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The other day I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Nick Hitt from the Ivybridge Community College in Devon, UK about how he and his colleague Andy Taylor have moved towards a movement-based curriculum at their school. Far from this being a temporary or ‘quick-fix’ solution, the effort to focus on what is appropriate and meaningful for growing children is to be applauded. Nick has been kind enough to send through the written details of the curriculum and I have used some example sections in this dialogue. To see another professional willing to share is heartening, and he and his colleagues join the ever-increasing number of practitioners who are making the leap towards a more appropriate journey for young people.
All of you immersed in ‘high performance’ and who continue to wonder why the technical, tactical, physical and behavioural standards you seek are more difficult to achieve than you expected, should look at these initiatives for the answers. What has gone before will heavily influence what is yet to come.
In essence the journey sees the students immersed in processes where they actually ‘own’ the outcomes by not only learning movements and foundation actions but by seeing the relevance to warm-up and skill acquisition. The underlying foundation movements of Squat, Lunge, Pull, Push, Brace, Rotate, Hinge and Landing are explored and applied into the foundation actions of Running, Jumping, Throwing, Kicking, Catching, Striking (and all other locomotion, non-locomotion and manipulative skills). Finally there is the application of all these fundamentals into some appropriate games and relays.
It is clear that by allowing the learning to extend to the Why? elements the students will take with them to adulthood a better chance of continuing with physical activity as they will have developed some understanding of the underlying factors. For example, there is a very smart and effective element devoted to understanding the warm-up (one of the poorest taught parts of any training session).
They are presented with the language and vocabulary of physical activity from a biological standpoint (HR, RPE, RAMP) which again increases the chance of a better understanding of the role and benefits of physical activity. By including numeracy and ICT links to the learning, the journey remains relevant and in context to today’s lifelong education objective.
This is a fine example of how an organisation can move away from the failing ‘competitive games-based’ curriculum towards a movement-based one. Thank goodness for practitioners like Nick and his team who no longer wait for the PE decision-makers to question their assumptions but who grasp the nettle and move forward.
I am indebted to so many practitioners who get in touch and share their efforts. I have always been convinced that there is never only one way of doing anything and therefore never stop learning from the unique interpretations I see. I am sure that Nick and the crew at Ivybridge will be able to offer even more details should you see fit to contact them.
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