledge and new understandings about the art and science of our profession, especially within areas of learning we often find challenging.
To highlight this we can look at the modern approaches to Physical Education that have been shared with the world by the #aussiePhysEd team lead by Andy Hair, Arron Gardiner, Sean deMorton and Daniel Zito. Their network started out as 4 teachers having conversations about best practices in PE. This network has grown to more than 50 Physical Education teachers who dare to dream big and more importantly, make these dreams become realities.
The #aussiePhysEd team have developed an innovation up there with genius hour and makerspace which is GPS-Fitness Art. GPS-Fitness Art is a simple concept where students are provided a map of an open space within the school. Students draw a simple image on the map trying to use as much of the space as possible. The second step of GPS-Fitness Art is to step outside of the classroom and make the images on the map come to life using a GPS Fitness tracking app (Strava, MapMyRun or Runkeeper) to digitally reproduce the paper image. This new approach to Physical Education not only gets kids active but it also allows students to show their creative side while solving problems and making many mistakes; which we have already pointed out is a good thing. If GPS-Fitness Art has captured your attention check out Brett Sinnett’s GPS Fitness Art Facebook page or connect with the #aussiePhysEd team via their website.
Image created by Christina Polatajko’s Year 5 Superstars
At the end of the day, parents send their children to our schools with the hope that we will give them a future. Most parents want their children to have more than they have so when we strive to provide students with time to develop their creativity, we are not only responding to the challenges raised by Sir Ken Robinson 10 years ago, we are in fact preparing students for life beyond the classroom.