Next up in our #InsideTheIndustry series we caught up with Health & Wellbeing teacher and junior football extraordinaire Mr Kowbel.
With schools closed or partially closed for a number of months over the last year, teachers have had to be creative in order to make sure their students are being challenged as well as possible when doing school work at home.
1. How has lockdown affected the way you’ve been able to teach over the last 12 months?
It’s been a real challenge to provide anything like the ‘normal’ physical PE experience as guidelines around changing facilities, use of equipment and social distancing has hit us hard.
We’ve not been able to follow Sport Scotland guidelines and have had to wait on guidance from Education Scotland which has led to frustration from learners and parents.
Our approach has very much been about focusing on the cognitive skills and physical qualities such as decision making, teamwork and communication.
The online home learning approach has been new for all of us and undoubtedly tough for learners but it has presented some positive aspects which we can incorporate into our practice in post Covid times.
2. As a PE teacher you’re used to being active throughout the year, how have you coped with being unable to get out of the playing fields/in the sports hall for large parts of the last year?
We’ve been extremely lucky with favourable weather and the response our learners have given to the challenges…there’s been very few moans and groans and they’ve embraced the situation!
We’ve kept activity games based and as I say the approach has been more about being active than skills development.
We utilised the short windows in between lockdowns to assess learners practical performance in the senior phase so have been really fortunate in that sense but there’s no getting away from the fact that experiential learning has been limited.
3. How difficult is it to run a PE lesson via Microsoft Teams?
Our Dance classes have actually been really successful! The staff and learners have worked so well together to keep learning on track. PE has been more problematic and we’ve tried to keep learners engaged with fitness advice and challenges with supporting mental well being the priority for this.
The major challenge has been the diverse range of access to IT and quality of internet provision…despite the best efforts of schools and other agencies many learners have found accessing learning a significant struggle.
4. Have you and your colleagues had to be creative in the ways to get your students active during home learning?
Absolutely, as I say Dance has worked well but we’ve tried to keep things fun and positive. When the snow came we set challenges around this and it was good to see some of the learners out sledging when I took my own children to the golf course hills!
5. With school and club football suspended for long periods, how much have you missed being able to get out on the training pitch and matchdays in school/junior football this year?
It’s left a significant void!! The more relaxed environment is a huge part of building relationships beyond the classroom and in my view extra curricular opportunities are a fundamental part of school building a positive ethos and helping learners to transition from primary school, make new friends and build school pride.
Being unable to organise trips and tours is also disappointing as over the years the benefits and experiences they offer to learners is life shaping and life changing. Hopefully light is beginning to shine at the end of this long tunnel!