Squirrels and the need to know – Greg Dryer

Greg Dryer is the Co-founder of miMove app. He’s based in London, UK but the app is being used in over 200 schools around the world.

Squirrels.

In the literature about meaning-making, squirrels do not feature particularly prominently.  However, for one 11-year-old student in Washington DC, squirrels are clearly central to his engagement with physical activity (PA). This young man, let’s call him Sam, attends a school that is one of over 200 schools using miMove.

miMove is a digital tool designed to ‘close the loop’ – for decades, everyone in physical education has acknowledged that the mission is to help every young person (YP) find a place for physical activity (PA) in their lives. However, until now, we have never had the capacity to easily access information that indicates if and how students are engaging in physical activity both inside and outside of the school.  

It is built on the premise that it is no longer good enough for us, as a field and a society, to be ignorant of activity/inactivity amongst YP. Being ignorant makes it easy to turn a blind eye and/or apportion blame. Ignorance indicates that we do not care enough. When we value something, we know about it, we measure and track it, and miMove allows us to do just that.

It’s really straight forward – students record all the PA they take part in and teachers can access this data via the webapp. By so doing miMove creates a supportive, digital ecosystem around every student and it provides unprecedented, real time insight data about how young people are seeking and finding meaning in their PA.

Each miMove user logs the type of activity completed, the duration and the setting (in or out of school). However, the real magic lies not in this quantitative data but the qualitative, affective data that the app captures. Students have to record how each activity session made them feel and they then have the option to free write and/or upload a photo. In the hands of skilled practitioners who are working towards creating more meaningful experiences, this is proving invaluable. Some are beginning to go further and are using the app to help students to develop deeper reflective practices. Via words and/or photos students are encouraged to explore their movement preferences.

This brings us back to Sam. Here are a few of his posts:

  • Playing ball in the garden and a squirrel almost stole it!
  • Cycling – I saw an albino squirrel.
  • Walking – I saw a lot of squirrels.
  • Walking – I saw baby squirrels. I’m so happy!

As physical educators, how would we make sense of this and how would it help us work with Sam? Using the MPE features, Sam is clearly finding some personal relevance and delight in nature. How would you capture this in conversations in order to better connect with Sam?

miMove makes it easier than ever before to consistently capture student voice and feedback. It is also being used to develop students’ ability to reflect as they think more deeply about their activity experiences. Many students have reported that the mere act of journaling is itself validating and the upload photo feature can serve as photo album that triggers memories, feelings, and other sensory associations.

We are learning so much about young people’s experiences via the app. Apart from squirrels the most commonly referred to feature is social interactions. The social domain really matters as can be seen from these comments from other students in Sam’s school:

  • I got to talk to my sister whilst doing this!
  • I went running with my mum and she made it so much better. She really motivated and energised me.
  • I’ve started playing squash with my dad. I think it’s a really fun sport where you don’t only have to be athletic, you also have to be smart. I also get to spend more time with my dad which is super fun.

If you would like to be part of the journey, come onboard. After all, it all starts with knowing.

Greg can be contacted at greg@mimoveapp.com or @greg_dryer / @mimoveapp

The why, what, and how of Meaningful Physical Education: PART 3

How do I teach using Meaningful PE?

In our early experimentation with Meaningful PE, we and others relied largely on using the features of meaningful physical education (both those described above and those identified by students independently) to facilitate a shared language with students. Alongside these features, the retrospective and personal characteristics of meaningfulness and our view of the purpose of physical education as residing in its transformative potential point to the value of reflective and democratic pedagogies as being central to Meaningful PE.

Meaningful PE is offered as a flexible set of ideas that can help teachers and students make decisions about how to facilitate meaningful experiences in physical education. Meaningful PE can be applied across all physical education content and linked to the outcomes and expectations of official curriculum and policy documents across various contexts. While we see Meaningful PE as having characteristics that make it distinct from other approaches (i.e., prioritizing meaningful experiences), we also position it in such a way that it may bring together other ideas and models in physical education, thus reducing fragmentation and improving coherence in the field (O’Connor & Jess, 2020). Therefore, we see Meaningful PE as an overarching framework, informing how models and approaches are selected and implemented.

Meaningful PE is democratic

Meaningful experiences require personal investment, ownership of learning, and personal relevance in ways that demand a democratic approach. Meaningful PE is, at its core, inclusive and supports a variety of learning needs and interests. Teachers and students work together as learning collaborators to set goals and agree on activities within a flexible curriculum.

Teachers should aim to be student-centred in much of their decision-making, providing students with more autonomy and control of their experience to engage with tasks that have personal relevance and carry out activities they find meaningful in their own right. This requires the teacher to be intentional about how they promote both student-student and student-teacher relationships. In addition to offering opportunities to make choices and be involved in decision-making, other characteristics of autonomy-supportive classrooms include listening to children and providing time for independent work, acknowledging others’ perspectives and feelings, and praising improvement and effort (Mandigo & Holt, 2006). Strategies that support students in making autonomous decisions about their engagement include: selecting specific tasks based on personal level of interest or challenge; contributing to group composition decisions (Koekoek & Knoppers, 2015); modifying tasks to tailor the level of challenge to individual skill levels; and identifying tasks to be assessed in culminating activities (Beni et al., 2019).

Meaningful PE is reflective

Opportunities to set goals, and to reflect on their achievement is central to identification of experiences as meaningful. Of course, it is possible to have meaningful experiences without a formal scaffolded period of reflection. I am sure you can all think of examples, but maybe we were lucky to identify the meaningfulness of these experiences in our movement journeys. Planned, structured reflection time can ensure that children get opportunities to identify the value of their experiences and that it is not left to chance. Reflection in and on experience is therefore crucial in order for both teachers and students to identify and become aware of the meaningfulness of certain situations (Dewey, 1916). Reflective processes are important for students to engage in so they may become aware of the ways they experience meaningfulness in physical education. Beyond their personal experience in a task or activity, attention can also be drawn to discussions about physical activity participation in the wider community, through asking: Who has access? Who benefits? and Who is disadvantaged? These discussions can help individuals make sense of their own experiences as well as promote actions towards a more socially just world.

In order to engage students in reflective processes, a teacher might use goal-setting, introduce a PE Diary, or use paired, small and large group discussions during and after participation. Goal-setting can also facilitate personally relevant learning for students where opportunities to transfer learning to their lives outside of school can be identified.

The why, what, and how of Meaningful Physical Education: PART 2

In this post we turn our attention to the ‘what’ of Meaningful PE: what is it about and what does a meaningful experience tend to consist of? As we mentioned in the previous post, in finding an experience meaningful, attention is drawn to its quality, which influences the likelihood of individuals seeking the experience again or avoiding it. Although meaningfulness is highly subjective (that is, what an individual finds meaningful will be different to others), it involves a complex mix of individual cognitive and affective elements as well as relational, social, and cultural dimensions.

Conceptually, the personal and retrospective nature of identifying experiences as meaningful suggests that democratic and reflective approaches have the potential to form the foundation for a coherent set of pedagogical principles to help teachers intentionally and consistently prioritise meaningful experiences for pupils. From a pedagogical perspective, our approach is built upon a major review of literature we conducted on studies focused on meaningful experiences in physical education and youth sport since 1987. We drew from Kretchmar’s (2006) assertion that meaningful experiences in physical education tend to consist of several features: social interaction, challenge, fun, motor competence, and delight. We have written several blog posts about these features, which can be found here, here, here, here, and here!

While children often refer to one or more of these features as major contributors to how they experienced meaningful experiences in physical education (e.g., ‘I found it meaningful because I was challenged), the features typically work together and should therefore be thought of as integrated than isolated (e.g., ‘Today was fun because I got to be in a group with my friends and we spoke about playing the same game at the park this weekend’). Modifications to a task based on one of the features can therefore have an impact on the others (e.g., adjusting the level of challenge can have effects on fun and students’ engagement with motor competence). We are also very mindful that these features likely do not paint a complete picture of what might contribute to learners finding a physical education experience meaningful. For instance, we think that creativity and self-expression are but some of the other things that could contribute to how some students experience meaningfulness, and suggest to teachers that the features identified by Beni et al. (2017) are not used in a reductive sense but as a useful basis upon which to begin conversing with students about what they find meaningful in physical education.

We discuss more about the ‘what’ of Meaningful PE in our recent article in PESP, giving attention to its conceptual and practical basis. For those who are interested you can find a link to the article here.

The why, what, and how of Meaningful Physical Education: PART 1

Following the recent publication of our book Meaningful Physical Education: An Approach for Teaching and Learning  as part of the Routledge Focus on Sport Pedagogy series, we wanted to share a few posts from some of the contributors to the book. The posts over the coming weeks will give readers an overview of what might be found in the chapters. They will not necessarily be presented in the order they appear in the book and may feature some commentaries on chapters provided by readers rather than the authors themselves (much like a book review). In the next few posts, we provide a brief summary of the first chapter, ‘The why, what, and how of Meaningful Physical Education’.

In the first chapter of the book, we outline the main theoretical and pedagogical foundations of the Meaningful PE approach and points for clarification. We provide distinct characteristics of Meaningful PE and share appropriate teaching and learning principles and strategies, and the decision-making processes teachers might undertake. Since writing the chapter we have added some other thoughts about this in a recent open access publication in PESP: Pedagogical principles for prioritizing meaningful physical education: Conceptual and practical considerations; interested readers can find more detail about the approach in that article.  In this blog post we focus on the why of Meaningful PE, which will be followed by two more posts that address the what and the how, respectively.

Following an invitation to share some of these ideas with the Ontario Association for the Support of Physical and Health Educators (OASPHE) we are cross-posting this on their blog. Check it out if you have not yet done so!

Why Meaningful PE?

We agree with Kretchmar (2008) who suggests that when meaningfulness is prioritized, students’ experiences in physical education have the potential to enrich the quality of their lives. In this way, meaningful physical education places the quality and personal significance of students’ experiences at the forefront of a teacher’s pedagogical decision-making. A consideration of why to use Meaningful PE begins with questioning one’s overarching vision or philosophy for teaching. For us, prioritizing meaningful experiences is crucial if we want children to experience some of the things in and about movement culture that have been and are so central to the quality of our own lives. We want children to walk through the doors of a gym or dance studio or enter onto a field, hiking trail, bike path or body of water and be filled with a sense of excitement, joy, and adventure rather than dread, boredom, or fear. Beyond our personal beliefs and perspectives, however, there are some other broader reasons that support our position.

Prioritizing meaningful experiences also links to some of the major purposes of physical education, represented in policy documents and also in the beliefs and values of key stakeholders (such as teachers, students, parents, and administrators). Amongst a wide range of identified purposes of physical education, we align ourselves with the purpose of democratic transformation (Ennis, 2017), where ‘different ways of being in the world as somebody are both possible and encouraged’ (Quennerstedt, 2019, p. 611). In this way, education is viewed as a continual transforming of experience, with an aim of cultivating educative experiences that lead to the growth of further experience (Dewey, 1938). From this perspective, having learners seek and become aware of the personal meaning of movement through reflection becomes part of the core purpose of physical education, where it is understood as a ‘suitable learning context for initiation into a range of worthwhile social and cultural practices’ (Thorburn, 2018, p. 26).

Craftsmanship and Meaningful PE – Noora Ronkainen

Dr. Noora Ronkainen is a senior researcher at the University of Jyväskylä. In the following post, she explores craftsmanship and its relevance for understanding meaningfulness of sport and physical education. Noora hosts the Meaningful Sport podcast, writes a blog on meaningful sport, and tweets from @MeaningfulSport

We might easily think that craftsmanship represents a way of life that is no longer relevant for most modern people. Therefore, it might be surprising that some sport and youth culture researchers have suggested that it can be a key factor in understanding meaningful engagement in sport and physical cultures (Højbjerre Larsen, 2016Thorlindsson et al., 2018, Ronkainen et al., 2020). 

But what is craftsmanship and what do we know about its relationship with meaningful experiences?

American sociologist Richard Sennett’s book The Craftsman (2008) has been a central inspiration for researchers of craftsmanship. For Sennett, craftsmanship is “an enduring, basic impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake”. We can use the craftsmanship approach in any activity, in work, school, gardening, cooking… and sport and exercise. It is a mode of engagement where we are totally immersed in our chosen activity, trying to understand how we can do it better, and developing our skill through dedicated practising. 

Craftsmanship overlaps with notions of flow, task orientation, intrinsic motivation and play that are already familiar to physical educators. But it is also something more. Craftsmanship is also about a holistic understanding of your task at hand and tacit knowledge. It is nurtured in communities of practice or “workshops”. 

If you think of how a novice martial artist learns the skills, the ethic of the art and becomes a martial artist, you realise that most of it does not happen through verbal instruction. Instead, learning happens through being a part of the community of practice, observing and imitating the coach or other practitioners, and through trial and error. 

Craftsmanship theories have emerged as a critical response to the bureaucratic organisation of schoolwork. Standardised learning outcomes, assessments, and hierarchical authority can stifle spontaneous learning in children, and they lose ownership over the content of learning. In craftsmanship, the learners produce their learning through cycles of problem-setting and problem-solving. 

Our new research has shown that craftsmanship can be an important element in understanding meaningful engagement in sport. Adult athletes in the UK, participating in 54 different sports, filled out our survey. The results indicated that craftsmanship was a predictor of higher levels of meaning in sport. 

In our study, individual sport athletes had higher levels of craftsmanship than team sport athletes. It can be speculated that individual sport athletes have more time to reflect on their learning and decide on how they engage in their own learning and development. Furthermore, older athletes also had higher levels of craftsmanship. You do not become a craftsman or craftswoman overnight. It takes time. 

The study of craftsmanship in sport and physical education context is at nascent stages. However, given the promising initial findings on the potential role of craftsmanship in fostering meaningful engagement in movement culture activities, it provides an exciting avenue for future research and practice.    

Literature:

Højbjerre Larsen, S. (2016). What can the parkour craftsmen tell us about bodily expertise and skilled movement?. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy10(3), 295-309.

Ronkainen, N. J., McDougall, M., Tikkanen, O., Feddersen, N., & Tahtinen, R. (2020). Beyond health and Happiness: An exploratory study into the relationship between craftsmanship and meaningfulness of sport. Sociology of Sport Journal. Online ahead of print. bit.ly/31eKxTG

Thorlindsson, T., Halldorsson, V., & Sigfusdottir, I. D. (2018). The sociological theory of craftsmanship: An empirical test in sport and education. Sociological Research Online23(1), 114-135.

Teaching Using Ideas from Meaningful PE – Jo Bailey

Jo Bailey is a secondary physical education teacher in Weston, Wisconsin (US). In the following post she briefly reflects on both her own and her students’ experiences participating in a badminton unit where she used ideas from Meaningful PE. Jo tweets from @LovePhyEd.

As a high school physical education teacher, I am always cognizant of the responsibility I have in doing everything I can to equip young adults with the knowledge, skills, and desire to be active for life. My professional practice goal for the 2019-20 school year was to assess the extent to which I was providing a meaningful physical education experience for my students: Was I delivering content that was personally relevant, challenging, fun, that involved social interaction and delight, and improved motor competence? More importantly, how would I go about assessing how meaningful a unit or experience had been?

I chose a badminton unit to begin the process. At my school we spiral concepts through a variety of activities, meaning that while one focus might be to improve motor competence, specifically in badminton, we were also applying goal setting and stages of learning knowledge to badminton. We were also exploring how each individual could demonstrate and build on teamwork, respect, cooperation while experiencing a variety of challenges. I nearly always teach a specific activity unit on a spectrum that is from a standardized, rule-oriented approach (e.g. formal singles and doubles) to an exploratory approach where students are the directors of the learning experience or activity (e.g. street badminton – students create and play to their own agreed set of rules).

At the end of the badminton unit, I asked all of my students to provide me with feedback, explaining the why and how behind the meaningful physical education framework. My aim was to create statements that encompassed each element of the meaningful physical education framework and to have students respond to what degree they agreed or disagreed with the statements. The statements were:

Jo Bailey Image

I took time to preface this reflection with the students by verbally reviewing the different experiences they had had during the unit. Statement 1 referenced improved motor competence. Statement 2 referenced personally relevant learning. Statement 3 clearly refers to fun. Statement 4 and 5 refer to challenge. With statement 6, I was attempting to encapsulate what delight might look like – I found this element difficult to create a worthy statement for because delight is so different for everybody. I am not sure if I succeeded.  Statements 7 and 8 both refer to social interaction. I was particularly interested in the results of Statement 8, because creating and promoting an environment that models and recognizes positive social interactions is always a work in progress, yet critical to a positive experience in physical education.

The feedback was positive: 74% of students felt their skills improved (scored the statement as a 4 or 5 for the purpose of these results), 60% found the content personally relevant, 82% of students had fun, 67% experienced different levels of challenge while 65% of students reported the challenge level being “just right”. 70% of students reported that they experienced delight (as I had tried to define it), 77% indicated they had the opportunity to socially interact with their classmates and 81% stated that their social interactions were positive. On the last statement, no students rated their social interactions as less than a 3.

Additionally, I asked for feedback on anything the students had especially enjoyed or if they had any recommendations for improvements. Street Badminton proved to be very popular and many students also mentioned the social interaction they experienced. It is worth noting that I grouped students in each class rather than allow students to pick groups, with the exception of street badminton.
My take on the results: I feel like I am on the right track. Taking a few minutes to gather this data from my students was immensely valuable and the individual conversations I had with students in gathering their opinions were also very valuable. I had planned to repeat the process during the semester but unfortunately, COVID-19 hit and we were thrown into an at-home learning situation. However, my goal for at-home learning has been to make it as meaningful as possible for my students and I will be gathering feedback from them at the end of the semester. I plan to continue with this process next year.

To see Jo’s #PhysedSummit webinar about her journey towards meaningful physical education click here.

A Primary Classroom Teacher’s Perspective on Implementing Meaningful PE

Lauren is a generalist, primary classroom teacher. In the following post, she briefly describes her experience implementing Meaningful PE into her physical education classes. 

I believe that students succeed when they feel a strong sense of community. This approach allowed me to carry the sense of community and rapport I had built with my students in the classroom down to the gym. Here are 3 reasons why I feel I had a positive experience implementing the approach with my students:

Reason 1

I do frequent wellness check-ins and check-ins for understanding with my class during subjects like math, language science, etc. but I had never incorporated those check-ins into physical education. Meaningful PE allowed me to narrow in on a specific feature and check-in with my students around it (e.g., social interaction). I think it helped our phys ed classes because it made time for discussions which allowed students’ voices to steer our future classes. The students often had many suggestions on how to make activities more inclusive, more engaging, more fair, more fun, etc. and I allowed them to make these changes and try their suggestions to see if they really did make the activities better.

Reason 2  

I think it is extremely important for students to learn about the world in which they live, so the feature of personally relevant learning in Meaningful PE was huge for my class. Linking experiences in the gym to everyday life was a part of this approach that my students really enjoyed. Even during activities where I struggled to come up with a connection, my students shocked me by coming up with so many! I think they really enjoyed the reflection time and being able to share how what we were doing in the gym related to their life outside of school and how it related to things they wanted to do/be in their future.

Reason 3

This approach allowed our class to come together, which isn’t always easy to do in a primary physical education class. I really felt the students enjoyed talking about their phys ed class and benefited from it. If we were talking about the feature of social interaction one day, for example, and a student brought up why they might not have been happy with the activity we were doing (e.g., maybe they felt left out), I saw students consciously trying to not let that happen the next time we did the same activity. I think no matter how small a timeframe you have, students just want to be heard and have their thoughts validated; this approach helped me do that in our physical education classes.

I am definitely not an expert yet and feel it will take a lot more time to get anywhere close. As a teacher, it is so hard to make time for everything in a school day. My goal for next year is to be conscious of time during phys ed classes so I can allow for these small, but important, conversations to take place.

Expanding on delight – Mel Hamada

Mel Hamada is a physical educator currently working in China at the International School of Beijing. She also runs her own website and blog, which can be found at www.melhamada.comIn the following post, Mel outlines how she has come to appreciate the journey of trying to guide her students toward the experience of delight.

One of the big conversations I have enjoyed as I have unpacked LAMPE‘s Meaningful PE and the features they have shared is to try and explain what is meant by Delight. Delight is not the same as joy or fun and it is important to try and distinguish between the differences as we create experiences in our classrooms.

Scott Kretchmar’s writings mention fun regularly. This is how he has explained fun:

“Things that are fun are often temporary, and they are usually not meaningful. Fun can be used like a band-aid, something that covers over a sore but doesn’t affect a lasting cure. Fun is used by physical educators to mask what could be a distasteful experience. One involving effort, sore muscles, exercise, and sweating.” Dr. Scott Kretchmar – Why Useless Play is so Useful in Educational Settings.

What we see a lot of is busy, happy students who must be having fun – and they may well be. Polling of our MS students often leads them to tell us that the activity or class was fun, but what I want to find out is how we can grow that ‘fun’ into ‘delight’. Kretchmar suggests that “growing movement playgrounds requires different approaches than providing exercise that is fun.” He suggests that to build meaningful relationships with movement we must establish opportunities for people to engage with movement over long periods of time so that the movement becomes part of our being and selves.

PE Teachers have usually tasted and experienced the depths of delight through movement. They know what it feels like, that time can disappear, that we are physically and mentally challenged and won’t always succeed or feel that it is ‘fun’ but that we always come back for more. Movement is part of our lives and souls and the collective experiences run deep. PE Teacher staff rooms can be full of sports results, training gear or workout plans, reflections of failed adventures or wish-list activities as we share experiences and results – almost in another language to students who pop in to say hello. Kretchmar often refers to this depth as the movement subculture, the place where others will wonder what you are talking about and not have the experience, language or ability to join in.

How do we guide our young apprentices (students) into this depth of movement and cultural understanding when they haven’t ever experienced it before? It is not feasible to plan a lesson around Delight; that is the Fun talking.  Delight is a project that will take time. Just like eating a new vegetable for the first time, you may not like it but with more time and attention to the way it is cooked and served, you may well grow to love it. This may take a week, or a month or even longer depending on how often you eat it, who is cooking it, how adventurous you are and the engagement you have with knowledge and experience of cooking. But we don’t choose to refuse eating vegetables because of that initial encounter.

PE teachers need to plan and create long term partnerships with students to build learning experiences, by having them follow ideas and listen to conversations, we need to engage them by fully immersing them into the experiences of Movement and work hard to make whatever brings them delight a part of their life fabric.

I didn’t fall in love with Running on Day 1. I would say I didn’t really love it until I had done a full season with the MS team I trained with. The daily training, the camaraderie, the challenge of interval training and racing, the hardship of injury and learning how to look after my body and the support of my coach and teammates, helped me to see myself as a runner and through that newfound identity, I was hooked and have spent a whole life in the language of running. In the song ‘Shallow’ – there is a moment, where Lady’ Gaga’s character takes a deep breath and walks to the stage to sing. Of course, she is amazing – but all the work that happened before that moment has led to her jumping further into that deep delight – her face is priceless as she finds her confidence and then she just sings it out “I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in” – it makes my skin tingle with Goosebumps. So powerful, I have had this song on repeat for a few weeks now – it isn’t just fun, it is delightful and I lose myself every time I listen to it.

Fun can be a lesson’s work but Delight is a deep cavernous space that takes time to fill with knowledge, engagement and experience in order to understand just how powerful Movement can be.

Click here to check out the expanded version of this post on Mel’s blog.

Meaningful #HPEatHome

We are heartened and inspired to see the enthusiasm and innovation shown by many teachers who aim to provide their students with support through these challenging times – what a remarkable community! We have some thoughts (rather than advice) about how #HPEatHome can be made meaningful for students, so they might engage with movement in their homes and communities and return to school looking forward to PE.

  • Reflection is vital for students to be made aware of and understand their experiences; however, many teachers are conflicted between taking time for reflection and taking time away from movement. You might be able to use this time to facilitate student reflection on PE. For example, you might ask what they enjoy or don’t enjoy about movement. What do they look forward to most or least? What was one memorable experience in PE from this year and what made it memorable? What they are most looking forward to doing in terms of their ‘usual’ movement once things return? This may offer some hope and something to look forward to. Students might also reflect on how movement can be helpful during potentially stressful situations such as they are currently facing. Taking the opportunity to ask students to connect with you in this way might provide you with some important (virtual) 1-1 time that can be challenging in a typical PE class. This may also come in handy for planning and instructional decisions when you return…
  • Embrace goal-setting: For some students a realistic and worthy goal might simply to be active for some part of the day; for others it might be more specific depending on what they can access in their homes. Some apps can be used to facilitate goal-setting in relation to specific skills (e.g., Hudl) if students want to get better, no matter what their current level. Goal-setting can also help students create and/or navigate a daily schedule while they are out of school.
  • Context is important but can be challenging: In newspapers we have seen lots of advice about taking hikes and getting into nature. This is wonderful if you have access to it and should be encouraged, but many students simply don’t have this kind of access and we imagine it might lead to frustration, resentment, and so on. This is why knowing the types of situations your students might be facing in terms of #HPEatHome is crucial. If students don’t have access to the outdoors, what can be done inside? Perhaps ask students to send you a clip (a dance, ultimate trick shot set up, favourite bike circuit/route), link or set of instructions for their favourite activity to do indoors. Depending on your mode of contact with students, these could be compiled and shared with the class for peers to try for themselves and comment on, fostering some type of positive interactions. It might also give them a bank of new activities to suggest upon returning to school.
  • Encourage alternative ways to be active with others. This can be done with siblings and other family members in the home, or with friends through various forms of technology and social media (e.g., Tic Toc). They could set challenges for friends.
  • Encourage students to try something new while no one’s watching. One of the inescapable challenges of PE is the public nature of students’ participation and performance. Students might find they enjoy or thrive in something they felt too self-conscious to embrace under the gaze of others. The apps mentioned may support this, and Youtube offers instruction for almost anything you can imagine. Who knows, you might find that someone has found their passion for Capoeira, Parkour, Darts, Mini Putt or Floor Curling while at home!
  • This is an opportunity for students to make some personally relevant connections between how their actions can affect others, which is so important in many aspects of PE, school and life in general. If your curriculum has expectations or outcomes for personal safety (e.g., social distancing, telling someone when you’re not feeling well, thinking about others), tasks that engage students in understanding the current situation will be highly relevant to them. They might not be ‘peak’ or delightful experiences but they could see clearly why they are learning things in PE.
  • As teachers of health and physical education, one of our main goals is to have students take ownership of their learning. In fact, most PE curricula have an explicitly stated aim of becoming ‘active for life’ (or similar). In these unique and challenging times, supporting the autonomy of our students has never been more important! Allowing time for reflection, facilitating goal setting, encouraging new pursuits and recognizing contextual differences are all strategies that are highly autonomy supportive. Providing ways for students to have and improve voice and choice in their daily activity decisions NOW has the potential to improve their PE experience when they get back to their school setting.