Are you opening the door of the kingdom to your students?
I want to share some very special words from the podcast with Scott that sums up the firm belief he holds in regards to how important it is to create relevant and meaningful experiences for our students in physical education that inspire them to take action on being physically active outside the walls of our schools. Scott holds a stance that although ‘fun’ is important in PE, joy and delight are much more personal. In the podcast, he uses the metaphor that finding joy and delight in PE is all about opening the doors to the kingdom. All that we can do as physical educators is to take our students by the hand and lead them there.
‘Fun’ to me is more of a shallow distraction…..I think that much of what has been done in physical education is oriented too close too the shallow end of things. Any physical educator can produce fun, you can distract kids and throw a ball out to invent a game and for 20-30 minutes the kids can have fun. What is really hard for physical educators is to get to those higher levels of subjective experience which are called ‘joy’ and ‘delight’. Joy and delight are personal in ways that fun is not personal.
It takes a very skillful physical educator to lead students to the kingdom doors. They don’t know what’s inside the kingdom doors, but you are promising them that there is some really special stuff there and you take them by the hand and lead them there. It takes time to lead them to the kingdom, but with persistence and skillful teaching, we can start to open the doors to the kingdom and lead them into the foyer. Even after the kids leave us, once they’ve been inside the building and they get a glimpse at what’s in there, they will keep going even without us and that’s my big hope.
Physical Education at The KAUST School in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
Their work is all about providing every opportunity possible for students to take action on being physically active when not in PE.
A great example of this is a skateboarding unit that they taught earlier in the school year. It was amazing to see so many students, who had never skateboarded before, so captivated by the experience. Once the skateboarding unit concluded, a number of students started coming to school every morning and returning home by skateboard. How great is that???!!
As I was walking down to the PE office today, I saw a group of grade 2 girls returning their skateboards, so started chatting with them. They were so proud to share how they had gone to the skate park this past weekend to practice their skills. One girl said that she fell and hurt her knee a bit, but knew that that was the risk involved in skateboarding, so was OK with it. They all talked about how they had to overcome their initial fear of falling and getting hurt, but have made a lot of progress in this area. They also talked about the specific types of things that they were working on at the skate park in order to get better.
After all, this is what quality physical education is all about according to Scott . In opening the doors of the kingdom to students, we create the conditions for them to thrive and to find intrinsic value and motivation in being physically active for life.
So, to begin this week, I'd like to ask you to reflect on how you are opening the doors of the kingdom for your students? How are you leading them there? How are you structuring your lessons and units to ensure that you are providing relevant and meaningful experiences in PE that allow your students to fall in love with movement? Let me know your thoughts. Have a great week of teaching folks.