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Physical education snapshot 1

Co-constructing context and learning with students in year 12


Our faculty had been interested in the idea of co-constructing possible learning with students. We wanted to use a resource as a trigger to stimulate discussion and to encourage students to think about the range of learning that was possible for different contexts.

A number of students had commented on an advertising poster they had seen for an upcoming tennis event. The poster had already triggered some discussion with students, so we decided to use the advertising as a trigger activity to get students to generate as many questions as they could about tennis as a context and possibilities for learning.

The poster showed one of the higher ranked woman players hitting a forehand shot at full stretch. The poster had all the information about where and when the tournament was but it also had words such as ATTACK, Cross court, Go for the lob, Opponents rushing the nest, Ball travelling at 135km. It also had lines showing the balls entry and exit trajectory. NB: The original poster is no longer available. Suitable posters my be found online in an image search for Tennis posters

Focusing inquiry

In groups, students were asked to look at the poster and ask questions or identify what they wanted to know more about.

Students came up with questions such as:

  • Are tennis players' hitting arms bigger than the non hitting arm?
  • Why do woman players grunt or shout when they hit the ball?
  • Why do they score tennis the way they do?
  • How do you hit the ball to get it to go where you want it to go?
  • Is a backhand shot harder to hit than a forehand shot?
  • What are the different types of shot you can use and when do you use them?
  • Why are tennis dresses so short?
  • What does attack and defence look like in tennis? Is it similar to badminton or squash?
  • Is there a best body type for a tennis player?
  • Do the media treat female tennis players the same as male tennis player?
  • What would the action shot of a male tennis player look like in advertising?
  • Is a tennis player fitter than a netball player?
  • What injuries do tennis players get? 

Using a negotiation activity, whereby groups of students negotiate with each other as to what they think would be most important and interesting to learn about, the class grouped the questions and prioritised what they wanted to learn. As a class we then discussed whether or not we wanted to use tennis as our context for learning or whether we wanted to choose another physical activity context. Following a discussion, and having considered other contexts, the class decided that they would like to use tennis but to try and compare with other contexts as the unit of work progressed and as interest was triggered.

As we had had more of a focus on team contexts in year 11 the class was interested in using more of an individual physical activity to focus on.

Tennis was chosen as the context for a number of reasons (mainly topical and current, see below):

  • Discussing the advertising had developed their interest in the tennis.
  • Not many of the class had had an opportunity to develop the ability to play tennis apart from the odd hit around.
  • There was a local club in close proximity who were supportive in working with the school.
  • Tennis had been in the media recently.

None of the class played tennis as a school or club sport, although some had had lessons when they were younger. The focus of this was to find out what students knew about the context and to find out what they wanted to know and learn about.

Teacher inquiry

A unit of work using tennis as the context was developed that had two main focuses. 

Focus 1  

Learning how to play the game, which included:

  • technical and tactical knowledge and understanding
  • using apps such as Coach's Eye or Ubersense (see below) 
  • to observe performance and as a basis to plan a learning programme to improve
  • investigating the role and place of biomechanical knowledge in learning the shots
  • fitness for tennis
  • learning how to umpire.

Achievement objectives that could be used as a basis to develop learning intentions:

  • 7B1 Appraise specialised motor skills and adapt them to extend physical competence and recreational opportunities.
  • 7B3 Adapt relevant scientific knowledge and use appropriate resources to improve performance in a specialised physical activity. 

Possible assessment links to achievement standards:

  • AS91328 (2.2) Demonstrate understanding of how and why biophysical principles relate to the learning of physical skills. 

Focus 2  

The culture of tennis with a focus on either Wimbledon, US Open, French Open, Australian Open, all three or another major tournament.

Initially the class looked at the tournament as a whole, broke into groups to choose a more specific aspect that were then presented back to the class.

Groups focused on:

  • media coverage of tennis and tennis players
  • changing technologies in tennis (racquets, shoes, clothing umpiring)
  • organising a tournament
  • spectators and volunteers
  • support around a professional athlete
  • do major sporting events (in this case tennis) impact on peoples interest in the game?
  • what opportunities are there in our community?
  • organising and running our own tournament.

Achievement objectives that could be used as a basis to develop learning intentions:

  • 7C2: Analyse the beliefs, attitudes and practices  that reinforce stereotypes and role expectations, identifying ways in which these shape peoples choices at individual, group and societal levels.    
  • 7D1: Analyse ways in which events and social organisations promote healthy communities and evaluate the effects they have.

Possible assessment links to achievement standards:

  • AS91331 (2.5) Examine the significance for self, others and society of a sporting event, a physical activity, or a festival.
  • AS91335 (2.9) Examine the implementation and outcome(s) of a physical activity event or opportunity. 

Learn more

Investigate user apps, for example:

Both Coach's Eye and Ubersense are mobile applications for the analysis of sports performance through video.

Last updated July 28, 2015