Activating Student Voice in PE
It's been ages since I've blogged, but I'm happy to be back at it. In particular, I'm thrilled to be teaching PE again. It's been over 5 years since I last taught PE regularly. Over the past 5 years, I have been a pedagogical coordinator and a coach for teachers. Although I still have this role, due to COVID, our teachers are very spread out across the school. There was a need for another PE teacher, so I gladly jumped on board to take a few classes this year. It is a great way for me to stay connected to teaching and gain a deeper insight into the day-to-day challenges that teachers face.
I wanted to share a strategy that I'm putting into action with my grade 5 students to start off the year. For the past few weeks, we've been in distance learning, but we are now slowly moving back to face-to-face teaching. Although I've already had the grade 5 students for a month now and have gotten to know them reasonably well, I feel that going back to face-to-face is presenting some great opportunities to get to know them even better.
It is my intention to seek much more student voice and to involve the students, on a deeper level, in the building of units throughout this school year. The only way that I can do this is to get their genuine feedback about their past experiences, their likes, dislikes, and the ways they enjoy being physically active when not in school. I feel that this will provide me with some valuable data to start off the school year.
I want my students to feel valued, listened to, and a part of the decision-making process in their physical education experience. I told them that there are certain units that I have to teach this year. However, in saying this, I let them know that I intend on using their feedback to hopefully improve on their learning experiences and to build more engaging units in PE this year.
I introduced the questionnaire that I was going to have them fill out, quickly explained each section and then I had them partner up and do a walk and talk. During this power walk, they shared their thoughts based on the questionnaire. After the walk, we had a few minutes to play some simple playground games using no equipment(due to social distancing and COVID restrictions). As an exit ticket, the students filled out the questionnaire and gave it back to me. By involving them right away and getting them to share their honest thoughts, I feel we have started the year off on the right track. I'm sincerely hoping to build on this momentum and give them more opportunities such as this throughout the school year to share their feedback. What's most important to me is that I provide them with an autonomy supportive environment and build trust with them. I genuinely want them to know that they matter and that we're in on this wonderful journey together.
Check out a couple of the completed questionnaires below. How might you do something similar in your program? What are ways you've collected student voice in the past? Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading.
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.