The key roles and responsibilities of the PE teacher
QCA (2007) states that a range of activities is needed to be carried out in schools for pupils to become physically active learning new skills that will help with their personal development. It is important for students to understand skills and decision making and understanding how to improve. It is important to be educated in physical activity at a young age in order to carry on with a healthy life-style. Physical Education is not just important in the curriculum for sport it has social benefits too as working together in different roles prepares pupils for future careers. Secondary Physical Education teachers are at the heart of providing the foundations to deliver a good curriculum due to teaching in their own secondary school and also their partnered primary schools as there is a shortage of specialist PE teachers in primary schools (Green, 2008).
The Every Child Matters model states that there are five elements that every child has the right to experience. "stay safe, be healthy, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being" (The Association for Physical Education, 2008) schools throughout the country have a different intake of pupils with different needs whilst critiquing the national curriculum Green (2000) suggests that the National Curriculum does not account for what type of school and which pupils would be in your class therefore planning is highly important of every single PE lesson. Teacher have to be fully inclusive to provide for a wide range of abilities in their class, planning is of the upmost importance to provide a fully inclusive lesson (Block, 2002) Every Child Matters and this should be at the very centre of all planning and at the forefront of every Physical Education teachers minds (The Association for Physical Education, 2008).
Planning is paramount and is an important responsibility of any teacher because they must gain an understanding of what will actually occur during a lesson (Macfadyen and Bailey, 2002). However, it is argued that unforeseeable situations arise during physical education lessons therefore a teacher needs to have the skills to ‘think on the spot’ this is gained through experience (Green, 2008). This statement was supported by Macfadyen (2010) stating that planning in too much depth takes away an important teaching skill of improvisation. It is important to understand that planning provides an inclusive curriculum, without planning and differentiation this would simply not happen (Johnson, 2007). Teachers have to have the skill and be responsible for fully inclusive provision for a wide range of abilities in their class planning is of the upmost importance to provide this; however, it has been suggested that physical education teachers often lack the ability to adapt tasks to include SEN students (Block, 2002). This may be through a lack of experience as only in recent years many pupils with disabilities have been moving into mainstream schools and it is the duty of a PE teacher to provide equal opportunities for all participants (Fitzgerald, 2006 cited Green, 2008:187). This is supported by Lieberman and Huston-Wilson, (2002) who state that 93 percent of SEN children are based in mainstream schools. As teachers of PE we have to plan SEN pupils’ personnel and equipment. It has become apparent that some teachers in this country are not providing a fully inclusive curriculum with regards to SEN students (Block, 2002).
In relation to the increase of SEN students in mainstream schools statistics from National Centre for Educational Statistics (2005) states that in the last 30 years EAL students have increased in our schools by 161% (cited Causton-Theoharis et al., 2008: 382). Many EAL students have different cultures and attitudes toward PE that may prevent them from performing. It is therefore the responsibility of the P.E teacher to plan strategies and use communication skills to include EAL students. Another consideration for all teachers is providing for Gifted and Talented students. First the PE teacher needs the skill to identify a gifted student and then ways in which they can be kept engaged during lessons and promote them to elite sporting success (Bailey & Morley, 2010).
Even though it is positive that certain students with additional needs are catered for by preplanning there tends to be a negative effect on the majority of students in the class. This is because our attention as a teacher gets focused predominantly on the students with the additional needs (Causton-Theoharis, 2008).
Planning and risk assessment co-inside with one another in order provide a safe place to work (Macfadyen, 2010). Physical education teachers show high skills when risk assessment becomes routine practice (Shewry, 2008 cited Whitlam, 2010:173). PE teachers must see an event such as injury and danger before it takes place, furthermore physical education teachers must have the skills to prevent a risk without impeding on the students learning (Whitlam, 2010).
When pupils take part in practical Physical Education the environment should be safe to exercise and the activity should be carried out safely (Whitlam, 2010). With relation to the National Curriculum this provides students with the underlying knowledge to carry safe and effective exercise on their own away from the classroom (QCA, 2007).
An expected role of all teachers is that they are required to be reflective practitioners and evaluate on their own teaching and the learning of pupils as a means of ensuring the intended outcomes are met (Causton-Theoharis, 2008). In order to develop and deliver a curriculum that allows for all pupils to be included and make progress, it is the responsibility of the teacher to examine the needs of the pupils in their class and to adapt their lessons accordingly (Armour, 2010). The teachers with the most success are those who take it as their responsibility to act upon what happened during their class by using reflective strategies. The characteristics of the pupils could not be blamed such as behaviour due to home-life part by the way in which the teacher handles the class reflecting will improve the learning experience and curriculum delivery (James et al., 2007). Furthermore without reflective practice teacher will not gain experience to get across better teaching of the national curriculum (Keay, 2006).
Upon critiquing the National Curriculum, reflection is a very important responsibility of the PE teacher, as the teacher is still a learner. The National Curriculum states that evaluating and improving is a key process (QCA, 2007). All people should be able to analyse, evaluate and improve therefore teachers should demonstrate this to.
Assessments are a means of obtaining information to find out what level students have achieved. PE teachers need to have analysis skills such as observation to carry this out (Green, 2008). It is an ongoing and never ending process that PE teacher need to continuously develop throughout their career (Casbon and Spackman, 2005). There are two forms of assessment; summative and formative (Green, 2008). The debate has risen in resent modern day Physical Education arguing that teachers should move away from assessment of learning (summative) to assessment for learning (formative) this is because it gives to students a chance to act to improve (Frapewell, 2010).
The role of a PE teacher has no difference from any other subject on the National Curriculum with regards to assessment and of high importance to Physical Education (Green, 2008). Assessment for learning has shown that students are given better direction in knowing how to improve, however, the national curriculum within PE lessons does not cater for SEN pupils as teachers are not skilled enough to grade the pupils with SEN on the attainment target criteria (Smith and Green, 2004). This is supported by Lieberman & Houston-Wilson (2002) who state that PE teachers need to get speciaist advice from an adapted PE specalist before grading pupils, this therefore demonstrates a weakness in the national curriculum.
Frapwell (2010) demonstrates that one important skill needed for PE teachers is that of feedback which is communicating accurate analysis. Blankenship (2008) states this will ultimately help pupils understand what they need to achieve and how they need to act to achieve the outcome (QCA, 2007). Teachers should encourage peer assessment as the national curriculum states that pupils should be able to analyse performance and identify strengths and weaknesses (QCA, 2007). Therefore it is the role of a PE teacher to provide pupils with the skills necessary for them to peer assess. One theory that suggests positive and negative aspects of peer assessment is the competence motivational theory (Harter, 1981 cited Blankenship, 2008:153) which states that feedback from a peer significantly affects the pupils’ perceived competence. If the peer praises perceived competence will rise, if the pupil is criticised or ignored perceived competence will full.
Due to the advance of modern day technology and its affordability, the national curriculum has introduced ICT in the past ten year (Taylor, 2009). However it is debated that ICT should be a cross-curricular subject taught within other subjects as the 21st century world is dependent on it (Becta, 2003 cited Taylor, 2009:147). The National Curriculum for PE is inclusive of ICT as a way of improving performance (QCA, 2007). The use of ICT is also beneficial for pupils finding a role that best suits them in sport besides performing as well as evaluation of performance (QCA, 2007) this can be done by using ‘player cam’. As ICT is part of the National Curriculum, it is stated that PE teachers of modern education need to be ICT literate and have the skills and knowledge to use technology within their Physical Education lessons (Taylor, 2009). It was concluded by Bailey (2001) that ICT is awkward to use in PE lesson without careful planning and therefore the planning will allow for teachers to pick up the skills which they need.
As a Physical Education teacher you gain further knowledge by participating in sport yourself to improve skills and be responsible to obtain help from coaches and instructors that are more experienced especially in sports and activities the teacher is weak in and take their knowledge into your physical teaching practice. (Carle, 2010) This can help provide good teaching of the national curriculum as pupils have a chance of experiencing a range of activities giving them a greater chance to see what type of activity best suits them. If the teacher understands the sporting technique then pupils are able to refine their own (QCA, 2007). Teachers however, do not have a full understanding of the subject but must act with the best interests of their students (Armour, 2010). Bailey (2001) takes this idea one step further by stating teachers are forever developing subject knowledge, subject knowledge is not the most important skill having the ability to plan is the key to successful teaching.
Whilst delivering and planning for a Physical Education lesson Grossman (1990) suggests teachers need to understand four categories before teaching. They need to have an understanding of the topic, students understanding and performing in PE, how it relates the national curriculum and finally the strategies in which they can deliver the topic. However this was criticised by Green (2008) who stated that gaining experience of the teacher is more important.
One important knowledge skill of a PE teacher is health knowledge that is to be able to deliver to pupils within the school setting and applied. This knowledge must be up to date, accurate and not hyped up by the media (Armour, 2010). Schools are the first place that The Government can educate and promote Public Health and Physical Education Curriculum is seen to be an ideal place to start (Allensworth et al. 1997). This is supported by Sallis and McKenzie (1991) stating school physical education is seen as an ideal site for the promotion of regular physical activity. Moreover this is because schools already have a captive audience in the pupils Physical Education teacher have the responsibility to provide free of charge opportunities to educate children in health issues (Fox, 1992). One modern problem the nation faces and is the responsibility of PE teachers to tackle is obesity, physical education teacher can play in the treatment of obesity at school (Ward and Bar-Or, 1986)
The primary role of physical education is to develop the need for lifelong physical activity (NASPE, 2004: cited Blankenship, 2008:300). This was supported by Shephard and Trudeau (2000) as they consider the most important goal of PE is the long-term health of students. Health related exercise the area of the curriculum which includes the teaching of
knowledge, understanding, physical competence and behavioural skills, this is aimed for pupils to understand and create a desire to carry out a healthy life style and be confident to continue participation in physical activity (Harris, 2000). Health related teaching is now an established and statutory component of the National Curriculum for PE in England this there for states it is a legal responsibility of a PE teacher (Carle, 2000). Furthermore, if teachers have the skills to create a positive impact on their pupil during lessons then life-long participation maybe created (Carle, 2000).
The Social Learning theory by Bandura (1978) states that students model the behaviour of their teachers and copy reinforced behaviours social learning theory by Bandura (1978). Role modelling as a PE teacher is seen to be an essential skill for PE teachers to attract pupils to participate in life-long physical activity, this is supported by Hopper (2005) shows that primary school teachers tend to push pupils away from Physical Education however secondary school teachers have the specialist personal qualities to deliver the curriculum. The discussion continues Green (2008) stating that showing their love and passion for sport will attract children to continue sport, this applies to a national curriculum aim. In opposition having a love of the sport is not enough teachers need to gain the respect of the students building confidence, social skills, and self-esteem by role modelling in this way students will be more willing to access the curriculum opportunities (Comer 1988). One problem PE teachers experience is communication and therefore becoming friendly with the pupils this leads to discipline issues rather than positive role modelling (Bailey, 2001). This was supported Larson (2006) stating a number of personal qualities have also been associated with it teacher such as enthusiasm, sense of humour, approachability, patience, impartiality, open-mindedness, empathy, ability to be a good communicator and organiser and also be caring towards pupils.
A good way in which PE teachers create inter-personal relationships is through extra-curricular clubs (Bailey, 2001). one responsibility of the PE teacher is to provide extracurricular clubs by providing the opportunity before school at lunchtimes and after-school (Green, 2008) the national curriculum states that people should be given the opportunity to participate in and beyond school (QCA, 2007) Physical Education has a place within schools as it is a way in which social cohesion can be brought about as we see the behaviour of pupils improving within the School and social community (Armour, 2010). Furthermore the study by Green (2000) states that a role of the PE teacher it is to promote the social skills during their lessons. Green (2000) suggests this is an unwritten part of the national curriculum however open to critiquing the national curriculum in our state that social well-being is an important outcome of physical education.
To conclude it has come apparent that planning is the fundamentals that underpin all the roles and responsibilities of a PE teacher. However reflection is a key responsibility so teachers are able to plan and improve their delivery of the national curriculum. It has become clear from the research highlighted that the main role of Physical education in the nation curriculum is to provide a healthy life style which pupils can use in their adult life and to promote social well being for pupils to become good citizens.
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