Thu | Jul 7, 2022

Guiding new physical education teachers in a pandemic

Hardest part about their journey was to adapt to a new learning environment online

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2022 | 12:08 AMSharla Williams/Gleaner Writer
Maurice Wilson, principal of G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports
Maurice Wilson, principal of G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports

Recently more than 75 students participated in the closing ceremony at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports in Spanish Town and like most students, the COVID-19 pandemic made this journey very difficult for them.

Principal Maurice Wilson said the hardest part about their journey was to adapt to a new learning environment online at an institution that is practical oriented and specialises in physical education and sports.

“A lot of the interfacing has to be done on a one-to-one basis because skills have to be rehearsed, error and commendation have to be pointed out, (plus) corrections need to be made,” he said.

“Students were not able to experience a real-life environment in the practice of teaching their students and also imparting some of what they would have learned from a practical standpoint,” Wilson stated.

Wilson said the pandemic had a tremendous impact on not only the students’ physical experience at school, but also their internship experiences.

However, he said they were able to move the internship to the back end of the pandemic as the country gradually reopened.

“A lot of them would have started to benefit because a lot of them are doing part-time work and a lot of them are involved in extracurricular activities – (so) they made alliances that would assist them in the future in getting jobs that are suited for their qualification and profession,” Wilson said. “A number of our students have been able to work as massage therapists, be employed a coaches and a lot of them worked at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships.’’

He said it is extremely important to have these young graduates foster the development of sports in Jamaica because they come with a different kind of energy and thinking which would help improve health, reduce lifestyle diseases and reduce the need of medical care for Jamaicans.

“It is a wise nation that invests in physical education, we have a very good history of that so I think that needs to be continued,” he said.

However, he believes we do not have enough physical education teachers in our institutions to help foster young minds.

“If we were to ensure that each prep school and primary school had a physical education teacher, I think that would change their mindsets, their operation, their skill development and skill activity, making them more rounded individuals – so that in essence would make us a more friendlier society,” he stated.

Breanna Davis, who was a part of the closing ceremony cohort, said it was manageable for her to do teaching practice online and her expectations are high going into the workplace with her attained degree.

Wilson said as the new graduates go out to work, he expects them to make impactful changes.

“I expect our new graduates to embrace new ways of learning in order to shape and make a better world and I expect them to make that input that is better than what my generation and I would have made and to become social game changers to make physical education attractive to all levels of the population,” he said.