“Teacher leadership is a set of skills demonstrated by teachers who are able to influence students outside of the classroom and beyond.” (Danielson, 2006) According to Danielson, the process of imparting knowledge is not only limited within the four walls of a classroom, but it also takes place outside the class and it is not only formal, it is rather a mixture of both formal and informal education. However, in order to impart that knowledge to students, teachers make use of a set of Teacher Leadership skills.
When talking about learners and education there is also an emphasis on lifelong learning in order to shape the adult of tomorrow. Lifelong learning is described as the “development after formal education: the continuing development of knowledge and skills that people experience after formal education and throughout their lives” (Encarta, 2008). One of the goals of the NYCBE “is to shape a socially and emotionally well-balanced and self-motivated individual with a heightened sense of integrity and self-respect, an autonomous lifelong learner confident in the use of all accumulated knowledge and in engaging in new ways of creative and critical thinking, thereby acting as a change agent.” (Inspiring every child – Ministry of Education, 2015). If we take into consideration the vision of Physical Education we can say that it not only about teaching skills and about formal education, there is also a lot of informal education involve in the subject which takes place outside the usual set up of a classroom. Besides the fact that the vision of Physical Education is based on the development of “A sound mind in a sound body” (Miletus, 624 – 546 BC), it also encompasses the teaching of ethics and values necessary in the society which takes place informally within the classroom. If we go according to what Danielson said, Physical Educators are leaders who influence students inside and outside the classroom. For example Physical Education is well renowned to be a discipline class from the start to the finish. At the beginning of the class students should be in their appropriate P.E outfit and line up in a straight line in the attention position waiting for the teacher to begin the class. Working in a co-education school, respect for each and every one is a must in my class. When devising group, I make sure there are both girls and boys, by doing so i give opportunity for pear learning and teaching in each group where everyone is considered equal and there is no gender biased taking place in any activity. There are situations where boys are helping the girls like for example when we do football classes, and also situations where boys seek the help of girls like when doing gymnastic classes. In order to boost the self-confidence of students I never start a class without investigating the prior knowledge of my students. For example before starting to teach basketball, I always give them the balls and tell them to play however they want. By doing so the students are having fun but at the same time it gives me the opportunity to evaluate the prior knowledge of my students which help me in devising activities according to their level ranging from simple to complex one. However even with those strategies there is also the fear of failure in the students when doing any activity as they are being watched by their pears of the teacher. What I do is that I build upon their mistake and make them realise that failure is not a mistake but rather an opportunity to improve, this not only facilitates learning but it also boost up the self-esteem of the students and they will apply what they have learned in their everyday life. Just like “Our brain makes new pathways and connections based on reliability and predictability of our experiences” (see Conner: 1995) Diabetes and obesity are the number one concern in our country and researchers have found that childhood obesity tracks into adulthood so the only way to tackle this problem is through Physical Education at school which not only work out the physical aspect of the students but also teaches them how to have a healthy lifestyle. By doing so we are making sure to encourage lifelong learning to students in order for them to become that Physically Educated citizen of tomorrow that Mauritius needs.
Issue: Lack of participation from upper secondary students in Physical Education classes
Physical Education recognizes the wholesome development of every child. In order to achieve this goal, physical educators are here to offer a range of fun activities that can equip them with the skills, knowledge and attitudes essential to enjoy and maintain physically active and healthy lifestyles. I have been working since four years as Physical Education Educator and as years go by and in each school I have worked, I have observed that most of HSC students do not participate in Physical Education classes. They do not show enthusiasm to attend the class. Most of them either arrived in the class late or, forget their sports outfit or, are always sick.
However physical inactivity is accompanied with a lot of complications whether physical, mental or social. According to Sallis and Owen, “Physical activity influences the physical health of children in two ways. First, it could affect the causes of disease during childhood. Second, it could reduce the risk of chronic diseases in later life (Sallis & Owen, 1999). Studies show that a number of adult health complications like osteoporosis and coronary heart disease originate from childhood and all this can be avoided through regular physical activity as from the young age. (Malina & Bouchard, 1991; Freedman et al., 2001).
Nowadays, with the increase amount of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) and other societal problems such as violence and drug addiction, the importance of physical activity for the wholesome development of the young generation is unquestionable, and therefore it is critically important that the world make the necessary efforts for the reintroduction of physical activity into our youth as the country is in need of high quality of human power and working population.