What we can learn from these incredible Kenyan High Jumpers
If you have already seen the video below, I am sure that you were as amazed as I was at the incredible athleticism shown by the Kenyan high jumpers. Although their styles are very unorthodox in nature, watching the video sparked in me a need to reflect on the way that we teach specific techniques related to sport. Is there only the technically perfect way to teach a skill or do we allow for these overtly unorthodox styles from time to time?
At what point do we let go and allow our students the freedom to learn skills in a way that best suits them? Provided that they are safe and the techniques in which they use do not put themselves at risk or others around them in danger, is there any merit to letting them learn in ways that may be unorthodox in nature? If a student is able to fully participate in the activities that they do in PE and truly enjoy them, is there a need to step in and change up the style in which they execute certain skills, even if these skills are unorthodox in nature?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we should still strive to teach proper technique, but if the goal that we have for our students is to be able to participate in and enjoy sport for a lifetime, should the focus of our instruction shift to allow more flexibility in the way that our students learn technical skills related to sport? I believe it an absolute necessity to step in and correct glaringly obvious ineffective techniques in sport, but once again, when the student is able to participate in and find joy in the physical activities and games that we do in class, I think that this speaks volumes for the teaching and learning environment that we have set in our programs.
I am not implying that all physical educators are iron fisted in the way that they teach their classes, but at minimum I think that it is critical to reflect on how we teach skills and what is truly important for students to walk away from our programs with if they are to enjoy sport and fitness for a lifetime?