Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) into the Digital World
Continuing professional development is a journey not a destination. It’s not professional developed after all. The same goes for education. It’s not a one off thing. You aren’t educated and nor are you developed. You are learning, developing, changing, refining, progressing. In short. You’re growing.
Teachers haven’t learnt everything. The statement “I’ve forgotten more about teaching than you can even beginning to comprehend” is a classic example of the perceived value of ongoing development. Of growth. The trouble is…what has been forgotten? What has been laid put one side never to be picked up again? And what is left?
I turn to two quotes for a possible answer. The first is from the song “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel and the second is from an unknown source. Regardless, they reflect what I’m thinking here and the argument/inspiration for this new blog series.
- “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
- “If you defend your weaknesses then this is what you’re left with.”
Firstly, apologies for the ‘man’ reference by S&G. This didn’t need to be gender specific. The point, though, is people hear what they want to hear and ignore the rest of it. In their book, DecisiveChip and Dan Health argue that when we are faced with decisions we narrow our focus to what’s immediately in the spotlight and ignore the rest. In fact, we don’t (at least not very often) seek alternative and conflicting views. We see that we want to see and base our decisions on the information that allows us to do what we want to do anyway. The same can be said of teaching. We find a way that works and we teach that way. To do anything else is challenging and time consuming.
Yet, by ignoring what lies outside of the spotlight we ignore opportunity and the chance to grow. We build walls around ourselves and (potential) ignore our weaknesses. In fact, we often go as far as defending them. Which brings me to my second point. If we defend what we have learnt, and ignore the growth and development that we might enjoy if we were less blinkered, then we are stuck with what we already have. Strength and weaknesses alike.
But how do you engage with the things you hear? How do you face your weaknesses head on and seek to change? Especially as a teacher in a busy school where opportunities to develop are increasing limited by time and budget constraints?
We’ve found that trying to get people together is getting harder and harder (if not nigh on impossible). Our alumni (i.e. the newly Qualified and recently qualified teachers who qualified at Loughborough) can’t take time out of school to attend the one-day workshops we host. Equally, their holiday time is too important. It’s become a space not only to recuperate but also to catch up with work that they couldn’t get through during term time. And, as such, they simply can’t “spare a day.”
Our solution. A teacher education blog. This one. Why? Because talking to last year’s cohort this (i.e. social/digital media) is the best platform for engagement. It’s easy. In their own time. And doesn’t require a day away.
The aim over the coming year (and beyond if it works) is to engage in professional discussions about teaching. It is to share ideas that might help your teaching. It’s a way of offering support to the community without it costing the earth. The aim is to start at the start of the school year and share content that should take less than 10 minutes to read. Feel free to send in some ideas and if you want to contribute then please let me know. Fingers crossed that we can take PETE at Loughborough University further into the Digital World.