Organic PE

What is it?

The concept

Organic PE is about taking the concept of project based learning and applying it to PE. The idea being that once a basic skill level haas been achieved by pupils the focus goes to application, decision making, leadership and adaptability to further develop the pupil. Following the work around Physical Literacy it can be used as a way of engaging all students in activity and highlighting the skills needed to be an active participant in lots of activities.


Step 1

Introduce all of the skills that you feel are required, following a physical literacy model this will include practical skills, knowledge of rules, confidence and motivation, planning, evaluating, teamwork etc This would have been developed from primary school through locomotor skills and body management through to application to sport/activity specific work in KS3.

Step 2

Depending on the stage of the learners you then get them to take on the responsibility for where their learning takes them. For instance, at Y9 you may feel that you are simply repeating the practice of drills. From a coaching point this may be of value but is not necessarily engaging all students. Instead give problems that need solving. Allow the students to work in groups and let them identify the areas they feel important to improve or develop. An example may be;

"You are in the last 2 minutes of a basketball game. You are 4 points behind and have possession of the ball. What are you going to do?"

It would be easy for the teacher to discuss this and then highlight what they should do. However it is important for the students to apply their knowledge to the situation, find the weaknesses and develop them. This is not simply a lesson to play through the scenario but a chance for students to set their own scheme of work looking at their groups strengths and weaknesses.

Step 3

The students discuss the scenario and plan out their scheme looking at the activities the will do each week to improve as a team. This brings out their self reflection on where they are and where they need to be, they have to plan, perform and evaluate, they will need different roles to help keep them on track and they will be demonstrating their confidence and motivation in order to do well.

Step 4

Over the course of the project the teachers role is to support and advise on areas, to provide resources to compliment the practices that the students want to develop. It would be useful to document this learning through video analysis to demonstrate progress.


What's the point?

For starters it is useless if teachers are the ones that always dictate how things are done. If students rely on us to make the decisions how can we expect them to look at sport outside of school as something they have control of. It also allows for students that may not enjoy all aspects of sport (think individual/creative sports as opposed to team sports) to find a way to engage in the activity and apply their full range of skills. It also allows them a place to see how the things that we hold important in sport (teamwork, motivation, communication etc) are demonstrated.

Anything else?

The added benefit f this approach is how simple it is to embed the literacy and numeracy into session. In order to check strengths and weaknesses students can do some data analysis of their performance to see what they should work on. Looking at percentages, averages etc they are using numeracy to impact on their PE. In discussing, planning and evaluating they are using literacy skills in order to develop their scheme and to highlight what they can do to improve. Nothing extra, nothing bolted on but the use of literacy and numeracy to improve sporting ability.

Mathew Pullen