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A model for inquiry in PE

Andy Vasily

Andy Vasily, PE teacher at Nanjing International School in China

This article illustrates an example of a model of inquiry created for physical education.

“The true meaning of inquiry is often debated as many people have varying points of view in regards to what it looks like and how it is best applied in the classroom. I think we all agree when people say that it needs to be student initiated as this type of inquiry paves the way for genuine and authentic learning experiences regardless of subject area. Inquiry comes in many different forms and what works well for one person may not necessarily be best for the next person. Good inquiry is a skill that needs to be constantly refined by both students and teachers in an effort to improve learning.

The model of inquiry that I created for PE has helped me to think about my own teaching practice on a deeper level. I see it more as a journey that allows students to move back and forth between learning phases as they consolidate their knowledge. PE is very much skills based, but I firmly believe that the enduring and lasting concepts play more of a pivotal role, in the long run, than the skills related to sport. However, I do not in anyway downplay the importance of kids being as active as possible in PE. My model for inquiry in PE consists of 5 distinct phases which flow throughout the unit. These phases are as follows:

Phase 1: Introduction
Phase 2: Initial Learning Experiences
Phase 3: More Directed and Specific Learning Experiences
Phase 4: Culmination
Phase 5: Students Taking Action

This model works well for me and has definitely helped me to create and design more engaging PE units for my students. I am happy to share this with you, but am in no way saying this model is best!  We are all different in the way we learn and teach. I only offer this model for your consideration.”

The original article appears in Andy’s blog here.

Andy Vasily has been teaching internationally at authorized IB World Schools for the past 11 years. Andy writes about his experiences teaching PE in a PYP school in his blog “PYP PE with Andy“. You can follow him on Twitter @andyvasily.

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9 Responses to A model for inquiry in PE

  1. DeLane 26 September 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Excellent work Andy. I love the visual model for inquiry in PE. Also, your blog is great. Very detailed and highly informative.

  2. Cloudette 1 October 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    This is a really great article! Thanks for sharing.

  3. walter da silva jr 8 October 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    first of all I would like to congratulate you for sharing your experiences with all of us PE teacher. this is noble,beautiful and great attitude.
    I work for another PYP school here in são paulo,brazil (st francis college) and I`m very well impressed with your way of teaching .congratulations again.I hope we can share our experiences. my best regards.

  4. Lelly Cama 21 March 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    I really like your model Andy.It will really helpful to me in my P.E lessons.Please assist me with more resources since I am this is just my 5th year in PYP P.E.Thanks for your model.

  5. Tom N 4 November 2015 at 2:52 am #

    That was a very creative work. I really like it and I still remember your session at EARCOS two years a go. Thanks Andy.

  6. James Thomas 16 February 2016 at 7:03 pm #

    Excellent post indeed. I really like the graphs that you show.

  7. Manasi bhingarde 18 November 2016 at 5:45 am #

    Thanks for your guidance about inquiry based class. It will definitely help me in my P.E class. This is my 1st year in PYP , I’ll need more help from your side to make my PE lecture more interactive.

  8. Erkin 6 December 2016 at 8:21 am #

    Excellent job on making this post. This is a authentic visual outline teaching in learning cycle. I just to make a remark to your point when emphasized downplay the importance of kids being as active as possible in PE. i think this is very challenging to support inquiry and learn concept through physical activity. however i believe as PYP PE we create a lot of opportunity for inquiry based learning in game situation but i guess there is not much time to reflect on. Because i want my students to be physical activity as much as possible since they learn skills and knowledge through the play.

    However i have seen many PE teachers authentically integrating inquiry based learning without missing movement component.

  9. Dr.Raya 6 August 2018 at 9:16 am #

    Thanks a lot Mr.Andy.This is Dr.Raya,Emeritus Principal,started a school with IB Curriculum in a rural place in S.India.

    Your article is very helpful in understanding the inquiry based learning.My P.E Team would learn much more from your

    posts.Thanks for sharing.GOD BLESS YOU !!!

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