Director of Sports and Activities, Paul Rotheram, explains how live online lessons allow teachers to show their creativity, and students to remain active at home
The beginning of Term 3 has brought about a renewed focus for the Shrewsbury International School, Riverside’s Physical Education (P.E) Department. Understanding that a healthy body is as important as a healthy mind, Paul Rotheram, Shrewsbury’s Director of Sport, has instructed his staff to begin live classes with students. The results? Students logging-on from around the city to collectively participate in some excellent sessions with enthusiastic and active staff. Mr Rotheram explains.
The P.E department are really upping their game in terms of live lessons and recorded challenges, what do you hope to achieve from these more interactive lessons?
The P.E Department recognises the importance of both academic learning and exercise in equal measure. Therefore, we want all students to be engaged and take part in regular physical activity while continuing their knowledge within our subject areas. The classes allow students and teachers to bond and be reactive energetically and actively. In no way does online learning mean we have to miss out on exercise. In fact, it’s more important to be physically active if we have been online more than usual on a typical day.
How important is staying active through the COVID-19 crisis?
Being physically active throughout the COVID-19 crisis is hugely essential; ensuring you are physically fit, healthy and well means that your immune system is fully supported. Also, regular physical activity is widely recognised as an important factor in mental wellbeing and stability.
How are teachers responding to the new live classes?
The Physical Education teachers are having to adapt to online learning just like everyone else. Lessons which would typically take place on a sports field, sports hall or swimming pool are now taking place in front of a laptop. Teachers are working hard to be creative, flexible and adapt to feedback appropriately.
Do you have any examples?
There are a wide range of ways our teachers are encouraging pupils to move about more. Our swimming coaches have demonstrated how to swim without a pool, and our EY PE teachers have been recording videos and dances which encourage coordination, physical movement and balance in our younger students. A number of our older students are sharing their quite intense physical workouts with their teachers with a healthy sense of competition. In addition, we are embracing the ‘challenge’ mentality trending on social media. Our teachers have posted items such as press-up challenges, throwing skills and so on, and are planning many more.
What has been the most challenging aspect of school closure?
With a mindset of getting outside and being active, it is unique that we find ourselves in front of a computer screen. The irony is not lost on us! However, we do our best to be innovative and share ideas to limit the negative association as much as possible. One example is Ms Hannah Rawlinson’s yoga class, where students are encouraged to be mindful and relax at the end of the session. In our Early Years Classes, we are devising activities where children are asked to step away from the screen and involve their families.
What else is coming up in the P.E and Sports department?
We are also the way we think about physical exercise, and you can look forward to some themed days such as movement Monday, Takeover Tuesday (with our sports coaches) and many more. As mentioned above, all staff are ready for the challenge, from our strength and conditioning experts, to our incredibly creative swim team. We are working hard to keep the energy alive within the curriculum, rest assured.
Keep an eye out for some individual sessions from elite athletes which we hope to post on YouTube soon.
Visit the P.E. Website HERE