Feature

Taking Time To Learn: Don't Sweat the Active Stuff

Fansita Housdon

A collegial approach helps teachers overcome fear of physical education.

ETFO’s Summer Academy workshops are a great learning and networking opportunity for both presenters and participants. Our workshops highlight the wealth of knowledge that we stand to gain from our interactions with one another.

These are active three-day sessions. Our slogan is “Come prepared to participate,” though we stress that it’s okay to sit back and simply observe at various times throughout the day. Participants have an opportunity to work in both large and small groups. We encourage them to share their own experiences, whether they’ve just stepped into the profession or they have 25 years or more under their belts.

Our typical day starts off with an assortment of ice-breaker exercises that participants can easily adapt to any audience, such as leading a group of students or facilitating a professional learning session for staff or colleagues. We get the participants up and moving, using tried and tested games and activities that are sure to get even the most hesitant of students active.

Throughout the day we investigate various models for putting in place daily physical activity (DPA) and challenge participants to decide for themselves which ones best suit their unique needs. We have small groups look at a variety of scenarios and encourage them to discuss safety guidelines and recommendations for each situation.

For the generalist teacher, knowing where to go for help is half the battle. After facilitating various health and physical education workshops I realized that many teachers are not familiar with the wealth of resources available to them. The OPHEA (Ontario Physical Health and Education Association) curriculum binders, and programs and resources provided by CAHPERD (Canadian  Association for  Health,  Physical Education,  Recreation  and Dance) and CIRA Ontario (Canadian Intramural Recreation Association), are but a few of the many we highlight. We provide the group with time to familiarize themselves with various websites, agencies, and health and physical education links that can assist them with their teaching.

Raising participants’ comfort level in the area of physical activity helps them to implement programs and make a genuine impact at their school. At our sessions, teachers learn from us and from each other, sharing ideas and strategies for using the space and resources they have at hand. We demonstrate activities that use the school hallway, the playground and even the smallest classroom.

Guest presenters give us an innovative look at the most recent publications and resources. This part of the session is fun-filled and energetic, as we all get involved in a variety of rock, paper, scissors games and fitness circuit training stations that challenge each of  us to  beat our personal best!

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