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EPE #310

Inquiry Learning in Phys Ed

Inquiry based learning. I have heard that phrase many times throughout the last few years in education. In Saskatchewan’s revamped/revised curriculum, inquiry based learning has played a large role in changing the pedagogical approach of teaching. As part of inquiry learning, students are encouraged to question, explore and examine the curriculum. Instead of drilling students with facts and information, they are given opportunities to inquire and problem solve.

As I was going through my physical education curriculum tonight, I came across a section titled, ” Creating Questions for Inquiry in Physical Education”. The first thing that came to my mind was, how would you do that? For some reason, I didn’t see how physical education and inquiry based learning fit together. As I continued to read the text, I saw the following, ” In physical education, effective questions are the key to fostering students’ critical thinking and problem solving”. Below that were some key inquiry questions that could be used in a physical education class. After reading that section, I started to wonder why I didn’t view phys ed as a subject with inquiry based learning. I believe that inquiry learning is crucial in every subject, but why did it sound so strange in terms of physical education? After some careful consideration, I realized that my hesitation stemmed from my own education in phys ed. Like many others, my physical education experience was limited. I don’t ever recall having a teacher use inquiry learning, or problem solving, or even teach the three goals of education ( active living, skilful movement and relationships).

When reflecting on my university phys ed class, I realized that my professor Brian had used a type of inquiry learning with us. While giving instructions on an activity, Brian presented enough information for our class to understand, but the instructions were somewhat ambiguous. It was up to us students to become problem solvers and make decisions on how we interpreted this information. Each student reacted differently depending on their understanding of  the instruction, and that was O.K. Brian didn’t need to tell us what to do because we were fully capable of making those inquires, and solving problems ourselves.

I believe that the combination of reading and participating in inquiry learning were very important for me. Physical education can and should include meaningful inquiry questions. Students are fully capable of exploring and questioning their surroundings. It is crucial that as educators we understand inquiry learning in each and every subject. I look forward to learning how to effectively incorporate  inquiry based learning in my own phys ed classes.


About porterjen

I am a pre-service teacher studying at the University of Regina. I have created this blog to follow the weekly events of my physical education class. I look forward to updating my first professional blog!


2 thoughts on “Inquiry Learning in Phys Ed

  1. Great thoughts, Jenny. I also kind of wondered about inquiry learning – is it safe to allow freedom in what can be a big and dangerous classroom? However, I think Brian is doing a great job of showing us a more “structured” type of inquiry learning. I also thought back to KHS 139 and how we were provided with criteria (use two foot jump, backwards roll, etc) that had to be met (outcomes/indicators) but were given freedom in the creation of a routine to show our development/mastery of this criteria. I think this is also a good way to allow some inquiry learning in Phys Ed.

    Posted by Chelsea Youngson | January 16, 2012, 1:14 am
  2. Thanks Chelsea! I haven’t actually had KHS 139 yet! But I agree that allowing students to create their own routine is one aspect of inquiry learning. It provides a very hands and creative approach to Phys Ed. I look forward to taking that class in my last semester.

    Posted by porterjen | January 17, 2012, 12:52 am

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