Function 2 Flow

Impact Statement: Rebecca J. Lloyd, PhD.

Problem: Physical education (PE) has the potential to inspire children to be active for life, yet for many, it is an intimidating and alienating environment catered to students who excel in traditional games and sports. Recent curriculum revisions in Canada, aligned with the concept of physical literacy, indicate that students are to experience a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person. Yet, from reproduced sport-infused drills, to militaristic, command-based teaching methods, much support is required to help PE teachers depart from their entrenched mechanistic and rigid conceptions of movement.

Action: My goal in packaging my interdisciplinary program of research (that amalgamates over ten years of research in the areas of curriculum theorizing, phenomenology, pedagogy, motivational psychology and exercise science) into to the (F2F) model is to promote more fluidity in PE in terms of the content experienced as well as the ways in which movement is assessed beyond the dominant, isolated sport drill approach.

The four dimensions of the model, namely movement Function, Form, Feeling and Flow, provide points of entry for understanding how we might become fit and attend to the qualitative features of movement maturation in a multitude of physical activities. Hence, the F2F model provides conceptual and practical pathways to help us depart from the rigid constraints of the dominant ‘body-as-machine’ mechanistic approach to teaching movement in physical education. When we consider how students feel and the degree to which they experientially connect their movements to the animate world as we embrace the Feeling and Flow dimensions of the F2F model, we are more likely to align the experience of becoming physically educated with the philosophic tenets of physical literacy. Samples of the  inquiry-based prompts include:

Function: How would you describe the fundamental movement pattern that is at the heart of your desired activity (i.e., are you sitting, standing, reaching, twisting, etc.?)?

Form: What body shapes/positions make it easier/harder to perform your activity?

Feeling: Describe the rhythm of your breath during your activity.  Is there a time when you typically breathe in, breathe out, and/or hold your breath?

Flow: Did the perception of time in performing the activity shift from ‘clock time’ to experiential time (i.e., did time speed up or slow down?)? Did it feel effortless? Did you feel a sense of connection to your environment?

Impact: The creation of the Function2Flow website provides an array of resources from videos, inquiry-based prompts, rubrics, as well as cross-curricular lesson plans that assist teachers with the practical and conceptual tools to expand physical education programming and assessment. A grade nine teacher provides perspective for the impact these tools had in his conception of assessing the alternative activity of climbing: “A lot of teachers use JungleSport (a school-based climbing program) as a participation activity. And this chart kind of brings the thinking and all of the different skills they bring to it to the forefront. So, until you came last year, it was just a fun activity the kids did. I didn’t really think of it any other way then. They had fun, they were active. Whereas now, this tool is putting a different spin on it.”

Future Goals: My next desired step is to add a pedagogical dimension to the Function2Flow model with the goal to provide more examples, through video-based research, of experienced physical education teachers cultivating positive, inclusive learning environments. Their experiences will be analyzed in terms of the movement dimensions of the F2F model and a movement-sensing, somatic language to access and describe optimal pedagogical relations will thus be generated.

The practical benefit of this research is that it will tangibly showcase examples of seasoned teachers in the field making positive connections with their students as they experience a vast array of physical activities. The conceptual benefit of this research is that it will offer further support for helping developing teachers depart from their mechanistic ways of conceiving movement in physical education and become more fluid and aligned with the tenets of embodied philosophy upon which the concept of physical literacy is based in their teaching practice.

Collaborators: The Function2Flow model was created through the combined efforts of Rebecca Lloyd PhD, and Stephen Smith, PhD.