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Building Bridges: Major Themes in #PhysEd Series

There is a gap between teachers in their gyms and academics in their universities.

The fact that I spent the last ten minutes trying to figure out how to phrase that so as to minimize the backlash from academics that may or may not read this blog (to the two of you who are reading this, I have no evidence… please be gentle), is proof enough to me that the gap exists.

It’s a shame that practitioners (everyday teachers like you and me) and academics don’t get along better than they do (assumptions, I know…)

“Practitioners aren’t using any evidence on which to base their teaching”

“Academics haven’t taught an actual PE class in years”

“Non-reflective practitioners are the reason our field is laughed at”

“Academics are pompous ‘beings’ that live in ivory towers”

Enough.

Its annoying to hear these types of conversations happening again and again and again. These conversations don’t move physical education forward, they slow it down. They hurt it.

It’s time we all start talking to each other as professionals. Its time we build a bridge.

Ash Casey is doing that. He might have a PhD (Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy), but he also has a Twitter account that has been active since February 2010 and a Klout score over 50 (think what you want about Klout, this shows Ash knows how to engage with others online). He also helps me out with #pechat, and has told me time and time again that he considers it to be important for him to do.

With every tweet he sends out, Ash adds a bit to the bridge he’s helping to build. On top of that, he’s now gone and started a blog post series where he takes complicated research articles (the ones you and me struggle to read through but that academics read like the back of a cereal box) and translates them into plain English.

He’s making research accessible to practitioners so that we can do something with it.

Ash isn’t alone in this, there are others who have dedicated their careers to advancing physical education and who have dedicate their free time to sharing what they discover with the #physed network on Twitter. Vicky, Shane, Kelly, and Dean are also all doing this, in their own way (Dean if you don’t post a comment that makes at least three people feel upset, I’ll be disappointed). You should follow them too.

So here’s what I’d ask of you. Check out Ash’s Major Themes in Physical Education blog post series (he’s already got three posts up). Start a conversation with other Twitter academics on what you find there. Try some of the ideas out in your gym. Finally, once you’ve done all that, get back to the academics you know with any data/observations you may have collected.

Let’s not leave Ash alone in this bridge building.

Let’s mend things and push Physical Education forward.

Here are links to the first three posts in Ash’s Major Themes in Physical Education blog post series:

The importance of what is said and what is done in the name of physical education

Movement is as much a part of physical education as its analysis

The role of the teacher in moral education

Thanks for reading!

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Joey Feith is the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com. He currently teaches elementary physical education at St. George’s School of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.

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