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Level 6 and 7 snapshots

Learning programme design

Level 6/7 snapshots

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Physical ed snapshots:

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Combined HPE and home economics snapshots

Physical education snapshot 2

Creating an effective classroom culture in year 11


Historically our department believed that an effective introduction to senior school physical education at year 11 was to teach fundamental biophysical principles (anatomy, biomechanics, and exercise physiology) using Achievement Standard 90963 (1.2) to assess understanding. It was felt that students would develop a knowledge base from which they could draw from throughout the remainder of the year, and in following years. 

What we found was that this isolated students in several ways. Firstly, with the unit of work taught and assessed at the beginning of the year, students worked individually and did not develop working relationships with either their peers or their teacher. This hindered their ability to seek assistance and guidance throughout the unit of work. Secondly, in a unit that had new language and jargon, both in the knowledge developed and with their introduction to assessment, teachers found that students needed more of a collaborative learning culture as they worked with and developed the knowledge needed. 

As a teaching team we believed that it was vital to the ongoing success of our students to review what we taught as our first unit of work that would best suit the transition to senior school physical education. 

Focusing inquiry

We believed that it was vital to establish strong, learning focused relationships between both teacher and student, and student to student. This relationship, once built, would support the learning outcomes for students and help to improve success. The aim was that developing this foundation would provide the basis of a learning culture that would continue to grow throughout the year. From the first unit the focus was to develop a learning culture within the classes, showing students the benefits of working together using physical activity as their context. This was coupled with fostering student understanding that this knowledge could be transferred to other contexts and situations. The context we chose to use was sports education.

Teacher inquiry

We decided to focus on the development of interpersonal skills and how they could be used to develop a working culture within the class. We wanted to focus the learning on how the use of interpersonal skills contributed to successfully working together, and considering the role of the individual within a group situation. While we used sports education as the context, we constantly encouraged students to explicitly look at how their learning could transfer to other situations in their schooling and in their life. 

It made sense to use Achievement Standard 90966 to assess the learning, but discovered that Achievement Standard 90970 (the use and review of self-management strategies) was both closely linked and relevant to what we were looking to achieve in the creation of a purposeful year long learning environment. 

Once we had established the important learning we wanted for our students, we developed an assessment activity that drew from two achievement standards. We sought feedback on the assessment activity through the social media site ‘Twitter’. A group of past/current educators, university lecturers, and staff in areas of senior management established a feedback group where the assessment documents were critiqued and refined. 

The year planner was adjusted so that the first unit of work focused on developing the learning culture and was assessed using the two Achievement Standards. We hoped that this learning culture would create a strong sense of collaboration as they prepared for the unit, which would introduce them to new concepts and language focused on biophysical principles.

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

  • 6A4: Demonstrate an understanding of factors that contribute to personal identity and celebrate individuality and affirm diversity.
  • 6B4: Demonstrate understanding and affirmation of peoples diverse social and cultural needs and practices when participating in physical activities.
  • 6C2: Plan and evaluate strategies recognising their own and other peoples rights and responsibilities to avoid or minimise risks in social situations.
  • 6C3: Plan strategies and demonstrate interpersonal skills to respond to challenging situations appropriately.

Possible assessment links to achievement standards

  • AS90966 (1.5) Demonstrate interpersonal skills in a group and explain how these skills impact on others.
  • AS90970 (1.9) Demonstrate self management strategies and describe the effects on participation in physical activity.

Learning inquiry

The shift in yearly assessment structure to allow for the development of class culture and learning relationships was successful, although did present some challenges for some students. The emphasis on the development of interpersonal skills and self-management strategies established an environment of ongoing peer support, which leaned well to peer mentoring and assessment. 

Some students struggled to cope when it came to the unit of work that focused on biophysical principles as they felt unprepared for the workload and the learning of new concepts and language. Some students fed back that they would prefer to complete the ‘hard’ learning and assessment at the beginning of the year, but went on to stress the support of their peers as crucial to their success. 

The impact of this shift was evident throughout the remainder of the year as students collaborated with varying peer groups and sought feedback from both teacher and each other.

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Last updated September 3, 2013