Sport and Health Sciences at Brighton

group of students running in the gym

Learning to teach athletics in secondary schools

PGCE and School Direct student Physical Education teachers returned to the university having completed their first 12-week school-based placement.

The student teachers took part in a series of indoor and outdoor track and field athletics sessions designed to enhance their subject knowledge and given an opportunity to compete against themselves and other students to achieve a personal best time, distance or height using standardised and modified equipment.

female student with a frisbeeThe sessions consisted of learning slinging, flicking, pushing, heaving and overarm actions associated with shot put, discus and javelin throwing using equipment specifically for an indoor environment. Activities associated with jumping actions and sprinting were also taught.

PGCE and School Direct Physical Education route leader Dr Gary Stidder said: “Many younger pupils in secondary schools cannot master the complex biomechanical techniques of throwing a shot, discus or javelin or the jumping techniques required for the long jump, triple jump and high jump – often this is due to the technical mastery and performance being unachievable in the time afforded to the activity.

“The athletics session we organised were designed to be pupil-centred and inclusive and to develop subject knowledge that could be applied in their second school placement.”

Dr Stidder went on to say: “There are creative ways to teach athletics lessons to younger pupils in secondary schools that are inclusive for all.

“Eleven-year-old pupils for example could work as a team to beat the men’s and women’s world record for long jump in the fewest number of standing jumps or attempt the fewest number of throws to beat the existing world record for shot put, discus and javelin. Boys and girls could produce the fastest relay team by dividing up the distance of four hundred meters and allocating different stages over shorter and longer distances.

“Throwing circuits in a sports hall when the weather is poor can be organised using adapted and modified equipment such as foam, vortex and turbo javelins as well as rubber quoits, frisbees and American softballs. Sprinting can be taught by asking the pupils how far can they run in the same time as the men and women’s world record or asking how far can they run in 3, 5, 7, 10 seconds.”

Find out how you can become a teacher with the University of Brighton.

Kerry Burnett • 30/01/2024

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