Working with pre-service teachers on Leaving Certificate Physical Education – Dylan Scanlon

For the past three years, Claire Walsh (PESS) has invited me onto the Professional Masters of Education (physical education) module ‘Physical Education Teachers as Lifelong Learners’ to work with pre-service teachers on Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE).

One of my learning intentions for the lecture / workshop was to educate the pre-service teachers on Arnold’s (1979) conceptualisation of education ‘in, through and about’ movement. This framework is fore fronted in the LCPE specification (p.8) but it does seem that, as the specification labels, learning ‘in’ physical activity seems to be less focused on in the enactment of the subject. Therefore, and very much informed by Brown and Penney’s (2018) book on ‘examination physical education’, we focused on how to embed learning ‘in’ physical activity into practice. By positioning learning ‘in’ physical activity within pedagogical practices (and alongside learning ‘through’ and ‘about’ physical activity), we encouraged the pre-service teachers to engage in pedagogy ‘in’ movement (Brown & Penney, 2018) highlighting meaning-making approaches such as lived experiences and embodiment learning.

One way we in which we discussed how this could look like in planning was the below example, adapted from Brown and Penney’s (2018) book. When planning a lesson, three aspects that are generally focused on are: psychomotor, affective and cognitive. Brown (2008) proposes a fourth, a meaning-making or lived experience component. For example, if one of the physical activities chosen in LCPE was running (athletics), the teacher can plan for a cognitive component (what muscles are you using?), a psychomotor component (what training zone are you in?), an affective component (what reasons do you run?), and now a lived experience component (what do you feel when you run?). We need to provide students time for reflection and in this period of reflection, the physical activity (or movement) potentially becomes meaningful.

After the lecture, both Claire and I facilitate a workshop where the pre-service teachers worked in groups on a template with a chosen learning outcome from strand two (contemporary issues in physical activity). The pre-service teachers have to construct two learning activities for the learning outcome (keeping in mind the concept of integration), highlight the pedagogical approaches and embedded assessment. While the template operates in a linear manner (i.e., one learning outcome at a time), there is a section on ideas to link in other learning outcomes in a non-linear manner. After the workshop the students share their resources so they have a bank of teaching resources for strand two going forward.

Feedback from the students has been extremely positive from the students as they commented on the authentic nature of the workshop but also on the importance of learning ‘in’ physical activity / movement.

An example template we give the students to base their work off can be accessed here: A sample is shown below.  You can see all pages of ‘example template’ by clicking on link above.

Dylan Scanlon is a Postgraduate Researcher in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick.  His current research interests include curriculum development and assessment re physical education.  You can contact Dylan via email or follow him on twitter @DylanScanlon1



Tagged with: