Online PE Teaching Pilot for SEN Children
Thanks to technological advancement, physical education (PE) can go beyond traditional face-to-face instruction at a physical venue. The Department of Health and Physical Education (HPE) at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) has taken on a pioneering role in delivering PE classes online for students with special educational needs (SEN).
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, alumnus Roy Chan Ching-yat, Senior Lecturer at HPE has been helping a group of his former SEN students in a local special school by using a smart device. He began assisting in his own capacity by teaching some simple exercises on Zoom, to enable them to practise at home while schools were closed.
With the support of HPE, Mr Chan extended his initiative into a pilot project called ‘Home Exercise for SEN’, in partnership with teachers of several local special schools and a non-governmental organisation, in the hope of benefitting a larger group of 300 to 400 SEN students through real-time online teaching. Some 20 HPE students at EdUHK, including elite athletes, also served as volunteers on the project, offering online work-out routines to SEN students.
Mr Chan said: “The project not only provides a good platform for SEN students to achieve physical fitness, it also offers a great opportunity for EdUHK students to gain valuable experience in serving the community through their professional knowledge.”
Through this real-time online participation, Mr Chan has realised that SEN students have more interaction with their schoolmates, from the comfort of home. The relationships between parents and their children have been enhanced, while the children have also made clear improvement in their self-confidence and communication skills.
With his 14 years’ experience in special education teaching, Mr Chan attributed the success of the project to what he learned from a school principal he had worked with previously. “Try not to focus on what the students cannot achieve, but think even more about how to help them attain their ultimate goals,” he said.
Mr Chan plans to review the project and engage more EdUHK students to join with SEN students in teaching senior citizens living in care homes, so as to build an inclusive community. “We are also exploring the possibility of extending the benefits of online PE teaching to other countries in Asia and develop a website to archive all relevant information for future reference,” he said.