Collaborative teaching in physical education at Linwood College
In July 2016 Linwood College teachers Natasha Powell and Rosanna Katene attended the Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ) conference. At this event they heard an idea about collaborative teaching in Physical Education (PE). This sparked a change in the way they were teaching PE with their own classes.
Rosanna and Nastasha wrote a proposal for collaboration between PE classes – NCEA Level 2 and Year 10. Collaboration is not unusual in Physical Education in the secondary context. However, a Year 10 class working in collaboration with a NCEA Level 2 senior class is more unusual. This collaboration is the focus of their Grow Waitaha – Incubator inquiry, (supported by the Spiral of Inquiry approach):
“How might we create authentic tuakana–teina learning relationships using a flexible environment, that enables students to get the most from their learning.”
In 2017 Scott Walbran joined the PE department. He and Rosanna each teach a Year 10 class and an NCEA Level 2 senior class. The older NCEA students have become the teachers or tuakana (‘older siblings’) for the Year 10 PE students in one class a week. Together, teachers and NCEA students reflect on and co-construct a teaching programme for Year 10 students. The work the senior students do feeds directly into their NCEA Level 2 PE assessment programme.
Linwood College is a coeducational secondary school for Years 7 to 13. It is located in an area of Christchurch undergoing huge change and starts a full rebuild in 2018. The bigger goal sitting behind the teacher inquiry (above) was to trial a programme to better prepare teachers for the rebuild and the change that will come with it. This inquiry also extends the school’s existing tuakana–teina approach across all levels within the school; to strengthen relationships and to impact positively on learning outcomes. Underpinning this innovation is the idea that learning does not only occur within isolated age group cohorts.
The benefits of this approach
This inquiry is still in its early stages. Despite students from the different year level cohorts spending only one hour a week together the benefits are starting to show with:
- increased student engagement in learning;
- increased self management of learning tasks;
- improved attitudes towards learning;
- improved relationships between students, regardless of their age;
- a natural development in student leadership, in older and younger students;
- the growth of peer coaching and mentoring – between students and between teachers;
higher levels of reflection in teachers;
- teachers and students supporting each other more;
- reduced amounts of stress and increased enjoyment of teaching, and learning.
A student survey was carried out at the end of term one which highlighted some of these benefits. Teachers will repeat this survey during the year. They will also compare this cohort’s NCEA Level 2 PE achievement outcomes with previous years to investigate whether there are any differences in achievement.
- There is a growing bond between the two levels of classes and their support of each other.
- Behaviour has improved.
- Student leaders are emerging.
- Teaching and learning is more enjoyable, supportive and relaxing.
- The NCEA Level 2 programme is supported, not compromised by this approach.
- A collaborative approach has alleviated workload pressures.
The teachers plan to:
- explore how to increase whānau involvement;
- extend the collaborative model to include PE theory and Health classes;
- investigate collaboration between other levels, e.g. Year 9 with Year 11 PE classes;
- investigate the impact on other subjects the students involved take – to explore whether the benefits are transferrable.
Advice to others
The teachers advice others embarking on this approach to:
- involve the senior leadership team and the timetabler at an early stage;
- plan the approach (inquiry) carefully to help the process run smoothly. This school used a backward mapping process prior to the implementation of their multi–level collaborative programme, looking at progressions of skills and topics from Year 7 to Year 13;
- meet weekly – informally and formally to plan and reflect. This provides essential feedback and allows changes to be made quickly.
Rosanna sums up her new way of teaching at Linwood College:
“It’s not more work, it’s just different work.”