Product or Process: What defines your teaching more?
As 2014 comes to a close, I continue to reflect on whether or not we are closer to defining exactly what a quality physical education experience is all about for our students. When I look at my own program, I think it is safe to say that my heart is in the right place and I constantly endeavor to provide my students with the very best learning experiences possible. I can say this and believe it, but I know for a fact, that there are definite things that I can do that will make me a better educator.
At this point in my career, it’s not only about specifically defining why I do what I do, but more about providing sound pedagogical justification for the way I deliver my elementary PE program. This is only possible by aligning my vision, philosophy, and delivery with certain models of education that are rooted in sound research. I have no doubt tweaked and modified many things that I do in PE over the years, but in my endless pursuit of mastery in teaching, I find myself narrowing down on what is critically important in (physical) education.
The work of Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell and Simon Sinek has forever changed me as an educator and their main messages have nothing to do with the subject area that I have devoted my life to, yet has everything to do with me being the very best physical educator I can be. What I’m finding out more and more is that our society and education, in particular, is so obsessively fixated upon product that the beauty of the process and the journey is being forever overlooked and pushed aside. It takes a certain amount of courage to not allow ourselves to be defined solely by the final product, but more so for how we journeyed through each phase of our own learning. This holds true not only for educators but also students.
The common themes of what truly motivate us as humans are the same key fundamentals that shape us as learners. Makes no difference who we are or what we do. I choose to devote the rest of the 2014-2015 school year to focusing on what matters most; creating intrinsically motivated learners who understand the value and power of being physically active for life. I’m certainly not going to achieve this by dictating everything it is that students must know, learn, and do in physical education. Checking boxes and testing isn’t going to do it for me either. What will do it is to consistently provide my students with opportunities to address their own mindset and make important decisions about what it is they want to learn. Autonomy deepens engagement and purpose gives special meaning to their learning journeys. I look forward to seeing how my students progress the rest of the school year. Would love your thoughts. Thanks for reading.