Lesson 1 - Class B
This was the secondary, tennis skills class. PE teacher A told them they were going into a rally as soon as possible, to continue the groups progress. But first he asked them to practice in pairs using a wall for squash practice. For the demo he used a student who responded very well. PE teacher A told the student where to aim on the wall and they aimed for it with precise accuracy. This highlighted for me how physically able this class truly are, and that when they listen they can perform beautifully, even when under pressure of being in front of the rest of the class. However this was the first lesson of the day so perhaps the students had no previous events in the day to feel demotivated by.
When the pairs started the squash rallies, everyone was demonstrating significant improvement in coordinative skills. The teacher was so impressed that he used an offer of a gold coin, part of the schools reward system, to encourage them to carry on but this time focussing on a backhand swing. This offer worked well and the students continued to stay on task, all attempting a backhand swing ing pursuit of the reward. Four gold coins were awarded afterwards to those who performed an accurate backhand. However PE teacher A emphasised that they could only keep their coins if they were well behaved for the rest of the lesson. The pairs then had rallies together, allowing the ball to bounce before returning. After a while, the pairs then swapped round and cooperating surprisingly well with each other as the previous pairs. I had thought that this class had students who were particular about their friends and the people they worked with, as I had seen students being swapped around when misbehaving with their friends. But today this did not seem true, so I found myself questioning the environmental factors again, as I knew information like that would be crucial to bare in mind when it comes to my lessons so I can predict certain behaviour.
The session ended with a game of cricket with the tennis rackets, a game all the students were familiar with.
Lesson 2 - Class F
This was an autistic primary class practicing their bowling skills. Two lanes were set up. The teacher told the class they were going to be progressing to a special type of competition, but first they were going to practice knocking over skittles as they did last time. The behaviour of three of the students in this class is particularly challenging. One student continued to walk about the hall completely distracted from what they were meant to be doing. Occasionally the teacher was able to direct them back to their lane and throw a basketball at the skittles, which the student could do by themselves. However when it was not their turn they could not stay still for long. Pupil 2 was acting distressed from the moment of entry, running into a far away corner and creating noises. They managed to stay there for the entire lesson, except to pick up the orange bag that carries the skittles set. Thankfully one of the TA’s in this calls was able to focus their attention on this student and rolled a blue plastic ball to them in their corner. Surprisingly the student consistently returned the ball without much hesitation or difficulty. This also helped them to stay more calm and a little bit quieter. The third student, Pupil 1, was someone who had performed well during the last session, but they were more interested in exploring the room this week. The PE teacher tried to direct them to the lanes and physically assisted them to throw the ball towards the skittles. The student was not very cooperative and made an attempt to walk away but PE teacher A kept their arm around them and continued to deliver clear instructions in a gentle manner. When the student realised they couldn’t get away they made a grab for the teachers face. The teacher remained calm and firmly said “no”, while taking their hand away and gave further instructions regarding the task. This worked well.
Lesson 3 - Class D (outside)
PE teacher B had asked the students to remember what team they had been on the last time they had played a game of cricket outside. Almost all of the students remembered the team they were on and what they had done with them.
First they were going to practice football skills. The class were put into threes and played a football version of piggy in the middle. Me and the teaching assistants were asked to watch over each group to enforce the rules. The group I was put with worked extremely well, demonstrating foot skills, balance, and team communication. The group moved swiftly and ingeniously. I made sure to give ample encouragement and only needed to give a few extra directions such as, “move around more to help your team mate”, “keep talking to each other”, “stop and control the ball.” The group listened well, incorporating my directions into their practice and appeared motivated by my encouragement. PE teacher B then decided that all the TA’s and myself were to stay in the middle for a while, which the kids loved and proved good practice for them.
The groups then had one minute to score as many completed passes as possible, with me keeping count. The group worked very well together, and even helped me to keep the score. At the end they achieved the second highest score out of the entire class. They were then challenged to try again but this time they had to beat their own score; this relates to personal progression, encouraging the children to build on their own skills and not worry about competition. In the second round the team worked even better than the previous and beat their own score with ease, which I and the PE teacher gave them lots of credit for.
Afterwards they played a standard football game and PE teacher B even got involved at one point. He was enthusiastic and encouraged good team communication by talking to his team members and cheering them on. I think it’s a great idea to get involved with the children like this so that the teacher is not just a figure of authority but a figure of fun - something I believe to be essential when teaching exercise. If the class views the teacher as someone they can have fun with they will be more likely to follow instructions, moreover if an activity is fun for children then it will be easy to motivate them to excel at it. Getting young generations to enjoy physical activities and becoming motivated to persist at them is crucial; there have been numerous links between special needs children and the rise of obesity in the UK made and studied and implies that these populations cannot afford to be ignored if we are going to get the nation healthier.
Lesson 4 - Class E
This class was working on goal ball skills. So two bowling allies were set up with skittles at the end. The students were told that the lesson would have a strong focus on technique. They were asked what technique was.
The class was divided into two groups and line up by a bowling lane to take turns in practicing their technique on rolling the balls towards the skittles. The teacher’s feedback was positive and helpful, saying what he liked about the persons technique and given one suggestion for them to improve. They were asked after some practice what they had been encouraged to do so that they can work out together what good technique meant. Between them all they came up with three points, a one-handed approach, good speed, and accuracy. They then had another practice trying to achieve these three things. Some students significantly improved after the teachers advice.
The rules were then changed and the class split into four teams. Each team had a line of the court to defend and the opposing team had to try to roll the ball passed the line to score a point. These are essentially the same rules as goal ball, a sport the class is working up to. This version of goal ball was then played in two big teams; the teacher made sure that everyone took a turn on each side and that everyone was playing fairly. The teams cooperated well and cheered each other on. One student knocked the ball into another student accidentally and hurt them. The teacher asked this student to apologize and explain that he didn’t mean to hurt anyone. The student seemed apprehensive to do so as it was an accident and I think he thought he was in trouble. But the teacher would not allow the game to proceed until he heard an apology. The student apologized and said he didn’t mean to hurt his classmate. The teacher politely thanked him and the game continued.
Lesson 5 - Class G
PE teacher B set up the climbing frame again, but before he could set up the mats the class arrived. PE teacher B intuitively turned this situation into a fun activity by placing the students on the mats and pulling them along as fast as he could before setting the mat down in the appropriate place and collecting another mat to repeat the activity. Clearly, the pupils loved this start to the lesson, eagerly running to the next mat and sitting on it, ready to be pulled along again. After a few goes the students were then encouraged to go and play on the climbing frame or the trampoline or the slides. Mots pupils expressed enthusiasm to play on the equipment but needed they occasional assisted bounce on the trampoline, or encouragement to climb a but higher. As a very young class, it is clear that it’s not easy for them to fully understand sports or team concepts, so having lessons revolve around fun and giving them the freedom to choose fun activities is an effective method used to get this class exercising.
Live life to the full.