CAIS Physical Education Teachers on pushing boundaries

June 3, 2021

Physical Education is one of the best examples to help us reimagine the physical setting of a learning space during Covid.

While the education space might not be ‘business as usual’, it certainly has spurred us to embrace digital. Both teachers and students are doing things a little different with a dose of resilience and creativity to make learning possible within and beyond a traditional classroom.

We catch up with Mr Chun-Man Fong, Primary School PE Team Lead, and Mr Timothy Jong, High School PE Teacher discuss the challenges and successes that they have, student engagement and things they hope students would keep on experiencing going forward.

Chun-Man: C
Timothy: T

When did you join CAIS? How have you found your teaching journey so far?

C&T: We both joined CAIS since its start at Butterfly Valley.  Our teaching journeys have been one filled with growth, relationships, and an abundance of joy and we take each step of that journey with gratitude, prayer and purpose.

It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to develop and equip young people with knowledge and confidence to use their body to move with purpose, build character through teamwork and leadership, and equip them with the soft skills they need to positively contribute to those around them.

How do you structure the lessons and develop initiatives to deepen students’ engagement during remote learning ?

C: Remote learning has been very difficult for our Primary students, parents and teachers. One of the ways that has helped deepen students’ engagement was by creating custom videos that are specifically designed for our PE lessons. This took a lot more work from the teachers, but our students were much more engaged.

T: In high school, to encourage engagement during our remote learning we used this unique opportunity to introduce a variety of individual pursuit activities student’s may have not previously been exposed to such as, wushu, tai chi, dance, boxing, and many more.

Prerecorded lessons are also a key to help students to engage during live Zoom lessons, as well as review different movements and skills after the completion of class.

What were some of the challenges you faced during online teaching and the transition between virtual and on-campus teaching? How have you tried to overcome them?

C&T: For teaching online PE in Hong Kong the challenges are space, safety, and how much fun our lessons were. With different amounts of space available for the students and teachers, it was difficult to provide an effective vantage point for students to see proper demonstrations of the skills being taught. This led us to prerecord lessons at school so that we could provide students with resources to see an effective demonstration of the skills for feedback and reinforcement of their learning.

The transition to face-to-face learning was one that everyone welcomed, so that was an easy transition.

What successes did you have?  

C: We define success by how engaged and how much effort students gave during PE. Whether it was that they tried to their best to follow a dance, that they remembered all the gymnastics shapes, or perform one more repetition of a fitness exercise, it’s seeing them improve that defines our success in PE.

T: Seeing students being able to adapt quickly and remain active in the past year was one of the successes we have.

What have you been doing to encourage students to keep on top of their physical fitness and mental health during remote learning?

C: Students like doing exercises with their classmates and their PE teacher. We try to keep the lessons fun by doing things together, playing music and praising effort during remote learning.

T: Once we have established how our physical and mental health are intrinsically linked, I have provided examples of how I have been remaining active and provided further resources of sites and videos that can be used by the students during their remote learning to remain physically and mentally healthy.

Have you learned something new through this experience that you might consider in future PE classes with students?

C&T: I think we could all agree that videos are a very useful resource for students. The Flipped Classroom model (a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school) is one that we may consider adopting in the future to reduce instruction time and increase active learning time. The use of video also reinforces learning cues taught during lessons which has been an effective practice.

What did our students and teachers experience in 2020 that you want them to keep on experiencing in 2021 and onwards?

C&T: Our students kept a positive attitude, tried their best no matter the circumstance and were more grateful for face-to-face learning afterwards. These were challenging experiences that I hope will turn into good memories for everyone. We are also hoping students will remain adaptable, resilient, and reliant on God.