Making Every Moment Count
I am a big fan of Ashley Casey and the work that he does in the physed community on Twitter and on his blog. Ashley's website PEPRN, is an excellent resource for PE teachers and each week he summarizes a major research paper that has been done in the area of physical education. These weekly summaries provoke a deep reflection on my own practice and provide me with data driven insight into what has been happening in the field of physical education over the past couple of decades.
Although all of Ashley's blogs get me thinking and make me a better teacher, a recent one has really struck a chord with me and has been on my mind quite a bit over the past week. Ashley summarized a research paper written by Oliver and Lalik and the main message from this paper was 'How well do we really know our students?'. The summary puts into perspective the actual contact time that we have with each student over the year(s) that we teach them. At first when I was reading the blog, I thought to myself, 'no way, we can't actually have that little time with them', but when we really look at the numbers, the reality is that the average time that we can spend with each student is but a fraction of their existence when compared to their overall educational experience in school.
After reading the blog post, I began to truly think about this and found it a bit disturbing. I must admit that it didn't sit that well with me at first. I suddenly felt that there was no possible way that I could give them what they needed in terms of developing their physical literacy, confidence, and well-being, especially considering that I have so many students during an average week. I know that I am a good teacher and that I am always looking for ways to enhance the overall quality of instruction I offer my students. I know that I do have a positive impact on them, but I still couldn't help but think about whether or not I was taking every moment possible to connect with them, really listening to them and exploring the perceptions that they have of themselves.
After all, the perceptions that our students have of themselves greatly impact their learning. As Ken Robinson says,
The disengagement of students is rooted in their biographies........The system has to engage them, their curiosity, their individuality, and their creativity.
Engaging students and tapping into their curiosity, their individuality, and their creativity requires us, as educators, to better understand their biographies and the perceptions that they have of themselves. However, this must be built up over time as it cannot happen all at once. Provided we are striving to do the above, we are moving and pushing them in the right direction.
There are so many golden teaching moments that are present to us on a daily basis when our eyes remain open to them. Despite the fact that we get very little time with each student to make a difference, grasping on to these golden moments whenever possible makes every second count. Yes there will be times that cheerleading is necessary in PE in order to get our students going, to get them motivated to learn and improve upon their performance. However, there is a big difference between cheerleading and taking a few seconds, maybe a minute of their time to let them know that we are proud of them, especially when taking risks might not be so easy for them. Letting them know that they genuinely matter and recognizing their achievements has the potential to make a lasting impact in their lives. We may never be able to measure this impact, but at least we know that we have attempted to make every moment count.
Make Every Moment Count image above can be found at http://www.favecraftsblog.com/the-big-apple-michaels-scrapbook-blogger-challenge/