Friday, 20 September 2019

The Future of NCEA PE: How Does This Look?

NCEA was initially designed to be flexible, to allow for multiple methods of assessment, to capture student learning. However unfortunately many of us now have the assessment at the forefront of our minds, some even say it is what they are 'teaching'. The reality is, kids are credit counting and it's sad to admit many are most actively involved when they know the task is being assessed. One of the hopes of the upcoming NCEA Review is that these sad realities can change.

Today I was lucky to attend a thought provoking 'Big Ideas' day at Hobsonville Secondary School faciliated by Sally, Adam, Anne, Margot and Michelle about this review, and how we might be able to reshape the future of PE assessments. The overarching focus of the day was for us to consider the qualities, skills and knowledge we want our students to leave our classrooms with - what actually makes a Phys Edder?

One of the first activities we completed, was to list all the key knowledge we want our students to leave school with, by the end of Year 13. My group found this a little difficult because the list is so huge! The first picture below (SOLO hexagons) shows these initial ideas and the groupings we made from these ideas (also very challenging as some things fit into many boxes!).

The next step was to list all the subject specific skills, and generic skills we would like students to develop during our courses (post-it notes). We then needed to create one possible unit that encompasses some of these skills and some of the knowledge. From start to finish this whole brainstorm was about 45 minutes and really highlighted how much we do teach both explicitly and implicitly. This was a really great reminder of how rich our subject is - and we had not considered assessments at all!

The last activity of the day, as below, was to envisage our dream Year 11 PE class. What would the students be doing? How would they be interacting with each other? Where will their learning be heading next? Naturally, we all had a similar vision: actively involved students who are self managed and can explain what their learning/purpose is in PE. The discussion then became, how do we get there and what recommendations can we make in this review to get there? Although, obviously, we did not create a life changing programme to change the world of NCEA PE, these discussions were insightful and incredibly exciting!

Adam frequently expresses we are only a product of our environment, and so are the kids. We need to be comfortable in the uncomfortable, so they are too. We need to challenge and change the sad realities for the future of PE, and the quality of Phys Edders we create! I look forward to seeing how this review shapes our curriculum.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Whānau Pride - A Student Motivator

Throughout the year I have been sending home 2 Miss D is proud certificates per week, as previously blogged about hereTo check in how they've gone so far, I decided to ask 8 students the below key questions about the certificates, to use their feedback to reflect;
How did you feel when you received the certificate?
- How did your caregivers respond?
- Have you had any positive things sent home like this before?
- Do you think receiving the certificate affected how you were in Health/PE afterward?
- Would you suggest I continue to send these? Why/Why not?

Although I have 5 major classes, I have only sent one certificate to one Year 13 so far, so decided to focus on my Years 9-12 for feedback. Alongside are some of the key comments the students made, which left me thinking further (and feeling warm fuzzies!).

When I went through the students' responses to the above questions, the common words which appeared were good (8/8), proud (5/8), happy (4) and recognised (4). The overall consensus was that students felt good or happy they had been recognised for working hard in Health and/or PE, and their caregivers were proud of them. This is great news, because this was the intent of the certificates - to increase positive messages and connections with whānau and to spend some of my time acknowledging the incredible things the kids are doing (as opposed to the time needed to spend chasing up students who have been off-task or not self managed for example). Many of the students also spoke about how the certificate started positive conversations with their caregivers about their school successes!

Between this feedback and my own observations, I have noticed how I have begun to look forward to Friday morning when I sent home the certificates. Although some times I struggle to narrow them down to only 2, and other times struggle to think of 2 people who have gone above and beyond, it is a great feeling spreading positivity home to the students and their whānau, making me more excited and passionate about my teaching in hope to send more home!

Another interesting statistic and observation, was the difference in student responses within my class, after the students had received the certificate. 4/8 students explained  that receiving a certificate did positively affect how they were in my class after, 3 Juniors and 1 Senior. Some commented it motivated them to continue to succeed, and others said it made them feel special I had recognised them, so they wanted to give their best to continue to be recognised. The 4/8 students who said the certificate did not affect how they were in my class afterward were interestingly all high academic students, who already want to be successful and I don't think the certificates made a direct difference to their engagement or work ethic for example (as identified by the other 4). Though, the certificates possibly strengthened my relationships with these students. In conjunction with these stats, I have observed the students who are in Years 9&10 are generally more positively receptive to the idea than the Years 11&12. Possibly the Seniors feel the certificate is childish, so I may need to reconsider what to do next year for my Seniors. But I will definitely be keeping the certificates going - particularly as my Year 11s have now started calling it a club that only some people are part of!

A couple of further comments/suggestions from the students I will consider further;
- Tell my classes at the beginning of the year, so the students know they may receive one if they go above and beyond. (This year I've kept it on the complete down-low, and sent the certificates directly home, without discussing them or who received them with my classes). BUT students may feel disheartened if they know about it, but don't receive one.
- Have a board of all of the 'members' and/or the 'ex-members' of the 'club', so we could strive to get onto the board.