creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by kevin dooley: http://flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/1856663523
I was reflecting the other day on why I hadn’t written a post for so long. Partly, I realised, because I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and construct something. I also acknowledged something that had been a nagging thought in the back of my mind for some time about what I do on this site was and why I do it.
When I first started off, I was just sharing things I had tried in class. And that’s fine – I think that there has to be a space for practitioners to showcase their ideas, their success,their failures and the journeys they take. It was often based on a need to share the excitement of something that worked in my class, or to maybe share an idea that may give someone else a boost in their classroom. Or showing that something was possible and worth persevering with.
That sustained me up to my last post, but the nagging thought broke through recently when I was reflecting on my year. My work as a teacher and leader has evolved to beyond just the sphere of PE teaching – my job has many more facets to it now, and while I love my job as a PE teacher, I’m becoming more a thread woven through the whole school.
My thinking has change a lot. Seeing PEPRN and PEPLC has given me a much greater appreciation of the need for research to underpin my work – I’ve been guilty of sprouting platitudes that only carry aspirational weight, with little else to justify why they should be used than the “it works in my classroom” refrain. If I am to remain critical of others that do that, then I need to change my position to remain honourable to the partners I have in learning, and to myself.
To be honest, I don’t think I do anything in PE that’s cutting edge – I see myself as adapting and deriving the knowledge and ideas that are already out there to fit my particular locals needs. Many other people like Ash Casey, Andy Vasily and Jarrod Robinson (to name a few) are the real innovators in the PE world and I love to lurk and read their latest exploits with a sense of admiration and a tinge of envy.
I have to also admit that the world of #pegeeks has changed a lot since I first started and this worries me. I see the many genuine contributors to the community being leeched and drowned out by personal brand builders that dilute the richness of what used to be there and this has made me want to withdraw more and more from it. It seems it’s become a one dimensional parody of what it used to be. Maybe I’m getting old and cranky, maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I know that I’m feeling the urge to change and expand my horizons.
So I can feel an evolution coming on
I’ve change the tag line at the top of my blog page to better represent what I think and do now. PE, my first blog love, won’t be my sole focus now – the way we as educators and learners do our job has a definite impact on shaping tomorrow. This doesn’t just happen in my PE classes – it happens in many contexts that I have some influence over. So that’s where I’ll be.
6 thoughts on “Evolution”
Good afternoon! My name is Callie Barton and I am an elementary education student at the University of South Alabama. I am enrolled in a technology based course this semester and we were required to choose from a list of blogs to comment on. I chose your blog because I feel like every teacher should have this revelation. I hope that when I graduate and become a teacher that I keep this post in mind. I want to be an innovator and not just a teacher who “rides the coat tails” of the innovators. Evolving and adapting is key to being a successful educator. Good luck in your journey and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
Hi Callie, and thanks for your interest in my blog. Evolving as a teacher should be welcomed – learning doesn’t stop and the way you do things based on your learning means change is inevitable. Don’t be afraid of change – embrace it as an opportunity. Without change, there’d be no butterflies 🙂 Cheers – Jonesy
One of my aims is to try and communicate with my fellow bloggers and engage in a dialogue. It think we need to acknowledge that this is a community of bloggers who are enriched by the community and not just by the chance reflect. Self-reflection is great (I engage in it every day) but for real develop a I think we need the contribution of critical friends. I think, as Jonesy points out, that we need to acknowledge that we are woven through many different strands of our institutions than just our subject areas. Innovation is a great thing and sometimes being the bandwagon rather than following after it is great…but change is needed when things aren’t,t fit for practice. Sometimes what we actually need more is high quality and dedicated teachers. Teachers who are given the space to be child- centred and the space to put teaching first. To make that step is huge and it requires some innovation but it also requires people to make the change. Thinking them up is easy doing them, over a career, is the really artistry. Here’s to artist like you Brendan. Ash
Wow Ash, thanks for the rap from a bloke I respect as a valued critical friend! If anything, I hope the people that stumble across space go away wanting to try something new and sharing that ongoing journey with others. I’m also looking forward to seeing where your work goes next year and contributing to the conversation that spins off that too – Jonesy 🙂
Hey Brendan, a very honest and interesting post and I appreciate you sharing your sentiments. I have been pondering what to write to you all day – it has taken me a while to process my thoughts. They are a bit random still and I apologise for this in advance…
I have also questioned the use of #physed and #pegeeks recently as we see more people jump on in without possibly realising the impact that this hashtag has and to consider what is being posted before jumping up and posting. However, I do think that without practitioners like yourself, Ken Forde, Andy Vasily, Blake Kampen and others sharing the work that they are doing (I will add here that this is not always work that we are all pioneering or creating per se, but how we can these resources, research and ideas in PE) then we may not see the opportunities to grow and see change in our subject. I agree that we need pioneers, researchers and those who are prepared to see change (and have jobs that also allow the time to research, test and discover), like Ash Casey or Shane Pill, but I also know that we don’t all have that job. I believe that the job I have right now is to look for the most effective pedagogical approaches and look around for the most up-to-date methods and then make them work under all the frameworks of the school I teach at (assessment rubrics, timetable, space, equipment, resources, other staff etc…) I feel that if we can share our practice and explain how we got there, that this opens up pathways for others who are looking for examples of how things could be done in their departments too. I also know that you have students from University courses sharing in your expertise too – this is a great credit to the work that you do!
I am intrigued (to steal Ash’s phrase) to see where you are going – research or study or into a different type of PE job, but I would feel sad if you didn’t keep contributing to the amazing community (through twitter, blogging, PEPLC or other forums) so that we can continue to learn with you and from you and reflect on our own practice with you.
I also believe that as a PE teacher working overseas, the opportunity to share has been a big change for me in the last few years, and I appreciate that way that I can now work and relate to other PE teachers around the way and also contribute to some collective sharing (like PEPLC, ACHPER etc) which I would not have been able to do necessarily before meeting up with these people online.
I hope this makes sense. I also would be keen to find out which research you are looking into – PE based or general education or other as this is also something that interests me too.
Hi Mel. Great comment – I have a few PE plans for next year that I’ll definitely share here and in other online spaces, but as I mentioned I’m finding my thoughts now move to universal schemes that could work anywhere , not just PE. What I’ve found watching and working with all the PE people out there is that the amount of information generated can be immense and sometimes it’s impossible to truly comprehend what to do with it. One promise I’m making to myself is to reduce the scope of my thinking (initially) and drill down with an idea. So, fewer ideas, dealt with in more depth. That’s evolutionary for me 🙂