Feeling very fortunate and blessed to have won the best PE blog award, but as I reflect on the last three years, it is very important to bring attention to the very fact that there are so many great teachers out there serving and representing our PE community so incredibly well. Without the connected, universal web of excellent teaching practice, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have and for all of you who are a part of the network and voted in #PEawards13, I thank you.
Although I have so many people to thank for this, I really want to point out the work of 3 teachers whom I admire and have a lot of respect for. When I accept the award of best blog, I must draw attention to the fact that none of this would have been possible with Joey Feith.
What he has done for the physical education network on Twitter and on the internet has been a direct result of the endless hours that he puts in selflessly sharing his good practice, his resources, his vision, and his insight into assessment and instruction within our field. I personally know the amount of time that goes into developing a website and Joey never asks for anything in return. The only thing that he aims for is to make us all better at what we do in an effort to enhance the learning of our students. He really is a true champion of quality #physed and his work, in my opinion, is among the best that I have seen. Thank you Joey for all you do for our community.
I also want to draw attention to Nathan Horne. Nathan has long been selfless as well about sharing his work and vision of what quality PE is all about. A short story to provide evidence of this fact. A few years back, I received an email from Nathan when he taught at a small international school in Italy. It was before he founded i-phys-ed.com. At that time, Nathan shared with me his passion for integrating technology in the classroom and in PE. He was very keen back then and the clear vision that he held resulted in his excellent website that has added so much value to our network. Thanks Nathan for all you do for us. I look very forward to continued collaboration with you over the next several years.
I have also been very lucky to have connected with Dr. Ash Casey. Ash’s PEPRN blog continue to challenges me each each week to truly dig deep and reflect on my practice. It has been a powerful tool for me to always consider research when constructing the learning experiences that I have my students engage in. His blogs cause me to reflect on both micro and macro levels in terms of my instruction and my pedagogical stance on education as it related to PE. He seriously puts in a lot of time developing his weekly blogs (28 blogs in 28 weeks). I think that he adds so much value to our network due to the fact he was a true warrior in the field for a number of years (15 I think), before pursuing higher education and ultimately his PHD. He is a role model and a tremendous value to our network. Thanks Ash.
As well as the above 3, I have lots of others to thank for their ongoing support of the PEPLC network and making this initial vision come alive and bear fruit. My genuine thanks and appreciation goes out to the following people (in no particular order!):
Kelly Ann Parry, Dr. Amanda Stanec, Dr. Dean Dudley, Dr. Doug Gleddie, Ashlea Mills, Mel Hamada, Ross Halliday, Matthew Pomeroy, Patty Kestall, Jo Bailey, Naomi Hartl, Joe McCarthy, Blue Jay Bridge, Brendan Jones, Mark Williams, and Mike McMillan (Mike was one of the very first I discussed #PEPLC with over dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Shanghai!)
Wow, I absolutely love to find a book that I think may be a good read, crack it open, and immediately be able to make a deep connection to what the author is saying. I am only a few pages through the book, ‘Steal Like an Artist”, but I have been able to already make a link between the author’s words and to the power of blogging. I think that we are always in pursuit of excellent ideas and we actively search the internet and make important connections to those who inspire us. As a direct result of searching for and finding the gifts that exist out there, we feel compelled to apply what we have found within our own practice as educators.
Do we actually steal the great ideas of others? The author of Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon, says that we do indeed steal the ideas of others, but that there is a genuine process involved when doing so.
Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only the things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (your theft) will be authentic.
I feel as though I am consistently on this path when reflecting on what being a teacher means and when looking for ways to improve my practice. During this relentless pursuit of bettering my instruction, I come across so many inspiring ideas and excellent reading that fuels my passion for blogging. I guess I am a thief!!! This is a great image from the book that speaks volumes to me.
What great advice, isn’t it? Read deeply, stay open, continue to wonder, and use Google whenever possible. Simple yet fascinatingly true when attempting to improve ourselves as people and as teachers. I love it!
Any teachers reading this blog post who have not heard of PEPLC (a Physical Education Professional Learning Community) need to check out www.peplc.net at their earliest convenience. There is still room to join this professional development initiative and doing so is guaranteed to deepen your instructional practice.
Essentially, PEPLC is about setting professional growth goals and working toward these goals on different learning teams with other practitioners interested in the same learning themes. This blog post is not so much about explaining what PEPLC is as it would require a much more detailed explanation.
The purpose of this blog post is to ask you to reflect deeply on any burning issues that you have related to your practice. What is it that you feel that you need to learning more about in order to deliver quality phys-ed lessons for your students? PEPLC has 5 different learning themes, so I ask that you reflect on these 5 themes and think about any questions, uncertainties, issues, thoughts, or ideas that you have related to these 5 themes.
Innovation & Technology
Curriculum & Programming
Leadership & Mentoring
Feel free to write these issues, thoughts, uncertainties etc. in the comment box below this blog post. I will take your comments forward to specific PEPLC learning teams who can discuss and help to answer the questions for you and provide you with valuable insight into what you may be searching for. Professional development in an ongoing and continuous sense so to speak.
Please leave your email as I will follow up with you once your comments have been addressed by the different PEPLC learning teams out there.
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw away the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. EXPLORE, DREAM, DISCOVER.
It is amazing the things we come across when we least expect it. I wanted to share a short story that happened to me the other day. I have been in Bali the last few weeks relaxing with my family enjoying the sun, the beach, and great times with my wife, Neila, and 2 boys, Tai and Eli. Been trying to stay active going for runs every other morning along the beach. Running is a precious time for me as I really take the time to think through and reflect on current events in my life. This can be my job, my family, and/or any pressing issues or deadlines that I am faced with. I often think about teaching and reflect on what I want to learn more about or things to try out in my instruction.
During one of my early morning runs, I came across what I think is a truly inspirational quote, spray painted on to an old, grey deteriorating cement wall along the ocean in Sanur, Bali. I stopped and read it, a few times, before having to take a photo of it. The rest of my run, I reflected on the significance of this quote and how it can be applied to my life as a teacher. I am dead serious when I say that I thought about it deeply for the rest of my run that morning.
To me this quote sums up exactly how I feel about taking risks in our profession. Standing firm with our beliefs, and sharing these beliefs without fear of being judged as right or wrong. We are all at different stages of our teaching careers, but no matter where we are at, we must take risks and be willing to think outside the traditional box and try new things, even if these things we try are extremely challenging to us.
We must remain open-minded to change and learn from other teachers whom we connect with. We must look at their journeys in education and listen to their experiences because they have so much to share. Remaining open-minded allows us to pick up on lots of little things that guaranteed we can apply to our own practice.
I am sure you all agree that we can never learn enough. Although excellence is ever-elusive, we should always strive toward deepening our practice whenever we can in an attempt to BE EXCELLENT and make a difference to our students.
The above quote, in my opinion, is how we should construct the academic environment within our PE classes and our programs. Let our students EXLORE. Let our students DREAM. Let our students DISCOVER.
Thanks for listening!
Wow, it has been some time now since my last blog. In the previous few weeks, I have been busy with end of year commitments at my school in Nanjing, China and working a new project that I am extremely excited to be a part of which is called PEPLC (Physical Education Professional Learning Community). To see more about PEPLC, please visit our website at www.peplc.net.
Although reflection always plays an important role within teaching practice, I think that it is essential to complete a final reflection at the end of the school year. Doing so highlights our successes and failures allowing us to truly think about the learning that we have had our students engage in during the last 10 months. A final end of year reflection also allows us to set professional growth goals for the upcoming school year. The list of 20 questions that you see below can give you some insight into how I reflect upon my own teaching practice. There are certainly many other reflective questions that you can consider when creating a list for yourself, but I just felt like sharing a few of mine.
As a teacher, how do you reflect on instructional practice and learning of your students. Always looking for new ideas an welcome them. Thanks!!
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.