Following a very successful visit to National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in Taipei – August 2018, where I presented sessions on physical literacy to the 250 delegates at their Teaching Symposium, the university managed to access government funds to consider the future direction for physical education in the country. A select group of 80 teachers was chosen by the lead team from NTNU and they invited me back to start a process of reflection and planning. Initially I spent some time looking at schools, meeting the teachers and talking to the children to get a sense of what PE was currently like in Taiwan. Essentially, PE teachers had taught quite traditionally with a formal warm up, skill teaching followed by game activities if time permitted. There was a perception that the children had not been engaged with this approach so the new approach became make PE fun! Different activities being taught each week meant that the children did not get bored with one activity and playing lots of games allowed the children to manage their sessions based around game time. Increasingly, however, there has become a realisation that this approach limited learning and development therefore a number of senior lecturers were looking for an alternative approach to teaching PE. It was timely that I was able to present eight sessions on physical literacy during the August 2018 Symposium and talk to the Senior Lecturers and teachers in between sessions. It became obvious that they were starting to consider if physical literacy could be the focus they were looking for to drive developments in PE. A number of students and lecturers were undertaking research into physical literacy and their increasing understanding of the concept supported a desire to pursue a physical literacy focus through PE.
Accessing funds from the government allowed the lead team to select 80 experienced and innovative teachers who they felt would be able to appreciate the concept and trial a modified approach to teaching PE. If successful then this could be rolled out to other teachers and schools. An initial two day workshop allowed the teachers to reflect on their current practice and then consider the philosophy, content, pedagogy and assessment related to a physical literacy approach to physical education. The workshop was challenging in relation to the language barrier, but fortunately Henry Chen was an excellent interpreter (and leader of the initiative) and so the double act worked very well.
Linked to the work with the teachers, there was a desire to share the concept with a wider audience and five keynote sessions were organised at various universities throughout the island where on average between 80 – 100 teacher, lecturer and students attended each session. The presentations were very well received and question and answer sessions provided rich discussions at each venue. A follow up session with the select teachers group allowed a consideration of the issues involved in moving the whole process forwards. The lecturers, teachers and students were very appreciative and hospitable on all occasions and there was a clear intention to maintain a focus on physical literacy in future developments within PE. The IPLA have been invited back out to continue this work with Dwayne and Sonia Sheehan providing examples of best practice teaching for both primary and secondary aged children at sessions in April/May 2019. Dwayne also presented two keynote sessions at universities in Taiwan. We hope the relationship continues to grow and look forward to our colleagues from Taiwan attending the IPLA conference in June 2019. A selection of pictures below:
Physical Literacy: A new focus for PE –Teacher Workshop
Teachers and pupils at a school Teachers and Lecturers Select Group
Teachers Workshop – IPLA Video Teachers Workshop – Assessment Matrix
Teachers Workshop – Mosston’s Spectrum Teachers Workshop – Comfort/Stretch/Panic
Teachers Workshop – Teaching Strategies Teachers Workshop – Lesson Examples
University Keynote The way forwards
Aboriginal School Activities:
Bamboo pole climbing Spear Throwing at a target