I was really excited to see a focus on “sports specific skills and tactics.” I think it’s really important to not only develop movement, but develop pupil’s knowledge regarding gameplay and how to approach certain game types. I liked the way the jigsaw displayed the structure of learning.  The Fundamentals of Movement are at the bottom, they include key building blocks such as balance, co-ordination, agility and speed.  Next are the fundamental game skills and movement skills including spacing, passing and moving , throwing and running.  Finally they had sport specific skills and tactics.

The activities which they then demonstrated were well organised and appropriate with clear progressions and pathways. However I think the biggest area of interest was the pedagogical approach and how the jigsaw was laid out.

I then rounded out the day with my final two workshops, Yoga and Managing Conflict. The yoga was excellent and the tutor explained how yoga can be linked to gymnastics in many different ways. The way she combined the stretches with the relaxation techniques linked really well into mental wellbeing and if we can help our pupils improve their ability to relax, which can only be a good thing.

The managing conflict workshop was eye-opening. An area I have always found difficult is improving pupil’s abilities in dealing with conflict. Again this is another reason why P.E is such a vital subject , because it addresses life skills, the ability to communicate with others, reason with them, create solutions and work together. The tutor explained his “think tank” process in which pupils who disagreed would take a seat in the “think tank”. They would then take turns explaining their feelings and come up with a solution before leaving. He discussed how important it was to follow and teach the pupils the process and dealing with conflict is a skill. I saw how this could be linked to Sport Education in which pupils/teams could be rewarded points for using the think tank which would be a pretty positive approach to behaviour management.

Overall my experience in Galway has been a fruitful one. Ireland are currently in a re-development phase of their national curriculum so it is an opportune time for us, Scotland, to share our good practice with them regarding primary and secondary physical education. At the end of the day it’s clear we are all trying to achieve the same goal, positive P.E experiences for our pupils.