Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

At the end of last term we had Dr Tessa Opie from In Your Skin visit the Y8 HPE teachers for a Relationships and Sexuality Education PD. I was proud to see how ahead New Zealand is in this space - there were even Kiwi resources used such as the notorious pie ad.This year Pedare has started an RSE programme with the Y8 students and this was the prep for it. 

As many know, sexuality education is one of my passions (see here some posts that reflect this). As a result, there were lots of reminders throughout this PD around gender, sexuality and stereotypes (the key topics of the unit). If you are learning or new to this area of the curriculum, the genderbread person is always a great place to start. The visual clearly helps to differentiate between sex, sexuality, gender and expression. So much discussion comes from this picture alone. I often then use the Real Sex Talk videos (especially the gender one and the sexuality one) to create further discussion.

Without elaborating on each of the below points, these are a few things that I was left thinking about after our session with Tess. I feel leaving them as points may encourage you to also ponder and complete further research;

- "The issue isn't porn. It's the complete lack in our society of an open, healthy, honest conversation about sex in the real world." (Cindy Gallop - Twitter here)

- Consent is a noun, not a verb

- Body autonomy can be taught at any age including kindy - Do you want a hug or a kiss?

- "Don't put the red dot on the traumatised kid's folder" (Tess). This was referring to removal of students from sexuality education - just because a student has experienced trauma, does not mean they don't deserve the education or want to be there. 

- "There is a very real difference between feeling uncomfortable and feeling unsafe" (Tess). 

- We are aiming to empower students. If they can own their own Medicare card at 15, can we empower them to feel comfortable to go and get an STI screening and/or contraceptives? 

- "The more positive you feel about your own sexuality, the more likely you are going to have positive sexual experiences with someone else" (Tess). 

- The impact of having teachers that aren't competent or confident teaching sexuality education can be significant. 

- "Pornography is the most prominent form of sexuality education for young people today unfortunately" (Interview with Maree Crabbe as embedded below).

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Where are you on the Spectrum of Teaching Styles?

I was excited to attend my first Australian Council for Health Physical Education and Recreation conference. I miss PENZ and my involvement in PENZ back home, so when I had the opportunity to attend an ACHPER PD I jumped at it! I was especially interested in this one, because it was based around Mosston's Spectrum of Teaching Styles, which is something I've always been interested in. His spectrum was referred to often during my degree and something I often think about when designing new units. The PD was about unpacking SueSeeHewitt and Pill's book The Spectrum of Teaching Styles in Physical Education, in which they've redesigned Mosston's initial spectrum.

Shane Pill is someone I have followed on Twitter for a while and am fascinated by his thoughts. I knew the day was going to be interesting when he was the opening speaker and one of his first sentences was "you need to use a variety of teaching styles, there is no one way of teaching". The redesign of the spectrum to be more like a flower, like a cluster, demonstrates that all styles are equal and we should in fact be moving in and out of them as opposed to linearly (as initially designed and can be seen below). Isn't it incredible how visual presentations of something can genuinely impact how you interpret them? Unfortunately I cannot find any pictures of their design, without buying the book (which I have requested school to do!), but it is kind of visible in my picture below).

The teaching styles can be divided into reproduction (A-E) and production (F-K). As it sounds, this relates to the role the students play within those teaching styles. Generally speaking, when in the reproduction styles students are mostly replicating something they have learnt and the lesson is more 'teacher driven'. Production is more-so related to the application or creation of something to demonstrate learning - more 'student driven'. The clear theme throughout this PD day is that there needs to be frequent movement between these different styles, as they are all valuable. If we blend styles together, they are called canopies.

In particular though, there was a large focus on the three discovery styles. Guided discovery is when there may be a series of activities or tasks for students to discover something throughout the process of completing these tasks. Convergent discovery is when there may be a problem and you are guiding them to discover there is only one answer. Divergent discovery is when there may be multiple answers to a problem/situation.  We referred to these often throughout the day and there were practicals to demonstrate the differences, especially between convergent and divergent. For instance, participants were set up in a piggy in the middle structure, and the aim was to pass the ball between the players without the defender in the middle getting the ball. Their convergent discovery question was "what pass is the most appropriate to receive the ball?" To encourage students to think, they were only able to use the width of an area. This increased the pressure so the students needed to use lob passes to try and get it over and away from the defenders. After, they changed the boundaries to be able to pass lengthways and the question changed to "how many different ways can you receive the ball" (clearly showing the 1 answer to multiple answers differentiation between the learning styles). To further probe the students to think critically to be able to be self regulated learners, the questions asked need to be open ended to encourage the students to think, discover and analyse information/ideas on their own.

Throughout uni and my initial teaching years, I was often discouraged to teach in command style. As the name suggests, the activity and instructions are all based around the teacher. The students must follow the teacher's commands. Although I agree this approach is not appropriate for many activities (as we want the students to be at the centre of the thinking and learning), I believe there is a time and place for command style. Sometimes we just need to get information across and command style is the most effective and efficient way to do so (such as information regarding safety on equipment). Hewitt noted that we need to consider whether command is the most appropriate for that particular lesson/learning objective and how long we are in that teaching style. He said his fear with command style teaching, especially when teaching the technique of a skill, is although the students may increase confidence with how to perform the skill itself (technical mastery), they may be strangers to the game. This is where game sense approach comes in.

Game sense approach is an umbrella term, with several areas coming underneath it. Essentially, GSA is a pedagogy that focuses on developing players that cognitively and critically think about the game they are immersed in. As outlined in Pill's chapter Game Sense Coaching: Developing Thinking Players, there is significant research to support that a traditional method of coaching or teaching limits players' ability to be able to make effective decisions within a game. This is often as a result of behaviours/techniques learnt in a non-contextualised environment. However, when immersed in a Game Sense Approach, a player "is trained to use a wide focus of attention and becomes adapted to placing attention more broadly than on a primary task" (Pill, 2018, p.46) because of activities that are more representative of the complexity of an actual game. Relating back to the teaching styles, although command style has a time and place, it's important command style does not lead to players being strangers of the game. GSA is a practice style pedagogy with discovery and command episodes. The teaching should be inquiry based, educating through the game but with a purpose. See more here - Pill's Play with Purpose blogpost.

There were a lot of other interesting topics of discussion, and some other things I was left thinking about were;

- "The game is not the teacher... The game can have an educative purpose, but in order for that purpose to be realised, the teacher comes in to get the educative purpose that is desired" (Pill).
- "All teaching is deliberate - even the choice of not planning is a deliberate teaching choice... but teaching can only be purposeful if the teaching has been planned" (Pill). 
- One of the teachers posed a question to us at the beginning of a practical session for us to think about throughout. The teacher referred to this question frequently and it then became a point of discussion at the end of the lesson. This actually made me think of the statement of inquiry and the overarching question of the unit being asked. 
- Depending on the learning style employed, depends if and when we tell the students the learning objectives of the lesson.

Overall, it was a very informative day, which made me think specifically about my questioning and the importance of mixing the teaching styles to suit the learning objectives, activities and students in front of me.