Personal and Intellectual Engagement in Your Program
The ultimate goal of any educator who cares deeply about what they do is to ensure that all of their students are authentically engaged in the learning process. These educators understand that learning will look very different within their classes and that no two students really learn alike.
As physical educators, we see a vast range of skills, abilities, mindsets, and levels of engagement on a daily basis in our gymnasiums. The design of the learning that takes place in our teaching space is entirely dependent upon our students themselves and needs to be engineered in a way that truly helps to sustain their levels of motivation and engagement over the long haul of the school year. At times I think that we have a tendency to jump too quickly into what we feel is important to teach without paying close enough attention to finer details related to creating a warm and nurturing environment that captures our students’ desire to learn. This blog post is a reminder to me just as much as it is for you to remember to never overlook the importance of the subtle details of our teaching and the impact that they can have on student learning.
Getting students emotionally involved in their learning plays a powerful role in helping them to become more personally and intellectually engaged. The science clearly shows that personal and intellectual engagement deepens learning and can lead to young people taking more initiative and action in their own lives when outside the walls of their schools.
If we are to increase levels of engagement in physical education and help students to embrace being physically active for life, we must work to create a teaching environment that gets them more emotionally connected to their learning. As the world continues to change at a blindingly quick pace, physical movement is essentially being engineered out of peoples’ lives. We need only look around us each day to see countless examples of decreased physical activity in young people.
It is essential to create and deliver learning experiences that lead to greater levels of personal and intellectual engagement in our programs. However, we can all be bogged down at times by the requirements of the curriculums in which we teach. It is understandable that there is specific content that must be taught within a certain timeframe in our programs. There can be a mountain of pressure placed upon teachers to show evidence of learning and growth and with this pressure comes a sense of urgency to get it all done, to blast content left and right at our students. This can be a disservice to our students, especially the ones who struggle with personal and intellectual engagement in physical education.
I’m wondering what types of strategies work best to engage students on a more personal and intellectual level in physical education. I’ve included 5 questions below for you to reflect on in regards to the way in which you deliver your program as it is essential to continually think about your own practice and ways to engage your students on a deeper level in PE.