Friday, 10 October 2014

Practical Skill Acquisition for Improved Physical Literacy

Anthony Costa, Subject Team Leader for Health and Physical Education at Greenwood, explores how practical skill acquisition is one method for helping students to develop life-long transferable skills that support an active, healthy lifestyle.

Healthy active living is a life-long endeavour and the improvement of one’s own healthy practices requires continuous pruning.  Whether it is keeping current about nutrition, improving personal fitness techniques, learning how to be aware of mental health issues, or acquiring new skills, Health and Physical Education is continually evolving.

One way that the Health and Physical Education team at Greenwood College School is working to have students continually challenge themselves is through improvement of Physical Literacy. This video gives a brief explanation of why physical literacy is so importantWe endeavour to work on this in many ways at Greenwood. However, I would like to highlight one example for now: on-going skill acquisition.


Teachers create an on-going skills continuum across various grades and ability levels and in each sport or activity, in order to ensure continuous challenge and growth for students. This continuum also allows teachers to use professional judgement and have students practice a skill set based on readiness. For example, currently in soccer activity units, students can practice shooting, passing and dribbling skills, body control, and team movement patterns. The way that these are practiced can be effectively individualized, in order to have students indirectly practice and learn how to continually grow. The idea is to give students a constant challenge within their readiness zone in order to help them grow.

Focusing on the skill acquisition of dribbling as a specific example, students with self identified “novice” skills can practice and develop the skill of moving the ball to various areas of the pitch while maintaining  proper technique. If students consider themselves to be at an “intermediate” level they can work to improve dribbling skills with their non-dominant foot in order to acquire a more complete set of skills in the sport. If students consider themselves at an advanced or “expert” level for the skill, they will have the opportunity to practice advanced techniques of dribbling such as the “crossover,” change of direction between the legs, different spin moves, dragging the ball and other creative techniques. Furthermore, if students are interested, they may access videos highlighting the extraordinary skills of the best players in the world and practice these elite skills to ensure continuous challenge.

Once introduced, students utilize the skill on a daily basis in order to refine technique and increase their speed in mini game activities and modified game situations. If students can continually challenge themselves in a skill like dribbling, then they are developing a framework for how to improve upon other skills as well - not only physically, but also cognitively and academically.

To improve requires basic knowledge, background and a mindset of growth. If students can experience a successful step-by-step process of improvement in physical literacy, they can potentially transfer the same mindset towards many other aspects of life. Perseverance through a set of math problems, determination through science labs, focus when working on French verb tenses and practice routines in the arts and music are just a few examples. It is the hope that these transferable skills create well rounded and capable young problem solvers.

Through collaboration and the creation of on-going skill continua and unit plans, Health and Physical Education teachers at Greenwood can modify and adjust daily lesson plans to meet the needs of the varied ability levels of students with input from colleagues. After all, two heads are better than one! From “novice” to “expert,” teachers are working to ensure that all students will have the opportunity to improve upon their skills, and ultimately, develop a framework for practice in whatever aspect of life they choose to pursue with the most rigour.

An overall goal of the Health and Physical Education curriculum is to have students become healthy and active people for life. By participating in these habits regularly in soccer, basketball, volleyball and other activities, Greenwood students can practice transferable skills and apply them to continual growth and improvement in their individual mental and physical health. Health and Physical Education equips students with valuable decision-making skills for a positive and healthy lifestyle. Skill acquisition is just one piece of the puzzle but it can be a very effective one.

3 comments:

  1. Children cannot learn unless they are given chance to learn with practical practices and Amazingosteopath Canberra because what they can do physically cannot learn in books and in return can give better results to the schools and states.

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  2. When we look at the ground reality so we come to know that we do not allow our children to spend their reasonable time in grounds and play fields rather we stick them to the school chairs due to which they always have backache and in result we need to take them to Chiropractor near Collary to get them relieved from their pains and get back to their normal routine life.

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