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NZPETeachercast Episode 10 – Authentic learning through a Sport Ed model

In the 10th episode of the NZPETeachercast we have Andrew O’neill from Middleton Grange School. I met Andrew at PENZ conference earlier in the year and we bumped into each other again at the PENZ Inspired Leadership Programme here in Wellington. Andrew and his team are having huge success using a Sport Education approach with 1.4. We talk about this authentic approach to learning as well as discuss a few small successes as we move into the second year of a report format of PE Scholarship.

Andrew’s resources:

Rippa Rugby Franchise Powerpoint

Rippa Rugby CEO Spreadsheet

Game Day Cards

Game Expenses

If you have any questions you can get in touch with Andrew by emailing him at

Music by Bensound

Read Full Transcript

Episode 10- Authentic Learning through a Sport Ed
Duration: [00:37:59] Andrew O’Neill The kids when they came off, off the game, out of the game they were buzzing about it, they went this is so cool, this is awesome oh I didn't realize that all this kind of stuff was taken into account. So to me that's valuable learning.
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
[00:01:00] Carl Condliffe: Kia Ora everyone we're here with Andrew O'Neill from Middleton Grange School and it's been a fairly hectic week in Wellington and of course up in the South Island with the earthquake, so it's made for an interesting couple of days, been a lot of evacuations around Wellington, but we've been getting buy we're just down at Gas Works down in Wellington, if you know Gas Works it's a nice little pub and restaurant. We've just finished up at PENZ inspired leadership program which has been a nice little two day program where we've been looking at few leadership things and hearing from some great presenters. So it's been quite good with that so, Andrew welcome to the podcast.
Andrew O’Neill Thank you.
Carl Condliffe: Before we get started can you just tell us a little bit about your teaching background and experience and a few tidbits about your
[00:02:00] school and the students you teach, Middleton Grange School right?
Andrew O’Neill Yup, Middleton Grange, yup.
Carl Condliffe: I'd never heard of it until I email you, and I admit we met at PENZ.
Andrew O’Neill We met at PENZ, yup that's where it all started with the scholarship stuff. Okay, so I'm Andrew, I'm, this is I'm just finishing off my 24th year of teaching, haven't been teaching all of my life either. I went through the Big ED PE program, I was one of the first, in the first year intake of the whole program, yeah so that was pretty cool. Kind of like forging the way there and really wanted a job in Christchurch but that didn't happen, so I ended up getting a job in Invercargill of all places. So went down there and with my wife and two kids thinking I'll get my registration in two years and then get back to Christchurch but twelve years later and two extra kids we finally got here.
So I'm at 24 years
[00:03:00] of teaching. I've been involved in volleyball pretty much all the way through. I think the highlights for me in that time have been when I was at Hargest and our senior boys’ team won the div II nationals that was a pretty big achievement for a team from Invercargill. In Christchurch I did a bit of volleyball, I've done volleyball there too and I think the best achievement that I've really enjoyed is seeing the boys in 2010 win the South Island, so that's pretty cool. Although I've been involved in volleyball that long squash is actually my passion, that's what I really enjoy so I quite enjoy the fact that I'm involved in that capacity but also I can get out of the school environment and do something for myself, that kind of stuff.
Carl Condliffe: Tried playing squash once. Once.
Andrew O’Neill And?
Carl Condliffe: My glutes, gone, gone. Couldn't walk the next day.
Andrew O’Neill Do it again and they'll come around. So yeah then I got a curriculum leader's position
[00:04:00] at Middleton so I've been there for twelve years. Middleton's a state integrated school and it's from new entrant right through to year thirteen. It's about 1300 people there and it's, the way it's organized it's got primary school, it's got a middle school, years seven to ten, senior college year eleven through to thirteen and an international college as well. So yeah, it's fairly complex but it's a lot of fun and a bit of a challenge in some ways to actually get the program running. The makeup of the school, it's about 65% European, 17% Asian and 10% Maori/Pacifica.
Carl Condliffe: What's the size of the senior school? So, not the senior school but the secondary component of the school, what's the numbers there?
Andrew O’Neill So we're just about 550. In that we've got, as far as next year's concerned we've got eleven, sorry year eleven we've got three PE classes coming
[00:05:00] in, we've got two at year twelve and two at year thirteen, yeah.
Carl Condliffe: That's pretty good, very similar to where I'm at. So we're here at the Inspired Leadership program for PENZ, two days it's been pretty good minus the one afternoon session, it was okay we could take some stuff from that. But what's been the best takeaway for you so far across the two days?
Andrew O’Neill Well there's actually been quite a lot of takeaways and to me it's a real challenge to now go back and actually just think about how we can integrate a whole lot of stuff. To me I've come up with like two ideas, I wanted to see pretty much how we can incorporate within our program, integration across the different curriculum areas and how we can link that all together knowing that there will be challenges but I'm up to that, I'm quite okay and we'll just take it bit by bit.
So Shay's chat about all the integration of stuff and I think like for me
[00:06:00] the biggest thing was to really hear about where is the 21st century going for students going out into the workplace and so how are we going to prepare them and just the whole idea of the key competencies kind of things working through our program is being, that's what employers are actually wanting in their future employees, so designing a course around that kind of stuff.
Carl Condliffe: Helen Tuhoro said it, she said it really nicely around how they haven't thrown out the curriculum but that has become less of a focus for them and then more about those key competencies because they are what employers want and they are what we should be striving our kids to be able to demonstrate off the back of the hand without even thinking about it because there's some good stuff in there. So I think, for me I really, I'd done a little bit of research around Tarawera High School because we've had Kali Ross on the podcast and hearing Helen and getting to hear her in person was for me it was just awesome.
Andrew O’Neill It was also,
[00:07:00] you could just sense the passion and the enthusiasm and what came through to me was very much a real heart for actually moving the students through but in a sense for the students themselves to know that they're really important and the whole person, whole order was coming through quite clearly which was cool.
Carl Condliffe: She had people crying, she had people crying.
Andrew O’Neill Yeah, it's pretty awesome eh, yeah, yeah.
Carl Condliffe: I mean that's going to be my new goal, next time I present is I want to make someone cry but--
Andrew O’Neill For the right reasons of course.
Carl Condliffe: Yeah. So I think a good couple days.
Andrew O’Neill Yeah totally.
Carl Condliffe: Definitely next year however it pans out I encourage people to get along to that if you are thinking about middle leadership or being a leader because it's, just even the networking is really good. I put a lot of faces to names over the last two days which was cool. So I'm stoked with that. So we're really
[00:08:00] here to talk about this unique approach that you've got in your level one course, which I know sounds like you're doing more than trying to me. But you've got this quite cool sporty type model around, is it 1.4 you're doing. Tell us all about that, I've got a few questions.
Andrew O’Neill Sure, yeah. So when we started up we kind of like, we went through with the students that we'd look at some different options, so while the criteria shows quite a few different influences and themes that you can look at we wanted to kind of narrow it back a little bit because what we are trying to do within our program is get that social-cultural perspectives going right through and scaffolding, so we don't want to, at level one through heaps at them, so kind of like let's just narrow the focus down so they get a real grasp behind what they're actually looking at.
[00:09:00] So some sports were selected that gave a variety. So we looked at modified lacrosse, we looked at Zumba, and we got a guy in who runs a skateboarding/rollerblading job so the kids got out there and trialed a whole lot of that kind of stuff. Then the final part we did was with a rugby franchise tournament, yeah.
Carl Condliffe: So a franchise tournament, so you’re looking at having owners and stuff like that, how did that pan out?
Andrew O’Neill So our focus was on the media as an influence and themes kind of like sponsorship and commodification within how the media and sport were operating. So this was kind a bit of a, it wasn't a last minute adaptation to the program but it was something we'd thought about back in like a couple weeks
[00:10:00] leading into the program and you're sitting there, let's try this, let's give it ago, let's no worry too much about getting it right at the start but give the kids a real sense of well actually this is a little bit more of the realism behind what's actually happening out there in society for them.
So the way we set it up was we had, we got four teams and so we and the other teacher Andrea Gort what we did was we set it up so that we had a group of students who were what we considered the better players, the better sportsman and women in the group to actually be put into a pool that became the draft players. So we set teams up, we have CEO in each team, we had two managers and we had a captain and then so they were set, so we set them up. So the key idea was when we're putting these teams together we made sure that they were even. So
[00:11:00] we want a balance so that when they came together there's real competition going on. So we did that, so we set it up.
Carl Condliffe: So you already had some part of the teams formed and you guys formed that.
Andrew O’Neill We set that form yeah because if you left it to them there would be a lot out of imbalance and we suck as a team and that kind of stuff.
Carl Condliffe: Actually a good tip because we've done something similar but we went from scratch they could pick but the only way to do it to get competitive teams was I had to group the students in each round so then all of a sudden they're good kids, no they're in the good kid group and you're the crap kids now you're in the crap kids group and I had to do a bit of warning around that but a still a kid is grouped with the crap kids, that's not a good message to send, so I like the way that you've done it.
Andrew O’Neill Yeah, so we did that, then we got them into the classroom and we showed them the teams and then we showed them what the draft players were and who they were and of course there's the old ripple effect of ooh
[00:12:00] that kind of stuff. So it was quite cool. So what we said then is right there's going to be a silent auction of three rounds. But it's the CEOs and managers only that could be in the silent action, oop silent auction sorry. So we flicked the others and said alright come prepared for some physical activity, we bring them into the gym so they could be active, they are doing that and then what we did is we showed the CEOs and the managers who the pool of players were that they could bring into the team. So having done that, and giving them time they could discuss and see who were the ones that they wanted in their teams and that kind of stuff.
Carl Condliffe: So was it like a combine of they could see these guys in action.
Andrew O’Neill No, no, no it was kind of like, so we'll talk about that later on how it went but this was kind of like first up right at the beginning they were just going to pull these players in based on how they fit, how they good they do, kind of stuff. So that silent auction worked, they loved
[00:13:00] it, the kids it and they spent, so we gave them all 12 million dollars at the start.
Carl Condliffe: 12 million, that's a good budget.
Andrew O’Neill Yeah, so they had 12 million, 12 mil to start with and even the CEO and the two managers, the captain, they were set costs for them so that came out of the 12 mil. Then from what was left they had to buy these players in but they also had to think down the track that okay there's going to be a round robin and after the round robin there's going to be another transfer, wouldn't they. So they had their teams that they played a full round robin in and then they had the opportunity of going back in and saying oh well actually we want to buy this player instead of--
Carl Condliffe: Then they need to leave some money?
Andrew O’Neill So it's, yeah we'll talk a little bit more about that too. But as the first round robin went what happened was
[00:14:00] it gave them the opportunity to actually see how their players operated or when they come up against the opposite they knew who the draft players were on the other team so they could watch them as well and actually see how they operated.
So in that first round, the way we set it up. So we put a spreadsheet together that basically all the CEOs had to do was to put the value of the money in. So for the players bought they just put it in the sales and where they went, but for each game what we did and it's not perfect yet but what we did was we, so teams were allocated home or away games and so there would be expenses for a home game versus an anyway game, so that was all set up for different things, if you were a home game for example you had to supply theoretically two refs, if you're an away game you supplied the third ref which is the video ref kind of thing, so we just
[00:15:00] kind of mocked it up like that.
Carl Condliffe: They had, there was costs associated with that?
Andrew O’Neill There were cost associated they had to cover, and then there were uniform costs and stuff like that.
Carl Condliffe: That's really cool, that's what I'm hearing is that's quite unique like sport ed has being quite popular in the two schools that I've taught in but not to the level like we might have, okay yeah you're the away team you got to provide the refs but there's never been that monetary value attached but that's what you're trying to teach around the sponsorship and the media and what these teams have to experience.
Andrew O’Neill So even though there was those kinds of costs they actually played the game without refs, so everybody was involved. So it was just that theoretical thing, they had uniform costs, they had other costs for example if you had a home game well you had an entertainment cost that you had to pay. So if you had a home game you invariably had more cost but what we did to mix that up was
[00:16:00] that it wasn't, they weren't set costs for each home game or away game so we set up cards that had different costs and the CEOs would come and draw out of the hat a different card. So for one home game they might have had to pay more in entertainment than in another kind of thing. So the costs were varying all the time just to do that kind of thing.
Then we also had play game cards and so that was another card that came out and it could have been things like this player's injured so they're off for two minutes or whatever like that or foul weather comes through your costs that you're going to putting it on has diminished heaps or your spectators haven't come as a result of that. So there were all those kinds of costs so you either had good ones or bad ones so that was just what had to go and it was a bit of the luck of the draw that became part of the cost positive or negative for that
[00:17:00] round. So and again if they won, I think they got a million dollars if they'd lost, or if they drew half a million and if they lost they got nothing. So the competitive edge was still there, it was that whole idea of well within a franchise we want to win kind of stuff.
Carl Condliffe: It's got some really close links to, not gamification but there's a lot of video games around sports team management and they've got to manage ticket sales and earn from that and they've got to think well why ticket sales are poor I need to put more vendors to supply good food and alcohol and managing budgets and player budgets and are your players happy and stuff like that. So how did you, with these cards that they would draw out or some of those other things, how did you tie them back in terms of linking to the requirements of the standard or
[00:18:00] the understanding around that sponsorship in the media and the impact on that, how did it link back to the theory?
Andrew O’Neill So we had done some theory beforehand to give them an idea as to how the impact on media and the franchising of teams incurred so they actually, they had that all understood before the actual game time. So when they came into it they could actually relate, make real kind of stuff. As far as linking back to the criteria, that's an area we want to work on, we haven't got it totally sorted yet as far as gathering data for evidence and things. At the moment, because it was a last minute thing we didn't get that tied up properly but we've already been talking a little bit about what we want to do for next year.
Carl Condliffe: But that's alright, you don't want to, I hate teaching to the assessment.
Andrew O’Neill What I found, and what I'm thinking of is the kids, when they came off,
[00:19:00] off the game, out of the game, they were buzzing about it. They were, this is so cool, this is awesome. Oh I didn't realize that all this kind of stuff was taking into account. So to me that's valuable learning and I mean in reflections do we do what, what do we do? Do we say right let's actually just had some of the evidence when we're talking about self and others, do we actually say well okay, so in your team how did your team operate, what was the feelings like within the team, how did that effect you and influence others and what were the others like in your team as a result of maybe, well actually we went pretty well, no, no we didn't go really well. So you get all that variation there.
Carl Condliffe: Great, so I think when you've got an experience like that where they do come away buzzing and they're like man this has been a really cool process or experience and it might not have been tailored exactly for the standard or taught to the standard, that's fine because the experience has been so authentic and meaningful to them they're going to be able to pull apart that experience and find the answers they need in
[00:20:00] their reflections and stuff like that.
Andrew O’Neill Absolutely, yeah.
Carl Condliffe: So I think that's really cool. You mentioned that you, so this is, it was kind of rushed maybe, first time trying it. What are you going to change next time?
Andrew O’Neill So one of the things that I've been thinking about just in the last week or so actually is it'd be pretty cool and we're fortunate because we're in Christchurch it would be really cool to get somebody from the Crusaders outfit who are involved in the franchise, within that aspect of promoting and the sponsorship, so where they'd actually come in and talk a little bit to the guys beforehand, beforehand like as part of getting that understanding of what it's all like, to get them to come in and just throw their slant on well this is how we operate and why and then for them to be able to take some of that stuff away and--
Carl Condliffe: Do you have a good rugby team at Middleton?
Andrew O’Neill Pass. Why would you like to come in and code us?
Carl Condliffe: No, no I'm just saying like have you got a good team, then that'd be
[00:21:00] easy, but I'm sure that'll be more than willing to come on by and, most people want to give back to the community and I think that'll just add another level of authenticity when the kids can hear some of the challenges or some of the cool things that the franchise deals with. It sounds really cool. How has the performance, how did they perform in terms of stats against the national average for 1.4. Can you recall?
Andrew O’Neill Yeah the technical I'm not too bad, this year we're slightly lower than normal, than our normal which is normally, oh sorry I didn't mean, did forget to mention Middleton's a decile nine school so comparing against decile nine rates and things like that we're normally just pretty much at that same level.
Carl Condliffe: But that's to be expected if you're going to try something new and you're not necessarily worrying about teaching to the assessment. So I think that's really cool
[00:22:00] and a really unique approach. I hope that, I want to challenge other people to maybe try to look at the level that they offer something like sport ed and really try to and unpack some of the way we do things and try to make it a little bit more authentic and meaningful because if we can make things more authentic and meaningful then those are things that our kids are going to remember when they leave school.
Andrew O’Neill Yeah and the thing is like what happened was it became self-driven. So they would get in there every time because they wanted to get out there and do it and they would where's the gear. So they did all that themselves, they went and got the field's set up and that kind of stuff. So I just, yeah, I just quite impressed with just their level of engagement as a result of bringing that kind of wider image.
Carl Condliffe: Now how's your department responded? Is there any talk of trying that in the junior school to the same level or other--?
Andrew O’Neill We like the idea, but again we
[00:23:00] want to kind of make things I suppose a little bit authentic for the different levels, so like for level one you get to be good but taking that scaffold back a little bit within year ten and year nine for example. Yeah, just to bring a little bit more of understanding of socio-cultural aspects and things like that and how society actually influences the way sport actually happens. Yeah, so that's a work in progress.
Carl Condliffe: You could do some really good work around ethnicities and some of the stereotypes around, I know there's, it always seems to rear it's head how the positions in ruby, some of the decision making positions tend to be white players and all the performances, wingers, great athletic seems to go the Pacifica and Maori, you could delve into that around some of those cards.
So you can pull that around
[00:24:00] I don't know salaries and stuff like that who earns the most money, maybe there's some research floating around about the difference in, I don't know if this is public knowledge, in New Zealand the sporting salaries, like it is in America but the difference white athletes and Polynesian and Maori athletes are what the pay scales are like and stuff like that, you could go as far as that, I don't know penalize teams for something around there--
Carl Condliffe: If they can balance or something. The really interesting thing was like when we came, so we did the first round and they saw their places and stuff like that and whether they came first, second, third, or forth, when they came into the transfer window they had sussed up the good players. But of course there's a bit of a mad scramble for the good players and yes there were a shifts around, but there were also some of those good players
[00:25:00] going into different teams and I wouldn't say upset the apple cart but just kind of the dynamics of the teams changed, and there were some upsets, so one of the teams that should have gone through into the finals missed out. So it's really good for them to actually see that you know what money's going to pay all the top players but at the day it didn't perform, oh why's that.
Carl Condliffe: There's good links to American sport as well, but we don't see it in New Zealand to the level in America but how I think in New Zealand our athletes have more of a, their link to the team is much stronger than say an NBA player who at any second could be gone to another team and then like you said when they go to that other team they completely disrupt the chemistry and they might be the best, one of the top players in the NBA and now they're paired with another top five player and whose team is this and one of those issues that that brings about,
[00:26:00] just I think that's really cool. So you've done a bit of work with scholarship, you've got a scholarship group this year. How'd they get by?
Andrew O’Neill Yeah, so we had seven up for grabs this time, they're all submitting.
Carl Condliffe: They submitted?
Andrew O’Neill Yes, they're all submitted. It's been an interesting transition into the report stall of assessment, personally I like it from the perspective that you can get them into a much deeper level of critical thinking because they go into the scholarship knowing what they want to look at and so their time to be able to research and actually bring the quality, somewhat together, it just gives them and they're focused on that. So it's just the whole idea of you make a statement, what do you mean by that and what's your justification
[00:27:00] behind what you're saying. There have been things that we've really, really worked at alongside a little bit of English training.
So we had our curriculum leader for English come in, he's been looking into a program as far as SO writing as in particular that really focus on it's not how much you write, it's the quality of what you do that counts. So as far as the structure's concerned, different styles of how you put your paragraphs together, the impact that they need, short/long sentences, what your, for example just even your introduction is and then again at the end, just wrapping it all up. So it's kind of like we really worked at trying to get them to take the reader along a pathway to actually see well okay there is this and there is that and just to get them as they're taking us through to
[00:28:00] just to branch off a little bit more and go into depth a bit some of the different issues that were actually come up.
Carl Condliffe: How did your scholarship group work? Did you have lunch time meetings, after school?
Andrew O’Neill No, we pretty much focused on term two, we would get together and most of them were free, we run a tutorial from half past seven in the morning for an hour and we would get together and we would just go and --
Carl Condliffe: Give the kids breakfast?
Andrew O’Neill Sometimes, yeah. The ones that were there on time.
Carl Condliffe: Yeah, that's making the commitment to turn up in the morning is--
Andrew O’Neill And they appreciated it. You could see just the way that they responded and the feedback given. It's interesting just trying to work on the feedback, one of the things I suppose I've struggled a little bit with was okay, well it's their authentic work but how much kind of feedback can we give and how well they can use overseas research and that kind of thing.
[00:29:00] So it's certainly got better and I know for you Carl and some of the stuff that you've given me as far as advice has been good, got them to close and here's hoping. I think one of the good things that I've found this year is there's actually exemplar of with the top student, so it gave the students themselves a really good handle on what to, the actual.
Carl Condliffe: It was always going to be hard that first year and that transition from the exam to the report. But I think this year there's going to be the quality I hope will be a little bit better, I'm a little bit, we struggled with some of our students. We've had a really, our level three class this year had 27 students and I found with that where our achievement hasn't been that great the time spent with some of my lower performing students that's a bit away, I was describing those kids before as crap that's not what I mean, they're all performing students.
[00:30:00] The amount of time I've had to spend with them has kind of taken away from my top end, which is really sad for them. We got two submissions which is, we hoped for about six or seven like yourself. But even for them, the students they had a better idea of what was required this year simply because of those exemplars and being able to get their head around it.
Andrew O’Neill The good thing that I really, really liked invariably because I see look you guys have got a, you've got a big choice here, you've got a massive choice, you've got all the stems that you've done this year that you can choose and go through, they all chose the issues trends and events. A great variety, in fact I think there were only two that were the same in those seven. So it's really cool. So I really encourage them to think deeply about that kind of stuff, what really grabs you and take that and really explore and critique.
[00:31:00] While there's quite a bit more work for them to do in presenting that as a scholarship level I know for all of them although it was a bit of stress for them I've actually come away feeling really happy and it's kind of like if I get one that's fantastic but it's actually taught me a skill set that I hadn't actually realized and invariably those standards that you've done even at level one and two, our students have come away thinking wow it's a really concept, they actually have thought about the impact that sport has actually had in the way that society is constructing sport really is played. So it's really opening them up to that kind of stuff, it's not just about giving up gear and playing wool and, yeah.
Carl Condliffe: That's the biggest transition from exam to report for me is that in the exam we're spending all this time preparing them to be critical thinkers around the topics that could be anything really.
[00:32:00] We know the overriding theme but they got to then take an issue and think critical about it, but now in the report we can just teach them critical thinking process throughout the year and they learn to apply that process to everything they do, not just prepare for this one event and then I imagine a lot of them, when we had this exam approach would, right they do the exam and then that whole critical thinking process is out the door now for some them, not everyone, but now because we're teaching them those skills and they're applying that from day one all the way across the year they're going to have those skills for life and being able to think critically is sinking in.
Andrew O’Neill That's what you're wanting, is a method behind why you're doing what you're doing. You want them to actually take that skill set away wherever they go.
Carl Condliffe: We don't want students to just settle for what they hear or what they read but to really unpack and go will this is what I think and here's what we need to have a better future focus on. So we've got, how many weeks left, three weeks?
Andrew O’Neill Something like that.
Carl Condliffe: Holidays,
[00:33:00] what have you got planned for the holidays and what's your focus for 2017?
Andrew O’Neill Right, so as far as holidays are concerned there'll be a bit of just kind of like tidying up the schoolwork.
Carl Condliffe: No, you don't want to do school work in the holidays.
Andrew O’Neill I never thought of that. We do our annual shift like when we're in Invercargill my brother and sister-in-law would go to Kaiteriteri from Christchurch and when they went they first time they said oh you've got to come next time. So we dragged all our camping gear from Invercargill to Christchurch for Christmas and then Christchurch to Kaiteriteri, and the first time I can still remember the kids, the four of them just coming around the corner and seeing the beach, it just blew their socks off.
Carl Condliffe: Kaiteriteri is beautiful.
Andrew O’Neill When we can back, when we came back all they could say is this is where we're coming next Christmas, this is what we're doing. So yeah, fifteen years later
[00:34:00] even the kids aren't there we still go. So that's the plan, we'll go there early January for about three weeks and just really chill. I used to take the mountain bike up and do a few of the tracks there but I actually quite enjoy just getting out there and running them now. So--
Carl Condliffe: Still run them.
Andrew O’Neill Well trying to. Yeah.
Carl Condliffe: Good on you, good on you.
Andrew O’Neill As far as 2017 is concerned I think that a lot of stuff that I'm planning on doing is a result of coming to this workshop. I think one of the big takeaways for me is I've always wanted to get into that kind of integration of how PE is done within the school, and how it can link into the other curriculum areas. So yeah, Rob and I will go back because Rob came up with us and we'll go back and just chat away with our PE staff about it and
[00:35:00] I'm quite keen to start at a low level because I think if you go as big it can really fall to pieces quite quickly, but being quite deliberate about maybe just getting alongside one curriculum area which I've already got an idea of and just chatting and saying hey look what do you think of this idea and this is what we're thinking, how could it link with you guys or, yeah. Just trying to get that whole concept of at the end of the day key competencies are fairly critical and how can we link that into the curriculum and produce a program that the pupils themselves can actually see linkage across from just PE and how it can relate into all the other areas.
Carl Condliffe: I like that, starting small too so not trying to link up math, science, English and social studies but going well okay maybe here's one or two learning areas.
Andrew O’Neill I'm even thinking if there's not much of a take on it to maybe go to for example the English area and say look I want to do a unit within PE that has an English focus on it. So rather than them doing it within English we could actually just get them to do something with PE itself that goes across different/other curriculum areas. So we'll just see how they respond to it.
Carl Condliffe: Well I think you find that we, our learning area we innovate a lot and I think we do it really well, I think we do it better than most other departments to an extent. So I have had hands up, I think, I hope you get some learning areas who are keen to put as much in as you might be prepared to put in and you can come up with some really good end product there for your students which will be cool, so good luck with that.
Look I really want to appreciate you for coming and having a chat around some of that stuff for 1.4, I think that sporting model's really cool but taking that next step and linking in the socially critical stuff
[00:37:00] around sponsorship and media and all of those things really makes it a bit more authentic for the kids, authentic in a unit that's already made so much authentic because of that sporting approach so keep that up and also the scholarship, I look forward to hearing how your students get on in terms of results, early Jan/late Feb and hopefully you pick up a few scholarships.
Andrew O’Neill We'll see, and I liked your idea too actually about actually getting the English curriculum to be able to critic some of the work, the assignment week, so that's something that I'll sit and look at because I know our curriculum leaders there has [00:37:34] (unclear) in fact he came up and took a sit in on one of those mornings, so he's absolutely passionate about it, so I say it's no big issue, I mean he loves the fact that we're actually trying to link with this kind of stuff into our area anyway, so I'll know he'll be on board to even do a bit of criticizing. So that's cool.
Carl Condliffe: Alright, hopefully the wind doesn't get you too much on the flight out.
Andrew O’Neill I'm looking forward to it. We need it.
Carl Condliffe: Alright, cheers Andy.
Andrew O’Neill Cheers mate, thank you.

NZPETeachercast Episode 4: Contextualised courses at Heretaunga College

Excited to welcome Matt Lambert from Heretaunga College to the podcast. We have a great chat about how his department are meeting the needs of his learners through the use of contextualised courses.

Matt also helps run the PE Gear Shed Facebook page, make sure you check it out and hit the like button! While you’re at it, don’t forget to leave a podcast review on iTunes, i’d really appreciate it.

Music by Bensound.

Read Full Transcript

Episode 4- Contextualised courses at Heretaunga College
Duration: [00:24:55] Carl Condliffe: To all NZ teachers welcome back to what's always my favorite term of the year, better whether, seniors going after a few weeks and plenty of time to reflect on the year and to start thinking about what next year will bring. For our international listeners I hope wherever you are in your school year that things are going well and shaping up nicely as we move towards Christmas. Today we're speaking with Matt Lambert from Heretaunga College here in Wellington. I'm loving his approach to course creation and development which we're going to spend most of the episode talking about. I'm going to call this episode "An Authentic PE Experience." Our seminar room sits about our main gym and a class rocked up to do some PE halfway through the interview so you'll hear them throughout and it wouldn't be a NZ PE Teachercast without a few planes taking off either, so there's to look forward to as well. I hope you enjoy today's episode.
[00:01:00] 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 I'd like to welcome Matt Lambert head of physical education and health at Heretaunga College. This is my first time meeting Matt but I've heard his name brought up on many occasions particularly around two areas, his exceptional use of technology in PE and also the amazing weights room they have at Heretaunga College which from my understanding was in a way self-funded
[00:02:00] and they did it in a fairly clever way. So we're going to hear a little bit more about some of those things. Matt, welcome to the podcast.
Matt Lambert: Thanks for having me.
Carl Condliffe: Now before we get onto the topic of this podcast which is these contextual courses that you're running can you tell us a little bit about your teaching experience, your school and maybe something about the area of Heretaunga Upper Hutt.
Matt Lambert: Alright, I've been teaching for ten years, so my 11th year now. I've been doing all of that at Heretaunga College, so I started there in 2006. Heretaunga College is decile six, we have a role of around about 720 students, we're coed school, we're 50-50 split pretty much boys and girls, we've got 20% Maori students, a little bit less about 5%, just under, of Pacifica, about 30-35% of our students go onto university
[00:03:00] when they leave. Upper Hutt community as a whole is quite a sort of working class environment and yeah very few of our parents have any qualifications outside of school. In 2013 we opened up our new modern learning environment, the government spent a fair bit of money on a refurb for us and that has a lot of shared learning, lots of glass so teachers can't hide, and yeah it's made people change their pedagogy and the way that teach.
Carl Condliffe: So you've been there ten years? You must enjoy it there.
Matt Lambert: Yes and no. I mean I've seen a lot of really good stuff and a lot of really bad stuff, but I do enjoy probably more so the staff of everything else and yeah the kids are good too. Yeah, every school has their bad eggs but the majority of our kids are really great. I do enjoy the community.
[00:04:00] Carl Condliffe: How many staff members in your department?
Matt Lambert: Currently we have six.
Carl Condliffe: Six, any females?
Matt Lambert: Yeah we have two females.
Carl Condliffe: Yeah, cool. So we're here to talk these contextual courses which kick in if you're at level two and three. But can you first describe to us what PE at level one looks like for your students? Just because I've seen how cool the stuff is that you're doing at level two and three. So I don't want to see feel plain and boring after being blown away by that. So if you could just describe level one so we feel all normal compared to what you're doing.
Matt Lambert: Yeah at level one we offer a range of standards which is depending on the class and its students. So no achievement is a must. Basically there the teacher evolves that course around the students. We use student voice and ability as well as I guess what the teacher is able to do as well to come with that course itself. So for example if their teacher
[00:05:00] feels as though the students aren't up to 1.2 then they won't put that in, in the course. So that's clear, simple as that basically. It's more traditional compared to other courses and it's only between 14 and 18 credits, yeah.
Carl Condliffe: Well I think that that approach of quality over quantity I think that's really important I that's, I think it’s so cool that you're able to do that and you have the support of your school and your principal to be able to do that because students, well we've sort of done the research about student well-being, they're just struggling and they're battling and they're burdened by assessment and being able to offer less credits is just so beneficial to them.
Now I said this via email to you because I hadn't heard of it before, but what on earth is a contextualized course?
Matt Lambert: Basically the board and the senior management said to all of our staff we want to make some changes to try to lift our achievement
[00:06:00] in the senior school. We'd seen other schools trying various things like extended learning spells except we wanted to do something a little bit different. So we decided to go down a contextual course line which is basically where you've got, well our context in PE is the use of sport as a vehicle to try to teach our curriculum, so other departments jumped on with that as well. So for example we have a massive sport class, an emerge with sport but there's also image and beauty and make up, there's master construction. We have a school of hospitality as well which is basically, yeah, everyone's got almost like an occupation or a, yeah, an area like that where that short shapes what that course is all about. We still have your traditional, sort of more academic if you like subjects too like your Shakespearean English for those students who are really into that. So for
[00:07:00] in PE where we have a course based around people who are wanting to be personal trainers for example.
Carl Condliffe: And so, you mentioned to me that you've got, there's your three courses at level two could you just break those down a little bit and you've got these cool names for them and just what those look like?
Matt Lambert: Yeah so we do, we've three courses at level two and three. The one is a unit standards based course, it's called Do You Even Lift and that's all based around students learning safety and etiquette as well as technique within a gym environment. They also learn stretches. Now the course called Better Never Stops which is where the students focus on their own sport.
Carl Condliffe: Wait, I'm sorry to interrupt, when you've got these Better Never Stops and Do You Even Lift, is that course known as 2 BNS?
Matt Lambert: Yeah BNS.
Carl Condliffe: And it's coded that in your course choice booklet?
Matt Lambert: Yeah BNS, BNS QA2 and
[00:08:00] DYE 202 or 303, yup. And yeah in BNS they focus on their own sport so they do biomechanical analysis of a skill from their own sport, they do training programs for their own sport which last effectively the whole year so that you can periodization etc. as well rather than just shorter training programs. They get assessed on their ability in their own sport as well and at level two they look at [00:08:26] (unclear) and the social responsibility to model so try to get them into a good routine and good, yeah, I guess that whole thing about being self-motivated but also helping others as well. At level three they do the strategies to improve, assessment 3.9 to help towards their own support. We also have Beyond the Field, both level two and three.
Carl Condliffe: BTF?
Matt Lambert: Yup BTF which is all based around sociology of sport, so why and how we and others participate in the event or issue and it's
[00:09:00] effect on self, others in society and also coaching where we go out and coach a local primary school, run a tournament for them or we will work with our living resource center which is our students with cognitive and physical disabilities and they will try to get them physically active and try to teach them how to be so for life-long well-being.
Carl Condliffe: Cool that sounds, I really love, in our department at the moment we're talking about the benefit of renaming our course because we battle with these perceptions of what PE is. So we're thinking about maybe getting away from that name PE because with it comes a whole lot of different thoughts and assumptions around what we do as teachers and what our student experience and we want to get away from that, those assumptions and we're thinking about sports science, naming it that or other names that we've been floating. But
[00:10:00] that's just a name and I think what you're doing here is, you've got these funky names that are actually quite appealing probably to the kids as much as they are me to but you've also restructured it in a way that you're providing these fantastic courses. Honestly when I read it I was blown away by it, so I think you and your department ought to be commended for what you're doing because it makes it authentic, it makes it really meaningful. I am interested though, I'll come back to this next question, but what's the make-up of each course? Does a BNS course attract a significantly different student then say a BTF course and stuff like that?
Matt Lambert: Initially for DYE for example it was predominately males but one thing that underlies all of our courses is the sociocultural elements and the assumptions that come along I guess our whole subject as whole. So we within DYE we look at things like
[00:11:00] body image issues and the assumptions that girls shouldn't try and lift weights etc. So since we've been going into that sort of depth it's really brought into, well brought a lot more females into that course and in the first year for that course, yeah and me personally I only had three girls in that course of 18 and this year it's about half and half. And yeah I think, even that's the same with our memberships for the gym too, female numbers have gone up. I found the girls are actually much better at learning the correct technique, they're not ego--
Carl Condliffe: It's their egos.
Matt Lambert: Yeah, no ego lifting going on. They don't mind starting off with an empty bar and therefore they get the technique spot on. For BNS we've got all types of athletes as well, you've got your traditional sports, your basketball, netball, hockey, etc. represented. I've got a few martial artists in there as well, so taekwondo, karate, a few skiers, mountain bikers, a few athletics students. I think the main issue for them is being that I've had to write marking criteria
[00:12:00] for a few. So last year I wrote the marking criteria for level three rugby and for softball which was crazy to me that there wasn't a marking criteria for those which is, yeah. Which is, yeah that's allowed students who don't consider themselves to be that athletic to be able to come in. Yeah, I had a lot of international students who play badminton for example who don't consider themselves themselves to be athletes, they're in there working on their badminton and it's helped them socially as well. We've had other students show in interest, darts players, cheerleaders, etc. So I'm midway through writing a cheerleading marking criteria which is quite interesting.
Carl Condliffe: I think you should, I really think you should make some exemplars of you doing cheerleading, I think that would be great. Is there, particularly for the BNS course is there a selection process or do you have to be exceptional at your sport to get into that or do you just--?
Matt Lambert: No, not all. We didn't have prerequisites for any of our
[00:13:00] courses when first opened them up. The only one that we did have was that students have to be playing an approved sport for school or club because that's their whole, that's the whole context is them improving in that sport. So if they don't have a sport focus for them to improve in, a goal if you like then it's not going to work. So yeah, a lot of them do play for club and for school, some of them only play club, some only go to one actual event a year, one of the pair the leg does [00:13:35] (?) yeah he only goes to one event and that's same with mountain biking as well.
Carl Condliffe: Has this approach, how long have you been doing it for?
Matt Lambert: We just, yeah, finishing up our second year.
Carl Condliffe: Has it improved your academic results?
Matt Lambert: In the first year our results actually declined from our previous five year trend.
Carl Condliffe: You'd expect that though wouldn't you, getting used to the new system and
[00:14:00] new approach?
Matt Lambert: Yeah we run PMI's as a department and just go through after each standard and kind of question or results and why and what we could do better etc., etc. and after reading all of those I put down to a couple of factors and the first one was that we were teaching a lot of standards that we hadn't taught before, particularly the sociocultural based standards.
Carl Condliffe: They're the ones we tend, phys eders tend to avoid though.
Matt Lambert: Yeah, yeah that's right. We really came to try to incorporate those as much as possible and yeah but particularly so now we're sort of filtering that down into a junior program as well and yeah, so that was a little bit more difficult. I was able to get quite a bit of help from people to see what they were doing as well and, yeah, I guess the other reason was because we had dropped all prerequisites that a few of our deans were seeing as a bit of a dumping ground and yeah the students were
[00:15:00] a bit of a battle just even to get them to bring their gear let alone to be involved and usually for us at a senior level that's just never the case. So we had to bring a few policies around that sort of thing and we've got prerequisites now for next year. I went through interestingly enough and took those students out who are considered who had been dumped and yeah the results went back up to where they would typically be and we would expect them to be, minus one or two percent basically which I would say again would be based around those sociocultural standards that weren't as familiar with. But now, yeah I'm feeling like yeah we're pretty good with those.
Carl Condliffe: Definitely a common issue at all schools I think is that dumping ground mentality around phys ed which is a shame. To be able to run these contextualized courses you obviously need a well-resourced department particular in terms of that Do You Even Lift
[00:16:00] course in terms of weight training. So can you tell a bit about how you managed this and how you go about providing I guess what standards you assess and stuff like that just briefly.
Matt Lambert: Yeah, so initially we did student voice etc and that's how we came up with our courses was based around students wanting to learn how to lift, they wanted to learn how to be healthy for life. They wanted to learn about couching and all the stuff behind the scenes. So that's where the course is coming from and then when the kids did subject selection we were blown away by how many kids had shown interest and we realized heck we don't actually have enough space, we don't have the resources, the physical resource to be able to cope for it. So fortunately our principal has a bit of fetish with hiring PE staff and not putting them in that department so we had a few in the foods department and we had a few in social sciences as well so we were able to pull in them so we can help man it. I was also lucky
[00:17:00] enough to have a couple of people in the department who have personal training backgrounds so we were about get accreditation to teach a few of those standards but we needed the equipment. So my assistant actually, Max Pearson and I, we got together, we made a wish list of what we needed and we got quotes from a few places and put together a proposal and basically that included how much students would need to pay per year on a lease to own agreement for that equipment and figured out the kids, if they paid 100 bucks each we would need 75 members for each year for five years and then that would cover it. So currently we have over 130 members which includes staff, students, all boys and girls of the school, parents and other members of the community who have a link to the college and yeah it's quite handy I have this electrician who's a parent and he comes in and fixes the lights for us and installs televisions and
[00:18:00] stuff and he gets a free membership, so it helps and that sort of thing so it doesn't eat into my budget.
Carl Condliffe: I think that approach just amazing me that I don't think you tend to see, well in my experiences anyway that seems to always be well if you can't afford it out of your budget then we're not getting it and you've obviously had that support from your principal to come up with this proposal that he's allowed you go and lease to own this stuff with that four or that, I guess that vision that it can be paid off and it can actually bring in revenue once it's paid off and the way you're doing it, that's not too far off happening so you're going to have not only this fantastic resource or facility you're going to have the revenue, extra revenue that it brings you that just get pumped straight back into the students. So I think that's, I think you've done a really good job about that.
You were telling me about, I mean we've been talking the sociocultural factors that we, that are so important in
[00:19:00] PE and getting them across. You told me a really cool story earlier about a girl who's a member of your weights club or the gym and her father. You want to just tell our listeners about that?
Matt Lambert: Yeah, so we have this student who she was, last year she was level one and she was learning how to lift and she joined up the gym and was loving it and her father said he wanted to spend a little bit more time with her so he decided he was going to start coming to the gym with her. So they were training together, it was really cool to see. But he hadn't lifted for a while so his technique was a little bit rusty and it was really cool to actually see her to be able to critic him and to help out and particularly on his squat technique. I remember one day seeing him trying to load up the bar because he was a little bit embarrassed that she might be able to squat more than him so she just took the weights off and got his technique sort of first before anything else.
[00:20:00] So it's been really cool to actually see them in there together and talking to her mom as well. She says that she's quite of the jealous that they get to spend together and the gentleman even he actually injured himself and he was still in there helping her out and spotting her and stuff like that, so they were still able to share their time.
Carl Condliffe: So not only has this facility had a positive effect on your students within the school and the approaches that they can have to their learning, it's also having this, I guess, community effect or this positive effect on the community that they can come in and use the facility and bond with their family or learn a little bit more about being physically active and the benefits of that. So cool, I think just awesome what you're doing. You also manage, I think this is reasonably new but on Facebook the PE Gear Shed, can you tell us a little bit about that and I guess what I want to know is what your, why you
[00:21:00] came about launching that page and what you want from it?
Matt Lambert: Yeah, sure. Myself and a couple other people were talking about the need for networking and for offering cheap and easy ways of professional development. Yeah, thought that a lot of PE teachers don't necessarily share what they do because they're a little bit, a little bit funny about being criticized or being judged by others and so we thought that the PE Gear Shed would be a really good way to try to do that in an anonymous fashion. So if people did want to share any information they could quite easily share it along and then that could be posted up by the Gear Shed as opposed to being by an individual. So this, couple of us, Cam Smith is another who's, yeah he posts a lot on there as well and it's just about trying to share ideas, trying to create discussions and trying to get that whole networking thing out
[00:22:00] as a place for PE teachers by PE teachers to help us to all be better at what we do. It's not a competition to be the best PE teacher, it's just about trying to do what's best for our students and for our communities. So, yeah that's I guess the point of that. We're not out there to try to make any money or anything off that, it's just a good place to sort of share and to learn.
Carl Condliffe: Perfect and that's some of the reason why I started this podcast, was being able to network and share stories. So that's Facebook page the PE Gear Shed, is that right?
Matt Lambert: Yup, that's right.
Carl Condliffe: So make sure you check that out on Facebook, give it a like and honestly I've been having a look over the last couple weeks and keeping an eye on it and there's been some really good stuff that I've been to take straight away and implement into my teaching. So it's definitely worth a visit and a regular look at. Now I think we've, I can't see the timer on the device but I think we're getting up near twenty minutes, so just
[00:23:00] one last question for you. Matt, what's one thing people want to know about you, something funky or--?
Matt Lambert: Probably that I collect Lego mini figurines. So I've got, yeah about 360.
Carl Condliffe: 360.
Matt Lambert: Yeah.
Carl Condliffe: What's your latest figure? Are these little Legos that you build or just figurines?
Matt Lambert: They're just the individual figurines that come in little one off packs. So you don't really know what you're getting and you have to sit there for hours in the shop looking like a weird sort of feeling to see what the are the pieces in there.
Carl Condliffe: Like in the kids section?
Matt Lambert: Yeah that's right.
Carl Condliffe: Oh that's awesome.
Matt Lambert: I've made members of my department come and do that with me in the past too, I call it professional development. But yeah, it's taken a while to amass that total, there's only one that I don't have which is quite annoying, but yeah.
Carl Condliffe: Hopefully he turns up soon, or she or whatever it is I don't know. Look I really want to
[00:24:00] thank you for coming along today. I'm just blown away by your approach, to your senior PE and what you're doing. I mentioned that we have talked about renaming our courses to really get away from some of these assumptions, but you've taken it one step further and you've actually designed these amazing courses and thought about what it's going to mean for the kids and what it's going to look like for the kids and also what it's going to look like for the school and it's obviously doing well, your students are preforming well and it seems like Heretaunga's a really, your PE department are really clued on and having a lot of fun with what these courses provide. So big pat on the back for you and your department and I really appreciate you coming along to share your story with us today. Cheers Matt.
Matt Lambert: Thanks for having me, it's been great.

Introducing My Study Series


Over the last six years or so, I have been fascinated by the application of the flipped classroom and the use of targeted video outside of school. It is an approach that dramatically changed my views on education and I have been lucky enough to speak about it to a range of people at varying conferences and workshops.

Today I got to introduce My Study Series, a learning platform for PE teachers and their students which provides hundreds of videos targeting every Physical Education achievement standard at level 1, 2 and 3. I have been working on it non stop for the last two months in preparation for its release in February next year. I am so excited to be able to develop something which has the potential to add a lot of value to our learning area and provide teachers with an opportunity to deliver their lessons in a unique and innovative way. Head on over and check it out.

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I have just had the privilege of presenting on the topic of “Flipped Learning” as part of Connected PE’s free online PE conference. It really got me thinking about the way we go about professional learning (PL) in education and how misguided that can be. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good conference – travelling, meeting new people, hearing from like minded professionals who have amazing ideas. But with this traditional approach to PL comes a few issues that makes me wonder whether it is all worth while! Read more