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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds PROFESSOR KATHY ARMOUR: Welcome to this video. This video is about the complex case of each individual learner. In this section, we’re going to spend a little bit of time focusing on the complexities of the learners that we encounter every day. Maxine Greene was a famous educational philosopher. And she used to say that we can learn a lot by looking at our learners and our everyday practices with what she called “fresh eyes.” So we’re going to have a little go at looking at our everyday practices with fresh eyes today. Throughout this whole section we want you to think about the children that you teach as individuals.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds We want to think about each individual learner as a complex learner, and to see what kinds of understanding we can get about them by doing it that way; and also what knowledge do you need as a PE teacher to help you to get the best, best learning opportunities for each of those children. So here at the University of Birmingham we’ve embarked on a new project. The aim was to do just what I’ve just explained, was to look at each individual learner in a slightly different way. So we developed something called pedagogical cases. And you can see we put them together in a book. And in this book we have 20 of these cases. So what exactly is a pedagogical case?

Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds Well the first thing I can say is that it’s a new term. We created it to describe this model that we decided we wanted to develop. If I give you an example, it might make it easier to understand. So for example, in Ireland, a team of academics with a pedagogy academic also, developed a case around a young boy aged 15 who’s a very keen PE person. He loves his PE lessons. He loves sport. He’s into all aspects of school life. He throws himself 100% into everything. So he’s not a problem child in any way.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 seconds But what’s interesting about him is that he and his friends feel a lot of pressure to be fit, and to be buff, and to grow the muscles so that they can really feel grown up, I suppose. And you’ll probably recognize this from the children that you interact with. So what do they do? Well he and his friends in this story that was created about them, they decided to go on the internet using one of the parents’ credit cards to find some drugs to help them to be more, as they saw it, to be more fit. So the narrative is built around the kinds of pressures– physiological, psychological, social– that are often felt by boys of that age.

Skip to 2 minutes and 45 seconds And again, I think you’ll recognize that. So each of these cases– and there are 20 of them– are written by academic teams from around the world about a single learner. And we’re not suggesting that that learner is typical of all learners. Instead, we’re just providing examples of how, when you take a child and look at the complexities of their lives, you learn all sorts of things which will impact upon them as learners. And that’s the purpose of the pedagogical cases. So why did we embark upon this project to develop pedagogical cases? What was the prompt for all that? I think there were two things.

Skip to 3 minutes and 23 seconds First of all, as I said at the beginning, we really wanted to think about looking at our young learners with fresh eyes, to see what else we could learn about them. We learned straight away actually that single learners, when you really focus on them, are complex and fascinating. The other thing that’s really interesting about you as PE teachers, and in some ways you’re unique, is the nature of your subject matter means that there is a lot of knowledge from a lot of disciplines that could be of great interest to you. So that could range from physiology to psychology to pedagogy to sociology to neuroscience to digital humanities– you name it. These things all impinge on your practice.

Skip to 4 minutes and 5 seconds So for example, even in my own school here at the University of Birmingham, the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, I’ve got lots of researchers working in areas that you as PE teachers would find interesting. For example

Skip to 4 minutes and 37 seconds DR.

Skip to 4 minutes and 37 seconds LEIGH BREEN: My research interests center on studying skeletal muscle metabolism. Skeletal muscles are really important tissue, and that’s true across the whole wide course, whether you’re a child or in your old age as well. Skeletal muscle plays a really important role in our metabolism, but also our movement and activity. In my latest research, myself and my project team have been trying to understand why it is that older people lose muscle as they age. What we found is that a large part of that response is due to natural biological aging. But also another part of it is due to inactivity and also obesity as well.

Skip to 5 minutes and 10 seconds In our future research, we’re striving to understand how exercise and nutrition can help old people to maintain muscle and function as they age. Thanks Leon. I think it’s really interesting that you make those points about aging and obesity and physical activity, which basically is what we’re all about. Thanks very much. DR.

Skip to 5 minutes and 25 seconds LEIGH BREEN: Bye now.

Skip to 5 minutes and 32 seconds PROFESSOR KATHY ARMOUR: Oh, hi Jet. DR.

Skip to 5 minutes and 34 seconds JET VELDHUIJZEN VAN ZANTEN: Hello. I’m a senior lecturer in biological psychology. And my research is related to encouraging people, clinical populations, to become physically active. So I work with people with rheumatoid arthritis, and people with multiple sclerosis. And we are trying to develop exercise programs that will help them to become physically active. Because we know that there are lots of health benefits for that. But it’s really hard for people with conditions that involve fatigue and pain to become physically active.

Skip to 6 minutes and 7 seconds PROFESSOR KATHY ARMOUR: Thank you Really interesting. DR.

Skip to 6 minutes and 9 seconds JET VELDHUIJZEN VAN ZANTEN: OK.

Skip to 6 minutes and 10 seconds PROFESSOR KATHY ARMOUR: All right. We’re off. Oh hello, Ian. DR.

Skip to 6 minutes and 14 seconds IAN BOARDLEY: Hello, Kathy. My name’s Dr. Ian Boardley. I’m a senior lecturer in sports psychology. And my main research area is looking at performance-enhancing drug use, and some of the psychological and social factors that might influence use of performance-enhancing drugs. Currently we’re looking at issues such as do using nutritional supplements, does that make you more susceptible to using performance-enhancing drugs? And we’re also looking to develop interventions– and test those interventions– that might deter people from using performance-enhancing drugs. In terms of the relevance of that for PE teachers, I think it’s important for PE teachers working with children to understand these factors so they can teach in an appropriate manner, and also make children aware of the importance of these issues.

Skip to 6 minutes and 59 seconds PROFESSOR KATHY ARMOUR: So you really need access to quite a lot of material in a digestible form. That actually means you’re not just reading all day and not teaching. So that’s why we developed pedagogical cases as a model to make research accessible and interesting and relevant.

The complex case of the learner

All individual learners have complex, diverse and individual needs.

Outstanding teachers are able to diagnose these learning needs and plan for effective learning journeys for each student.

This video focusses on the complex learning needs young people may have in our lessons, year groups or schools. It introduces the pedagogical cases model and how we can use research from physiology, nutrition, digital humanities and a whole host of other disciplines to diagnose students’ individual and diverse learning needs.

In the next step, we provide you with a complete pedagogical case study to consider.

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This video is from the free online course:

Outstanding Physical Education Lessons

University of Birmingham