Alternative approaches to teaching athletics

Trainee teachers of physical education were provided with a different perspective and an alternative approach to the teaching and learning of athletic activities.

Activities specifically for indoor teaching focused on running at maximum speed over short distances and running over obstacles. Trainees learnt to teach jumping events using the basic skills of hopping, skipping and bounding.

Throwing events involved throwing balls, quoits, foam javelins, bean bags or hoops with pushing, pulling, slinging and heaving actions. Typically, the teaching and learning of athletics takes place in terms five and six of the academic year (April–July). This can be a time when the weather in the UK can be particularly unpredictable and physical education teachers often have to adapt and modify outdoor lessons for an indoor environment such as a sports hall.

Physical education teachers have to be creative with respect to the physical resources at their disposal and have to design schemes of work ensuring that all pupils are included and have a positive learning experience in track and field athletics.

The activities are designed to help physical education teachers create inclusive, enjoyable and challenging tasks in which pupils can learn in a safe and purposeful environment. These activities take into account the realities of everyday life within physical education departments where there is often limited indoor space, equipment or staff expertise, especially during the months of May, June and July when most indoor teaching space for physical education is occupied by examination desks.

PGCE and School Direct PE route leader Dr Gary Stidder said: “As with any physical education lesson, teachers will have to adapt the activities to suit each individual class according to the age range and ability level of the group.

“The activities presented to trainee teachers of physical education are merely the foundations and scaffolding of an effective athletics lesson. The bricks and mortar are provided by the physical education teacher in each unique setting.”

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