To what level are students authentically taking action in your programs?
The ultimate aim of the Primary Years Program is for students to effectively take action with their own learning. 'Taking action' can define itself in many ways depending upon the student themselves, the community that they belong to, and the school in which they learn. The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program states that:
The actions that the students choose to take as a result of the learning may be considered the most significant summative assessment of the efficacy of the program.
The handbook also states that action begins at the most immediate and basic level and works outward from there (pg26 Making the PYP Happen). If we are to create meaningful learning experiences that are relevant to the the lives of our students both inside and outside of school, will this provide them with more opportunities and inspiration to take action?
As physical educators, we need to look at 'taking action' from a very different perspective, not necessarily just related to sport and being active. When we look at the social, emotional, and cognitive learning that takes place in physical education, we are providing our students with countless opportunities to work on developing essential life skills that can and should be applied far beyond the walls of our gymnasiums. Here are but a few of the life skills mentioned by the PYP. There are several more of course, but as starting point, let's thinking about how we teach these skills in particular in our programs.
As our students develop these skills, our hope is that they demonstrate them with consistency in their lives. As educators, there is no question that it can be very difficult to actually measure whether or not our students are genuinely putting into action these important life skills when outside of our spheres of influence. However, it is critically important that we set up our teaching environments to not only model these skills but to also provide continual opportunities for students to put these skills into practice in our programs.
Is it too idealistic to think that what we do with our students in physical education will only have a certain reach beyond our classrooms and gymnasiums? I certainly don't. I firmly believe that we have tremendous opportunities to massively impact the futures of the young people that we teach. I hope you do too!