Following on from the article I read and blogged about last week, I (with the help of a colleague) put together a questionnaire to give to all the girl’s in the school during their PE lessons. The questionnaire was to gauge their interest in PE, if they like competition, their most and least favourite activities and to see their opinion on health. I also added questions I thought would be relevant to find out, such as rating their personal level of fitness and if they smoked.
As a department, we started rolling it out today with 3 ‘halves’ of the year in year 8, 9 and 10. Some of the responses have been really interesting and have really got me thinking about what goes through a child’s mind. Bare in mind these are early figures but of the 119 pupils asked 60% said they wanted to improve their health, of these 36% specified their fitness and 29% commented on either losing weight or toning up. This figure got higher with their year group which I found interesting. So as they go higher up the school the more they worry about their weight. Some of the comments were also pretty shocking. Many of the girls are unhappy with their weight and therefore don’t try as hard.
Not only this, 62% were more interested in how they looked after PE so they didn’t participate fully. Lots of them commented on ruining their hair or make up, and looking red or sweaty. I completely understand if they feel uncomfortable after exercising and emphasise with them but they do have access to a shower if they need it. Linking these answers together, I wonder how many girls want to improve their fitness yet don’t want to ‘ruin their hair or make up’. I think us as human beings care less about what we look like when we exercise as we get older, it’s natural and if we want to lead a healthy lifestyle then exercise is a necessity. I question what it is that is making girls think like this, media? Boys? Their role models? There is so much debate at the moment on the ‘obesity epidemic’, as a nation something needs to be done. One school survey isn’t going to make a difference, maybe all schools should do it to see how their children fair. It’s all good and well them saying they want to improve, but they need to get off their backsides and make an effort. Maybe as teachers we need to spend more time talking about individuality and developing a ‘thicker skin’. Or parents making more of an effort to help their child exercise. Even do it with them. Who knows!
It will be interesting to collate all the data and get an overall picture. The problem is, the government want to improve health and save money, yet education in schools is so progress and ofsted led that it’s sometimes too busy to focus on all of this. Surely a child improving their health is a child making progress. Not only in school but learning how to lead a healthy lifestyle when they leave school. I really want to give the pupils a positive experience in PE, to motivate them to exercise outside of school and think about the food they are putting into their bodies. To think about the bigger picture. The curriculum is changing soon, maybe we need more fitness and nutrition and less of the ‘traditional’ games or more on improving their confidence and having a better opinion of themselves. Perhaps this could help them lead a healthier lifestyle. It should’t just be down to us as teachers to help improve their fitness in only 2 PE lessons a week, it needs to start with the people who have the biggest influence on children.
Ok, so I am in my third year of teaching and until yesterday I hadn’t had any experience with ofsted. Everyone has their own opinions on why ofsted are there and what good it does etc. Everyone knows the teaching to a certain extent gets ‘dressed up’. However, I am a firm believer that when they come you should just be yourself….easier said than done! I haven’t been that stressed for this long ever, well not since my teaching practices! Mouths go dry, words get stuck and inspectors are sometimes intimidating. They send teachers loopy for no reason other than the added pressure to be your best, when in reality it is very difficult to get everything in you need to to please them in 20-25 minutes. Therefore, very difficult to get an ‘outstanding’.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get observed teaching PE (even though I had some very good lessons planned). I was disappointed not to be seen in my specialism, I guess I will have to wait until next time. There is so much focus on data and levels that sometimes I think it takes the focus away from the main concept of PE = physical education….actually exercising, not spending too much time talking about levels but actually doing some form of physical activity. Don’t get me wrong, I think pupil’s progressing is important, but at the same time pupils are becoming more and more unfit, struggling to even run 800m without stopping. I believe all of this is linked. When I was at school I was always outside, active, and I’m sure there weren’t this many kids leading a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. Hmm! Are we now too busy trying to tick boxes and to please the government to worry about tackling things like obesity. These are all just thoughts and my opinions, in my ideal world, kids would have PE every day. Would definitely save the government money in the long run and kids would be more active outside of school.
Teaching is not an easy job, but it’s very rewarding, even when we go loopy for a few days doing what we do best how we usually do it. The children are the best part, watching them progress and engage in lessons, doing things they didn’t think they could do. I can definately see myself teaching PE until I am 60 – still running and being active (if my body doesn’t give up on my by then). In that time, I intend to ensure I give pupils as much activity as I can in my lessons, to help them realise that PE isn’t just about what level they are at or how much progress they are showing, but in fact a mix of that and prolonging your life. Yes, Ofsted are essential to education, but there are times when I think they miss the bigger picture. Especially in PE.
So I am new to blogging but thought I would give it a go to share mine and other peoples view on PE, sport and nutrition. I am a PE teacher in a secondary school. I have been teaching for 3 years and love it. My personal mission is to improve the fitness of the children in our school and make them more aware of how nutrition can affect their lifestyle. The problem I face is the lack of motivation….especially with the girls.
I read an article last week that I saw on twitter (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/13/teenage-girls-dropout-rate-olympic-legacy). This really made me think about what we offer the girls in our school. As a result of reading this I have taken it upon myself to design and give a questionnaire out to the girls at our school. My hope is that we find out what they want to see more of in lessons and we avoid girls dropping out of PE or physical activity.
There have been many debates on where this issues come from, too much pressure, competition, laziness etc. However, I really feel we need to do something about it. My personal thoughts is that now with the extra 150million being put into primary PE in a few years we should see an increase in their motor skills such as balance, coordination and basic skills. This will help PE teachers in secondary schools deliver lessons to a higher level and potentially lower the drop out rate. If they are ‘better’ at PE then they may be more inclined to carry on exercising.
Who knows, I could talk for hours on this subject, everyone has differing opinions, there seems to be no right or wrong answer.