Being a physical educations teacher I have had to analyze several situations putting in all my experiences and learning. Once, after I had finished demonstrating a forward roll to my physical education class it was required that my students are distributed on their mats so that they can begin practicing as well. It was required that I quickly move from one student to another to obtain feedback. But soon I realize that even before I reach the students and correct them they will commit an error and get habituated to them. (Wood, 1998) I firmly believe by Jean Piaget that children possess enough individuality in the context of cognitive structure and they actively construct knowledge (Schunk, 2004).
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Thus, I need to immediately provide my students with feedback right after they make any mistakes. But this is a nearly impossible task since I cannot immediately reach my students after they have committed some mistake in taking a forward roll. Such a scenario can only be handled by employing the theory of peer assessment where a student can be used to assess the performance of their classmates. Thus, in such a situation I used peer assessment both as a means of formative assessment, which is a non-evaluative way of examining my student’s progress and also as a learning means. Peer assessment can be considered to be a variant of peer teaching that is employed by several physical educators as an instructional set-up where every student is responsible for assisting each other after receiving proper instructions from me, their teacher (Clark, Nguyen, and Sweller, 2006).
Peer assessment confers to the constructivist theory learning intervention, along with several theorists like Maria Montessori, Lev Vygotsky, Jerome Brenner, and Jean Piaget, which implies that students will be able to generate meaning and knowledge through their experiences. To handle such a scenario I too have used my understanding of the constructivist theory by acting as a facilitator since the theory says that instructors are facilitators. Thus, having adapted to my role as a facilitator and not just simply as a teacher I helped my students understand the forward role properly. I supported them instead of lecturing them so that they could teach each other (Sweller, 2003).
This too is among the interventions of the constructivist theory which says that learners must have collaboration among themselves. Only when my students learn to collaborate among themselves and help each other will they be able to understand how to effectively carry out a forward roll. Instead of providing the students with my feedback, I provide them with the necessary guidelines so that an environment was created where the students themselves could determine the proper way of carrying out a forward roll by the approach of Jerome Bruner who believed in the use of learner’s creativity. This also is an implementation of Lev Vygotsky’s theory who believed that children can learn better with help. I identify the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) put down by Vygotsky and instead of giving them a long speech I continuously interacted with them which is what a facilitator must do (Duckworth, 2006).
Further, the interaction and prevalence of the above-given theories suggest that in such a scenario there should be a dynamic interaction among the instructor, students, and the task being performed, which in this case is a forward roll. The constructivist theory suggests that a student and instructor are uniformly involved with a learning process which makes each other’s learning process objective as well as subjective. Since my students will certainly make some mistakes, I as the instructor was aware of their viewpoints about the forward roll so that I could correct them whenever they committed a mistake (Sweller, 1999).
For me it is very important what my students think about their tasks since only when they can properly perform their tasks, will they be able to help their peers. For this, I tried to develop an environment in my class that would completely support their thinking. My learning has also taught me that I should give my students ownership of both problem and the solution so that the solution becomes adequate. Thus, I supported my students when they tried to correct the mistakes that were made by their peers (Jeffery, 2005).
It is necessary that to handle such scenarios we understand the interrelations that exist among the theories utilized. The theories that I had to use to tackle such a problem include peer collaboration, constructivist theory learning intervention, cognitive apprenticeship, reciprocal teaching, and problem-based instructions. The main relation that exists among these theories is that all of them suggest that the best way the students can train themselves for physical education is if they learn with each other in collaboration. By allowing them to collaborate I tried to create a zone of proximal understanding and development (Clark, Nguyen, and Sweller, 2006).
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I gave my students the independence to solve their problems increasing their potentiality and development as per the theories of Maria Montessori. I properly guided them so that they could train by collaborating with their fellow students where the more capable one helped those who were lacking behind. Such a process consisting of scaffolding allowed my students to extend themselves beyond their maturation levels to such an extent that their development process was at par with their learning process. Allowing the students to assume responsibility increased their involvement in the learning process, their social interactions, and trust in each other enabling the performers to gather their feedback (Jeffery, 2005).
- Clark, R., Nguyen, F., and Sweller, J. (2006). Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
- Duckworth, E. R. (2006). “The having of wonderful ideas” and other essays on teaching and learning. Third edition. New York: Teachers College Press.
- Jeffery, G. (2005) The creative college: building a successful learning culture in the arts. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.
- Schunk, D. H. (2004). Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective. Fourth Edition, London: Merrill Prentice Hall.
- Sweller, J. (1999). Instructional design in technical areas. Camberwell, Australia: ACER Press.
- Sweller, J. (2003). Evolution of human cognitive architecture. In B. Ross (Ed.), The Psychology of Learning and Motivation. San Diego: Academic Press.
- Wood, D. (1998) How Children Think and Learn. 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.