Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Through Physical Activity

Learning does not happen by osmosis. Social skills, as with other learning competencies, must be taught, modelled, reinforced and self-evaluated regularly and consistently, if we are intent on making a positive difference in the lives of children.


I am currently Deputy Principal of Onerahi Primary School, Whangarei, New Zealand. www.onerahi.school.nz

Onerahi is a U5 Primary School of approximately 470 pupils.

Since late 2005 Onerahi School began its journey of developing an integrated inquiry approach to its delivery of The New Zealand Curriculum.

My key role is to lead the curriculum direction and Teacher Professional Development for the school.

In order to prepare learners for their future and not our past, many teachers overlook the opportunities to deliberately teach personal and social and responsibility within meaningful contexts. In doing so, many wonder why they spend time and effort preparing engaging lessons only to find themselves having to manage children's behaviour and losing sight of, and passion for, the reason they chose their profession.

Since my introduction to Don Hellison's model of Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Through Physical Activity (TPSR) I have adapted a number of his strategies for developing personally and socially responsible learners in a primary classroom setting.

By using authentic goal setting with physical activity as the foundation, teachers are able to empower their students with the strategies to take responsibility for their own learning and the learning of others. These strategies can be easily transferred and integrated into daily lessons. They challenge students to take responsibility for their learning in and beyond their classroom. For me constructing new ways to do this with the students no only makes a positive difference to the classroom culture, but continues to make the craft of teaching an enjoyable creative endeavour.

When underpinned by the values and principles of TPSR, this approach transforms from being a behaviour management tool to a philosophy and culture of learning for both the teacher and their students.

I have presented examples of my approach to using the Hellison Model at a number of national and international conferences in New Zealand and have led professional development for a range of Auckland and Northland Schools. I continue to promote this teaching philosophy and encourages critical reflection through physical activity in my in own school.

Use the links in the navigation space to find out more about the Responsibility Model

or email me at richard.j@onerahi.school.nz

Before you begin... ask yourself WHY?

What are you striving for as a teacher?

Why do you want to your students to be personally and sociably responsible?

As Simon Sinek says "Start with Why"

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If you do not understand or believe "the why", you will not be striving for it to happen.

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