CASE STUDY: ‘Supporting Victorian Sport and Recreation’ (SVSR) Program
Building community links and competency in quality Health and Physical Education (HPE) using a themed-based approach to teaching Physical Education is vital to student success and long term engagement in sport and active recreation.
ACHPER Victoria received funding from Sport and Recreation Victoria as part of the ‘Supporting Victorian Sport and Recreation’ (SVSR) program to encourage children in Victorian primary schools to be more active at school and within the community by exposing them to a greater range of activities. A major focus of the project has been to connect the education and sport sectors and to highlight how they can collaborate to promote and encourage children to participate in sport and physical activity at school and within their local community.
The emphasis of this project has been to teach thematic units in the school Physical Education curriculum, rather than individual sports. For example, an eight-week Invasion Games unit, with a specific focus on Netball, AFL and Football. The thematic units have focused on three different sports and aimed at students in Years 3-6. Within these units, students have been taught the skills and game concepts and strategies through participation in a range of games and activities, with a focus on the use of small-sided modified games Sample questions, differentiation and assessment ideas have been incorporated into these units, with clear links made to the Victorian Curriculum. Throughout these units, students have been encouraged to link the similarities and differences between different sports to understand that if they can play one sport, they can apply the same skills and game strategies to play similar sports.
Where possible, we have engaged coaches from local sport clubs (from the sports focused on in the unit) to co-deliver sessions in the PE class with the PE teacher, to create authentic links between the school and club. Students have been provided with additional information about ongoing pathways for them at the local club and information has been sent to parents.
Recently, we spoke with a Victorian teacher who is participating in our SRV project and asked them to let us know how they found the program. Here’s what they had to say:
What were the positive aspects of the program?
“(The) timing of the sports, before and during the season. For example, we taught the Invasion Games unit in Term One. This worked well for the local clubs as they came in to co-deliver just as they were preparing teams for the upcoming season. This also worked well for interschool sport as the students had just completed a unit before the interschool competition started the following term. For example, the Invasion Games unit was taught Term One and these sports were played at interschool sport in Term Two. The Striking unit was taught in Term Three and Cricket and Tennis were played as interschool sports in Term Four.”
“The units of work were fantastic – I loved everything about the units – the activities, the learning intentions and success criteria, ideas for differentiation – everything about the units made it easy to implement. Connecting to the local sports clubs was the greatest benefit to my school community – particularly with my Years 3/4 students.”
“Through this program I have seen the positive influence having coaches from local clubs co-deliver sessions during PE class as it has encouraged children in my classes to take up a sport outside of school. I have had four children participate in a Sunday badminton session at the local club as a direct result of this program. If there is a child who hasn’t found their sport yet, this is a great way of exposing them to new opportunities.”
How well do you think this program impacted students’ engagement?
“My students definitely learnt more about game tactics and strategies than they ever have before. I was more focused on this in my teaching. They were learning the tactics and strategies whilst still practicing the skills and this increased their engagement. I think the use of small sided game and self-umpiring was better for students to learn the rules – this enabled the students to have better cooperative skills, play fairly and follow the rules – an important part of the Movement and Physical Activity strand of the Victorian Health and Physical Education Curriculum.”
“I think this style of teaching better suited my higher achieving students. They were very engaged and became leaders as they were taking on peer teaching roles with lesser skilled students, helping them with skills and game play.”
How well do you think the sessions impacted students’ skill level?
“... this program increased my students’ skill level as they were continually practising the skills in the context of the game. The differentiation in the units allowed me to challenge my more skilled students and make the game easier for my lower skilled students by changing one or more of the game constraints (particularly equipment and rules).”
How will this experience impact the way you teach?
"I previously taught single sports and didn’t make explicit links between these different sports. Teaching by themes and linking different sports to the one unit makes sense as it is important for students to see the link between the sports and understand their skills are transferable.”
“Repeated practice of the skills in a game context is really important for student learning. I found in the Striking Unit, I was continually reinforcing the same teaching points when striking with the different implements and the students understood this. The theme-based approach allowed for repeated striking practice over the term and I think the students’ skills improved as a result.”
To date, the SRSV Project has been effective in raising our awareness of the challenges schools and teachers face when trying to implement co-delivered programs with links to local communities. It has also highlighted the positive impact of such programs when these challenges can be overcome. On completion of this project the theme-based units of work will be made available as well as tools to assist with effective engagement between schools and community sport clubs.
To learn more about the program and to how to get your school involved, feel free to contact your peak body for more information!