For a few days now, I have been meaning to get more information out about the Physical Education Professional Learning Community (PEPLC), but with a bunch of end-of-year tasks springing up on a daily basis, my time has been limited. I am happy to have found some time today to write up a blog post in regards to the PEPLC vision and mission statement along with other important considerations as this project continues to move forward.
I would like to thank Kelly Ann Parry for the time and energy she has put into creating the vision and mission statement for PEPLC. As well, I would also like to thank Dr. Dean Dudley and Brendan Jones for helping to edit and refine the two statements. It is an absolute necessity to be sure that we have a solid infrastructure in place before PEPLC kicks off. Doing so will ensure greater long term success of this project. We believe that Google Hangout will best serve the needs of PEPLC and allow multiple teachers to join in on video meetings being held. I know that many of you have probably not used Google Hangout that much or at all, so Nathan Horne from iphys-ed.com has volunteered to put together an instructional video on how to set up your Google Hangout account and how to navigate through it as well. I should be posting that video over the next few days.
I would now like to introduce the official vision and mission statement of PEPLC. I truly believe that this is going to be a wonderful professional development opportunity for all those involved and thank you for your willingness to be a part of this project.
I have been getting quite a few emails asking about what time commitments are involved in this project. As I see it, each learning group itself will address this question by looking at their own time commitments and coming up with a schedule on their own. I think that groups should meet, at minimum, once a month. However, within each group there may be teachers who have break away sessions on their own aside from the bigger group. These break away sessions may be one-offs or consistent in nature. Again, this is up to each group and its members.
Critical Questions for Monthly Meetings
1. How have teachers improved learning (Cognitive, Psychomotor and affective) during physical education for their students as a result of their teaching and learning practices?
2. What evidence have they collected to substantiate these learning claims?
In order for professional learning networks (PLN) to be sustained and meaningful, the main focus should be on demonstrating improvements in students learning. This should be the focus of our monthly presentations.
Improving students learning
Demonstrate results in terms of improvements in students learning, this is key to endurance of change in instructional practice (Guskey, 2010). The goal should be to show how the professional development teachers are taking part in, whether it is assessment, instructional practices, leadership etc. can improve student learning.
How can improved outcomes be measured in cognitive, physical and affective domains?
Exams, assessments, performance, attendance, their involvement in class, behavior, motivation for learning, attitudes toward learning.
Reporting on non-successes
It is also important to inform on our non-successes too! Not everything we do is effective and works. It is critical that we document and share our failures. By doing so, we are being truly reflective about our practice and learning from our mistakes. Sharing these mistakes and failures is an extremely informative part of this process.
How are we going to use this PLN to support the teachers in improving students learning?
We need to establish an area of focus within our groups – what is it that we are going to work on in terms of improving learning? What do the teachers need to do to improve their practice? How can we help them develop quality teaching and learning experiences for their students?
Within the next 2 weeks, I am hoping to have guest lecturers (expert in nature) video themselves sharing their thoughts about each learning theme (Instructional models, leadership and mentoring, assessment, curriculum and programming, and innovation & technology). These videos are meant to get teachers thinking deeply about their own practice and the learning theme itself before PEPLC actually kicks off. This is the next step in the process. I would like to suggest that each teacher reading this who has signed up for PEPLC begin to reflect on their learning themes of choice and document their thoughts in a journal. What are your burning questions? What are your uncertainties? What do you feel you do well? Most importantly, what specifically do you want to know more about within each learning theme?
Talk to you all soon about further steps needed in moving PEPLC forward.