Tuesday, May 15, 2007

GCE PE Study Trip to UK -Day 8 @ Ruskin Sports College

We travelled to Ruskin Sports College today to see how their GCE PE O Levels were run as well as their BTEC PE programme.

We were met by Nicola Topley, the Deputy Head Teacher and Director of the PE programme there. Ruskin has a wide range of students with mixed abilities and they use PE as a model to teach language, science and maths. For example: students might be asked to interview a local sports club for their English paper. We also saw their BTEC PE programme. The BTEC accredidation is worth 4 subjects at GCE O-levels and is based entirely on course-work. It was formulated with to allow students who need a more hands-on approach the breadth and depth to learn through self-discovery, at their own pace and to decide the mode of their learning.
Here we see Nicola assigning work for her BTEC class:

Much of the BTEC involves students setting their own assignments in consultation with their teachers. So students are not spoon-fed answers but rather required to work them out for themselves- this requires more attention from the teachers and also a much smaller teacher-student ration than we are used to in Sinapore: i.e. here it is 1 teacher to 10 students for BTEC

After seeing the BTEC theory class, we saw a PE lesson in Ruskin. Again, we see the boys and girls being split up and taugh in seperate groups such that they are able to be less self-conscious and also allowed to develop at their own pace.

It is interesting to see how students are assigned not only leadership roles in class but also teaching roles as part of their learning process. Here we see the girls, taking turns to lead warm-ups with their partners and discussing the motions of the fore-arm swing with their teacher.

After PE, we had a small tour of the school and were shown the various sporting achievements of Ruskins by a group of students.

Last but not least, we had the distinct pleasure and honor of meeting with Carol Hackman. Carol is an examiner and moderator for GCSE PE with the AQA Examination Board. Carol is part of the pioneer group of teachers that developed and implemented the syllabus for GCSE PE from its initial inception all the way back in 1979. In fact, the revision guide that our hosting schools recommended, was actually written by her! (Mr Sng and I made sure we got here to autograph our copies.. heh heh, power!)

Carol gave us a strong and direct insight into the assessment process of GCSE PE and although the AQA is a different board from the one that schools in Singapore will be subsribing to (we are folloing the CIE board- Cambridge International Examinations and the format of both our practical and theory papers will differ from both AQA, Edexcel and OCR boards in the UK) it was a fantastic experience to be able to talk to her and glean her insights into the teaching and assessment of PE.

It was really a fantastic way to end our study trip by having the chance to converse and dialogue with one of the pioneers of the GCSE PE program in person. Our thanks to all the hosting schools: Eaton Bank, Sandbach Girls and Ruskin Sports College

Mr Sng and I made sure we took a glorious photo with Carol before we left- after all, she did write the much acclaimed and vital GCSE PE Revision Guide- our 'bible' in the coming years.

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