NZPETeachercast Episode 1 – The disengaged student

In the very first episode of NZPETeachercast, I describe my reasons for launching and introduce the format for the show. I’ll be sharing a recent challenge, success and a new app I find useful in my teaching. Today I discuss the challenges of a disengaged student, my success within the Sport in Education approach to learning and the app Google Keep.

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Episode 1: The Disengaged Student
Duration: [00:17:07]
Carl Condliffe: You're listening to the NZ PE Teachercast! A podcast sharing some of the inspirational stories from amazing health and physical education teachers.
Today's episode is sponsored by My Study Series, an online learning platform by New Zealand PE teachers for New Zealand PE teachers and their students. Check it out now at
Kia Ora everyone and welcome to the very first
episode of NZ PE Teachercast, a podcast about real PE teaching I guess. It's an opportunity for me to share some ideas and really the best part about it is we get to get some fantastic physical educators onto the show, hear their story and get to see what they're do in their classroom around physical education and stuff like that.
There's two reasons I wanted to start this podcast. First of all I feel that as physical educators we don't really network enough, we're consumed by what we do, we teach a lot. If we're not teaching we're outside of the classroom coaching, managing teams with this big extracurricular focus. So that concept with networking with other teachers in our learning areas outside of our school just kind of gets put on the back foot a little bit. We get burdened down by assessment and administrative tasks
I think, since I started my teaching career there just seems to be more and more admin that we have to do and that's, that makes getting in touch with other educators really difficult. So I think this concept of networking, it's a really key component of being able to reflect and learn on our current teaching practice. So this is my way I guess of reaching out and networking with more physical educators.
So I've had this really, really good online presence that I've built over the last few years and it's allowed me to have some really fantastic discussions with teachers around technology and physical education and stuff like that. So I want to continue that but on a much larger scale and I think by having this podcast and being able to put it out on a regular basis I'm going to achieve that.
Second reason that I wanted to release this podcast is that we have some amazingly fantastic PE teachers just doing some things that are really cutting edge and we don't
hear these stories. Like I said we get consumed by our own teaching practice and we don't get the opportunity to hear other people's stories and these stories need to be told. So hopefully as the podcast grows we'll get more teachers on board and more educators will enter, jump in and share their stories.
At this point in time the podcast is going to air or be released fortnightly and once a month or so every second podcast we're going to have a new guest on the podcast to just have a chat and interview and share their story. We've got some really great teachers lined up to chat with, I'm really looking forward to bringing their stories to all of you out there.
When there isn't a guest on the podcast it's just going to be me and I plan on focusing my discussion around three areas really, the first is going to be a challenge that I've had in my teaching during the last month or so and I don't plan on sugarcoating it or talking about how I successful dealt with what that challenge
might have been. I just want to say how it is. Maybe you as listeners will have some suggestions that might help, maybe not. I'm really not too sure what to expect. So basically it's just giving me a nice little platform to ramble about stuff. Hopefully it's not going to be all negative, but that's the next section. Excuse me.
I want to share a success I've had in the last month. Something, a success or something that I'm grateful for as simple as that. I think it's great to share those little ones that we have because it's those little ones that keep us going during week 9 or 10 of a long term and we've had a couple of those already. Thankfully this term is a little bit shorter, that's if I even get this podcast released this term, term three that is by the way.
Finally I'm going to end on sharing a technology or app or device or something that's helping me
in the classroom. So if nothing else comes from listening to the podcast, at least once a month you'll have a new app or website or something that you can just have a whirl on. So that's really the gist of what I'm trying to do here. I hope that people find that beneficial.
My school is right next to an airport so I don't know if you can hear that plane taking off. I need to invest, I think this week I'm going to invest in a new mic so hopefully the next few podcasts will be a little bit better. It's also raining so I'm not sure if you can hear that as well, but we'll just take it all in our stride. So let's kick it off.
So there's this challenge that I've had for most of the year, it's kind of gotten, as we've move into term three it's gotten harder and harder and harder to deal with. So I have a unit standard course which is, it's targeted a senior students who haven't really or haven't met the prerequisites for PE.
That might be achieving say 12/14 credits whatever at level one. So they haven't met the prerequisites for the course which means we get quite a wide range of learners in this course. Now some of those learners for them, this course provides a real good pathway for them, they can see the direction it's taking them, they can see it aligns with their goals and what they want to do and they can see that link through to tertiary education for them. But for others and I'm sure this is common in all schools was alternate pathway phys ed courses. It just becomes a dumping ground. No matter what you say to your deans or your principal or other teachers they always see a course like this as an opportunity to place a kid who's not having much success elsewhere. To me, that's cool,
I don't mind that too much because I love working with these kids and really getting students to step outside of their comfort zone. But this one student I've had, he doesn't really want to be here, he's not interested in the work and would rather sit and do nothing. He's completely disengaged but on the other hand he doesn't want to leave school. He wants to be here and I think his parents want him to be here, so it makes it really challenging to the point where I've sat him down and he's said to me look I don't want to do the work and I'm not going to do the work. I just want to sit here and do nothing. I don't want to be in this class but I'm here. I appreciate that, now I understand that but there's also a bit of responsibility for the student to actually engage with the lesson and that's where the problem is. He inadvertently draws other students away from the lesson, which to me is unacceptable and it's becoming a real battle for me in the classroom.
Now on one had I'm trying to engage these learners who are active and want to learn. I'm trying to
balance that with students who really don't want to learn or don't want to be in that course. So over the years, or over the year I've tried a few things with him, I've tried paring him up with active, engaged students to complete group work. So really putting him with the stunning students who can pull him along and show him a bit of guidance. I've modified tasks for him. So I've tried to make things a little bit more achievable or a little bit more exciting. I've lowered expectations around gear etc. and trying to remove those excuses and barriers that he has each period.
I have seen one success with him and that was through the use of a gamified approach where we have a leader board in this class and it's linked to social responsibility. So every lesson the get
to, they get a point value that they can negotiate with me in the sense that if I, or we'll have done the three out of four they can come and say well sir I feel I'm at a four and here's why and we can negotiate that, that score. It's a really cool opportunity and it's all visual and the kids can see it and they can see what other students have got. As part of that there's a reward system built in, that's the game account, having that reward there.
The one time I had breakthrough with him he saw another student get a reward which was I think, they got a terms free weights club membership. So he saw that and realized hey maybe I could do this or apply myself a bit more and he said sir can I participate today, I don't have any gear but I really want to jump in. It was awesome and he did that and I got some really good progress from him for a couple of weeks. But
that really, didn't last. It was short lived which was disappointing.
So I'm at a loss with him right now. It's really hard not to have this deficit approach to the student and rather keep looking at what I can change in my teaching that can bring about some progress for him, so that's a bit of a challenge because at the end of the day I just want to see him succeed, I want him to have some success, I want him to move onto bigger and better things. But it's hard, it's really challenging.
Onto the wins now. One here I'm really enjoying here at the moment is collaborating with other teachers. We're a sport in education school, which is a fantastic opportunity for us and if you don't know what sport in education it's a cross curricular approach to learning in a sporting context.
So we have two year nine classes, each of those year nine classes has their maths, science, English, and PE
work collaboratively and it's integrated and it's all in all sporting context. So we spend a lot of time planning out our units and at any one time, for example this term has been the Olympics so all of the lessons in each learning area are closely linked together and it just makes for a really authentic experience for the students and it brings about better engagement and a lot of fun for the students.
This group, or this one class I've been working with the teachers, it's just been so much fun learning about other subject areas and seeing my class interact with different teachers because we do a bit of observation and just being able to reflect on my own approaches with them after seeing these teachers interact with them as well.
So we've had some really good discussions as a group and I'm absolutely sold on this cross curricular approach, I think it's just fantastic and we're seeing some really good results. So I'm keen to see it happen at level one but that's going to take some serious planning and right now it could be a little bit too
much for a group to take on. We've got some planning sessions coming up soon so we'll see how we get on there.
But I really enjoy it and I think there's a lot of information out there on the Sport NZ website and Celia Fleck who hopefully most of you know on Twitter has a strong presence within that Sport in Education model and she was one of the pilot schools involved and now she has some direct involvement and working with schools in the program. So you should check out Celia on Twitter.
But it's, there's some really cool things coming out of it from other schools and each school has their own unique approach to it and every school is different. So we, the way we do it is a lot different to say Wainuiomata who are in it as well and Aotea College, we're all having this different approach. But at the end of the day we're all seeing positive results from it. So check it
out, that's sport in education if it's something that you're interested in or what to learn more about.
The piece of technology that I want to mention today is this really cool application called Google Keep. So you can check it out at It's a fantastic note taking application which I feel is just a must have for teachers. Really, it's the ultimate note keeping app.
What I like about it is it's web based as well as on IOS or Android and it syncs across all devices. Now most of the bigger note taking apps tend to really have an app based presence and I hate typing on my iPad, it's such a pain in the ass. But the fact that this is web based as well and then syncs across those devices I can take my notes, because I'm always thinking stuff up and if I don't write something down then I lose that idea, whether it's something for my level three class or something I need to do for the shopping
tomorrow, whatever. I've been able to jump on something and bang it out. It's really important for me anyway.
So some of the cool features it has, it's got voice recording and transcriptions, so if you are driving or something and you don't want to pull your phone out and type which you shouldn't, that's naught, you can activate the voice recording and it will transcribe what you say.
I've found that it's generally pretty good, a couple of typos every now and then but that's quite good. Or if I'm not by a desktop or a laptop and I want to put down a big chunk or a big idea that I don't really want to type on the device you can use that, the voice recording and transcription.
There's a labeling system, the screen actually features, it looks like you're putting post-it notes, so it's dumping post it notes on the screen and it has a
labeling system so you can then label each of those and you have some categories down the side for those labels, so if you, if I'm doing, writing some information about a podcast interview or something or level three work I'll label it as level three or podcasting and if I want to look at all those notes related to that I just hit the category or the label and it brings up all of those.
It has an inbuilt to-do list which is cool. I'm all for proactivity and a to-do list I use every day, I think it's one of the best things you can use particularly in a job like ours where it's just non-stop and hectic all the time. So it has this great to-do list built in. Has notifications and reminders so if you want to schedule an alarm for something, for a note that you've put down or an action you want to take on something then you can do that as well.
So that's, that's Google Keep. For some reason it doesn't seem to have gotten much press or
it doesn't have much visual presence around that whole Google apps domain. I don't now where I stumbled across it but I used it every day and it's fantastic. So check it out, I think you'll really like and it has some really good uses in teaching.
So that's it for the first NZ PE Teachercast. What are we at, we're at 15 minutes, that's probably the 15-20 minute mark is where I was aiming for. I really hope you've taking at least one thing from today. If you haven't maybe our next guest on the show will provide some motivation or insight for you and that's Kelly Ross from Tarawera High School. They are doing some fantastic things with modern day new environments and she's got a really great story to tell. We had a lot of fun in the interview. She's an amazing teacher and I can't wait to get that podcast up as well. So make sure you check out that next episode.
I really appreciate you taking the time to check this out, I hope that, I really hope you took something from it. Thanks.



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About Me

Carl Condliffe is a Health and PE teacher passionate about using technology to create authentic and meaningful learning experiences for his students.

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