My Experience as a Student of BSc in Physical Education – Niamh o’loughlin.

Why I chose this course

Growing up as an sporty child in a very active family, I always viewed physical activity with upmost regard and appreciated the benefits of exercise. On top of this, I was certain that I wanted to work with people in order to try and have a positive impact on the lives of others. Taking this into consideration, teaching seemed like a good route to go down. Coupling this with my love of all things health and fitness, the BSc in Physical Education appeared to be a perfect fit.

My Experience

As an up and coming graduate of BSc in Physical Education (course code: LM090), like all of the 2022 cohort, my college experience was anything but typical. However, I was very fortunate to have started this course in the Autumn of 2018, where the only association people had to the word pandemic was either the Bubonic Plague or the Spanish Flu! Throughout Year 1, we experienced a mix of lectures, tutorials and, everyone’s favourite, P.E. labs. During these labs we took part in a whole host of physical activities, relevant to the P.E. curriculum. Looking back, as we were always mixed up in different teams/groups, P.E. labs were the best way to get to know my classmates and to form lasting friendships.

In Year 2, the pandemic hit while I we were out on School Placement. Only three of the eight week block had passed when the world seemed to shut down. In my opinion, UL responded to this unprecedented situation well and our School Placement team in the School of Education assigned work for us, so that we could pass Placement 1 and progress to Year 3. Unfortunately, Covid-19 prevented us from coming onto campus in third year. Our lectures, tutorials and “labs” were all delivered remotely. I must commend our lecturers who pulled off no mean feat in delivering such a practical course through a screen.

Course structure

I think BSc in Physical Education is structured well. The majority of the time in this course (under normal circumstances) is be spent on campus. Two out of the eight semesters are almost fully devoted to School Placement, which provides an experience which is as invaluable as it is essential part of a teacher education programme. The School Placement blocks in Year 2 and Year 4 last for eight and ten weeks respectively. The length of these blocks (although daunting before completion) really help to shape your identity as a teacher. These designated blocks were not the only time in which we got an opportunity to teach in this course by any means. As early as semester one of first year we were sent out to primary schools each Friday to teach P.E. lessons that were both developmentally appropriate and most importantly, fun. We taught in pairs or trios and were supervised throughout. Looking back, this provided us with a great opportunity to practice teaching within an environment that felt safe.

What can be gained from this course

UL Graduate Attributes summarise the kinds of people that UL students are encouraged to become.  UL seeks to stimulate students who are:  knowledgeable, proactive, creative, responsible, collaborative, and articulate. I must say that LM090 focuses on creating an environment that supports students in attaining all said attributes. In particular, I think the emphasis placed on collaboration is noteworthy. Group work is an integral part of this course. Reflecting back on the amount of group projects I have participated in during my time in UL, it has become clear that this mode of assessment is not coincidental. The emphasis placed by BSc in Physical Education on group work means that co-operation and communication skills are intricately linked to the success of a student in this course. These skills that have been fostered throughout my time in UL will undoubtedly help in my induction to the working world, where team work and delegation of tasks are key to success of any staff force.

Throughout the 4 year programme, I have found that taking initiative for oneself in terms of learning experiences is key to maximising the benefit from this course. Through engaging with outside readings and doing more research into this area, I have created value for myself in this course. This has certainly helped me to develop the UL Graduate Attributes: knowledgeable, proactive, responsible and articulate.

Why this course might be a good choice

This course has been designed to not only gain knowledge about teaching and learning In P.E., but, more importantly to understand and be able to utilise that knowledge in the real world of P.E. teaching. I have found our lecturers at PESS to be prepared, engaged, and always willing to provide students with feedback.  As a student there is an expectation to be a self-motivated, responsible, and an active learner.  The content is shaped and shared in order to help you become the best teacher possible.

 Niamh O’Loughlin

4th Year PE Student,

Physical Education & Sport Sciences

University of Limerick.

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