Putting the “Glitz and Glam” into Learning and teaching via Minor Games


Note: All opinions expressed on this blog are opinions only and are open to debate, and have been based on experiences. Please express your opinion in a respectable manner at all times.

Being remembered is important when it comes to learning. Throughout my life I have seen the relevance of capturing a moment and making it your own. I have also seen the use of gimmicks, head turning moments or what I like to call memory makers, to turn boring ideas into the best things that a person could do.
What does this all mean when it comes to education, especially in my field of Physical Education?
Teachers often get to the end of a class and say to their students “What did you learn today”. I would ask teachers the same question. Teachers are no different to professional actors and entertainers. We all must be able to ‘work the crowd’, make them believe, open their minds to learning, and most importantly transfer to them the ability to retain vital information so that they can apply it when necessary.
In my experience, the energy and enthusiasm of teachers, especially Physical Education (PE) teachers have to be high. I ask you this though – does it take a special person to really make an impact on students and on society in general? Someone with high energy levels is critical but in some cases people dismiss these people as ‘ants in their pants’. I firmly believe that you need something extra and although I cannot explain what it is in a scientific way I honestly believe my drive to succeed would be compromised if it wasn’t for the fact that I enjoy what I do and if I am having fun it’s infectious!
Over the past 4 years I have put to the test a theory about opening the minds of individual and teams of teachers and students in the PE setting. I wanted to see if they could remember certain games and see the relevance of playing them.
Putting a little bit of Rock n Roll, a little bit of glitz and glam into the activities that are taught can leave a memory but also help with remembering skills, creating a moment where someone might feel a change in their thinking, understanding that cognitively creating a new mind set or thought process that could aid the child in life. Doesn’t seem like rocket science does it – after all how many of us look back on key events and interventions from teachers who made things memorable and fun? WE can connect a game to any skill or strategy that we would like to teach, but also as teachers increasing the amount of activities with relevance only can improve our student’s results and the teacher and student relationship.
One example I have used is changing the name of games and implementing a story or adventure or something that the child or teacher can relate to. Games like Rats and Rabbits changed to Cowboys/Girls and Indians, Splitz Attack (Denis Slade, 2010) changed to Tribal Charge and Rob the Nest to Rob the Tribe replacing these tired games with an American Indian theme. This may seem like a simple concept, but too often it is not done regularly or on a continual basis. And it needs to be to ensure that games and ideas are fresh and have relevance for students and teachers.

1. Slade.D.(2010).Attack and Defence Tactics. Transforming Play; Teaching Tactics and Game Sense. Human Kinetics, South Australia p.63

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