Innovative, joyful and effective learning in Physical Education
Dr Li Chung, Associate Professor of Department of Health and Physical Education

Empowering physical education (PE) teachers to be the change agents in schools has long been the goal of the Department of Health and PE. One of the effective ways is to promote and apply collaborative practice-referenced research projects on teaching and learning with schools. The results of the projects are usually presented directly to PE teachers during professional development programmes. They have also been edited in DVDs, texts as well refereed journal articles for their reference. The purposes are to promote sharing culture, construct a learning community and build a knowledge-based PE. It is hoped to support PE teachers in offering innovative, joyful and effective PE learning for students in response to the rapid global and local technological, social and economic development.

Coordinated with the Education Bureau, collaborative projects with distinctive themes have been promoted since 2005. They include "2005- Teaching Games for Understanding”, "2006 - Assessment for Learning”; "2007 - Catering Learners’ Diversity”; "2008 - Cultivating Creativity and Critical thinking”; "2009 - Fostering Social and Cultural Aspects”; "2010 - Nurturing Physically Educated Citizens” and "2011- 360° Promotion of Healthy Living Among Students”. Through these projects, a variety of innovative pedagogical and curricular approaches are researched and promoted among local schools. The most significant ones are “Teaching Games of Understanding”; "Sport Education”; "Assessment for Learning”; "Cooperative Learning”; "Reciprocal Teaching and Inclusion Style” of Mosstum’s Spectrum of Teaching Styles; “Personalized System for Instruction”; "Differentiation Strategies”, "Creative Games DIY” and "Introduction of the Social Circus into Local PE Curriculum” . (Please refer to the selected references for the details of the work.)  

The projects signify the development of PE learning and teaching. The most encouraging one is the shift of learning and teaching from teacher-centered to learner-centered. It illustrates that there is an extension of respective assumptions and beliefs of how students learn and how well they can learn which range from behavioural to constructivist orientations. The following is an abstract of a recent practice-reference research project collaborated with a secondary school in Hong Kong. It is going to be published in refereed journal for reference of PE teachers (Li & Kam, 2011):

Mosston’s “spectrum of teaching styles”, composes of 11 pedagogical approaches in PE, has been popularly promoted for maximizing students’ learning in the Western countries. However, only a few of them have been put into practice and studied in Hong Kong. The following concerned a report of a pilot study on one of the teaching styles- reciprocal teaching.      

The study aimed to examine students’ and the teacher’s experiences when engaging in learning and teaching in reciprocal teaching.

3 classes of 80 male students (Form 3: 31 students, Form 2: 26 & Form 1: 23) from a local secondary school and their PE teacher were invited to participate in the study.     

Attached to the practice-reference research perspective, 3 teaching units of gymnastics, swimming and handball were conducted in the form of reciprocal teaching. Data composed of students’ reflective journals and interviews as well as teachers’ self review were collected at the end of the teaching units.

Both the teacher and students experienced reciprocal teaching and learning positively. Students perceived their learning as active and comfortable. They were satisfied with their mastery of skills, taking peer tutoring roles, engaging in observing, taking care of others and seeing their partner’s improvement. However, they also encountered with those dissatisfying experiences of boring, simple and repetitive learning content, difficult skills and the undesirable learning attitude of some of the students that they feared of ending up with discipline problems and learning nothing. Their articulation with their improvement in collaboration, communication and presentation skills, building up confidence, team spirit and learning attitude of trying hard was found.

The reciprocal teaching might be a possible solution to the current PE problems of passive learning, little collaboration and weak accountability of learning. It empowered students in their learning. Students worried that when reciprocal teaching was widely used, it might end up with learning nothing. Their worries may give inspiration to PE teachers that they have to generate pedagogical implications on how reciprocal teaching can be implemented fully and effectively. It is suggested that large scale studies relating to the application of reciprocal teaching should be launched. Focuses can be on different levels of students and other PE teaching contents. 

We believe that cultivating and enriching a sharing culture among PE teachers is important to the field of PE. With effective collaboration and communication, knowledge can be shared and leveraged to meet the education objectives. It is the responsibilities of the PE educators to increase the opportunities of professional development by working collaboratively to conduct more practice-reference researches in local schools, publishing the reports and initiating more sharing chances for teachers in Hong Kong. From the work that has been done so far, we know that we, PE teachers, are not working alone. Being open and willing to share helps us to achieve our goals- "To make PE learning innovative, joyful and effective”.

Selected References:
Cruz, A. & Li, C. (2008). Instructional practice of Hong Kong primary physical education student teachers. The International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance Journal of Research, 3(1), 22-28.
Cruz, A., Li, C., & Kam, W. K. K. (2012). Learning to implement Teaching Games for Understanding during teaching practice. Asian Journal of Physical Education & Recreation, 18(1) (In press)
Li, C. Liu, R. Cruz, A., Chow, L., Kam., K., Wong, J. & Lin, V. (2006). Summer School for PE teachers 2006– Assessment Literacy [DVD]. Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Li, C. Liu, R. Cruz, A., Chow, L., Kam., K., Wong, J. & Lin, V. (2007). Summer School for PE teachers 2007- Catering learners’ diversity [DVD]. Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Li, C. Tsang, C.K.. Cruz, A., Chow, L., Kam., K., Wong, J. & Lin, V. (2008). Summer School for PE teachers 2008-Nurturing creativity and critical thinking through PE [DVD]. Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Li, C. Tsang, C.K.. Cruz, A., Chow, L., Kam., K., Wong, J. & Lin, V. (2009). Summer School for PE teachers 2009-Social cultural aspects of PE [DVD]. Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Li, C. Tsang, C.K.. Cruz, A., Chow, L., Kam., K., Wong, J. & Lin, V. (2010). Summer School for PE teachers 2010 Nurturing physically educated citizens, a key to whole person development [DVD]. Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Li, C. (2010). Serving PE Teachers’ Professional Learning in Social Circus. New Horizon in Education, 58(1), 117-129,
Li, C. & Cruz, A (2009). Learning and teaching experiences of sport education. Asian Journal of Physical Education & Recreation, 15(2), 6-15.
Li, C. & Kam, W.K. (2011). Mosston’s Reciprocal Style of Teaching: A Pilot Study in Hong Kong. New Horizon in Education. (In press-Vol.59, No.2, Oct.2011 issue)
Liu, R., Li, C. & Cruz, A. (2006). (Eds). The Teaching games for understanding in the Asia-Pacific Region. Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
李宗、高達倫、曾卓權(2009) :體育的社會文化層,載於李宗、高達倫、曾卓權《體育的社會文化層》,香港:香港教育學院健康與體育系。

Department of Health and Physical Education

- END -