30 April 2020: The University of Canberra is leading the way when it comes to online teaching for future Health and Physical Education teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A series of videos produced in 2018, of students demonstrating Models of Instruction based on the work of Michael Metzler, are now being referenced by institutions around the world.
It all began with research from Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education Dr John Williams and Associate Professor Dr Shane Pill in 2018, as they analysed the approaches used by local Health and Physical Education teachers to teach Physical Education.
“What our research showed was that there was a lack of evidence-based, research informed pedagogical methods being used to teach Physical Education,” said Dr Williams.
“To address this gap in teacher knowledge, we decided to film some of our students using evidence-based Models of Instruction by Metzler as part of their assessment.”
The students studying the Contemporary Physical Activitiesunittaught lessons to their peers using the Models of Instruction, including inquiry teaching, peer teaching and co-operative teaching. From there, our highest performing students were chosen to use these methods to teach Year 3 and Year 8 students from Canberra Girls Grammar School. These lessons were captured in six separate videos.
“Myself, Dr Pill, Jenny Hall sessional tutor and my colleague Margie Appel helped the students prepare their final lessons. The videos show the students teaching actual children, so they have meaning and relevance for showing other teachers how they can use those methods,” said Dr Williams.
The work of these students was deemed informally, to be above graduate standard by Associate Professor Dr Shane Pill and featured at the 2018 Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) ACT seminar. This event at Canberra Girls Grammar School attracted over 50 delegates who were predominantly in-service Health and Physical Education teachers.
“The student lesson presentations demonstrated a flipped approach, where UC student Health and Physical Education teachers were positioned as the experts, instead of teachers or other more experienced facilitators typically assuming such a role,” said Dr Williams.
“Essentially, our student Health and Physical Education teachers taught experienced Health and Physical Education teachers how to deliver contemporary quality Physical Education.”
As an outcome of this project, 19 high-performing third- and fourth-year students received an ACHPER ACT Excellence in Teaching Physical Education for a Student Teacher Award, which has boosted their confidence as many now commence their journeys as qualified teachers.
“I think giving people a realistic example of new approaches will help them understand the approach better,” said one of the award-winners, Taleah Castley.
“For some people, seeing the pedagogy in practice is much more helpful than reading theories about it. I think the videos are also helpful in showing teachers that it isn’t hard to switch up from the traditional direct teaching approach.”
The six videos have now attracted overseas interest, as institutions adapt to teaching Health and Physical Education students online.
The videos appear on the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America website, as the only examples from higher education of how to teach Physical Education remotely.
“This depicts our work at the University as internationally recognized good practice, and as sector-leading in the light of the unprecedented global change caused by the Coronavirus,” said Dr Williams.
“For the first time ever, Health and Physical Education teacher educators need to consider how we teach Physical Education remotely.”
“I think that our work makes a global contribution indirectly in this regard, by helping student Health and Physical Education teachers continue their studies through learning quality evidence-based approaches online that is the next best thing to face-to-face practical Physical Education.”