by Claire Miller
After listening patiently to a short explanation of movement and balance, 14 three-, four- and five-year-olds from the College of Education’s Child Development Center were given the go-ahead to move freely around room 260 of the Georgia State University Sports Arena.
For most of the children, this meant running and skipping around brightly-colored traffic cones set out around the room. But it wasn’t long before they were using those traffic cones to keep them steady while they practiced balancing on one leg or as a halfway point to reach while they learned to hop like frogs.
Participants in the Department of Kinesiology and Health’s Model-Based Instruction (MBI) Workshop in July led the children through these exercises, which not only gave their pupils an understanding of basic movement concepts but also allowed them to practice using different physical education instructional models in a P.E. class setting.
The three-day workshop, hosted by the faculty in the COE’s Health and Physical Education program, was designed with three tracks – one for elementary physical education, one for secondary health and physical education and one for teacher education programs – so that sessions would be tailored to the needs of the teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, and teacher education faculty members who attended.
Each session began with an overview of a different instructional model and led into a group activity so that attendees could put these new models to the test.
“When you try to understand what instructional models are, think of them as blueprints for teaching and learning,” said COE Professor Mike Metzler, one of the workshop’s leaders, during the opening session. “It should give you a pretty good picture of what kids will be learning and how you'll be teaching.”
Kristy Reidy, who teaches physical education to kindergarten through sixth grade students in Cherokee County, Ga., said the workshop presented the opportunity for her to learn from colleagues who teach in other schools.
“You can always gain so much insight from talking to other teachers about how they teach,” she said. “I’ve got so many ideas on different teaching techniques now.”
Trey Leech, assistant professor of physical education at the University of Northern Iowa and one of the workshop attendees, said he hopes other schools follow Georgia State’s lead in teaching health and physical education students the benefits of model-based instruction.
“It’s an emerging way of teaching, and Georgia State is the only place I know that’s teaching it,” Leech said. “This is a model program that will hopefully be used by teacher education programs nationally.”
For more information about the Department of Kinesiology and Health, visit http://education.gsu.edu/KIN/index.htm.