Friday, November 1, 2013

The Quest to be Technically Perfect

Technically Sound vs. Unique in Style

I wonder if teaching proper technique in sport-related PE units is absolutely necessary if students, by using their own unique style to perform a skill, actively participate and increase their appreciation for lifelong fitness? 

This question was brought to my attention after reading Andy Vasily's blog post, What we can learn from these incredible Kenyan High Jumpers and watching the following video on his PE Blog, PYP PE with Andy.

Next week in PE, Grade 6 will be learning the high jump. What could we learn from these incredible Kenyan High Jumpers that would help improve our performance?

  • I wonder what skills are necessary in order to be successful in the high jump?
  • Would you say the technique in this video is technically correct? Or could it be the athlete's unique style of performing this skill? What makes you say that?
  • I wonder if learning proper technique in sport is important? What makes you say that?


  1. It still blows me away watching this video. I had a google hangout with Ross Halliday yesterday and told him about the video. Ross recently did a fantastic I SEE I THINK I WONDER activity for his athletics unit. The visible thinking routines that Ron teaches are fantastic in any subject area. Most teachers would think that it is only possible in the classroom, but this is so far from the truth. Nice to see you blogging Claire. Have you heard of PEPLC? You should join a learning team and share your great work. Take care.
    Andy Vasily

    1. Thanks Andy! I'm glad that Tanya got us into communication! I've been using thinking routines in my classroom as a Grade 3 teacher while teaching in Lusaka, Zambia. It was very much so a whole Primary/PYP initiative. I have recently moved back into the PE setting here in Sao Paulo and have begun introducing visible thinking into our Graded School community. I will be leading a workshop in March! Visible thinking is new to Graded, even more so in PE. Changing mindsets is a challenge, but it is my goal to make my students' thinking visible. I would love to see how other PE teachers are using thinking routines and motivating students to see PE in this light. By the way, have you read Carol Dweck's Mindset? I highly recommend it as it connects directly to our current discussion on thinking!

  2. I think to be successful in high jump you have to have dedication, strength, and pretty long legs. It takes a long time to work up to jumps as high as they are doing, so you have to be dedicated and not afraid so you don't give up when it gets hard. You need strength because you need a lot of power to get over a jump like that. You have to get up and over something that is taller than you are.
    I think it is unique. Some may have special tricks that help them jump higher that is individual. I believe the basics are the same for everyone but I bet people develop tricks.
    I think it is important to learn proper technique. Without it you would not know the basic form and movement of your body to get over a jump.

    1. I agree that people tend to develop certain tricks and ways of doing things that work better for them. It makes sense because everyone is different, and even though there is a standard technique, it doesn't work perfectly for everyone all the time.

  3. Wow it's amazing that these students can jump so high! If you watch the video you can see that they're doing everything as they're suppose to. They plant they're feet on the ground and when jumping over the bar they take one foot up and then the other. They also maintain their balance and they land with both feet firmly on the ground.

  4. I think that the physical skills necessary to be successful at high jump are: speed (because you need to sprint at the beginning to have more power) muscle strength (to sprint and to jump high you need strong muscles) and power (because you need to be able to project yourself up really high suddenly). Aside from the physical aspects you also need to be dedicated to it and you should enjoy it if want to be good at it.I don’t think the technique in this video is technically correct because usually the high jump isn’t done with heights that are so much higher than the person. It’s the athlete’s unique style of doing it because he can jump so much higher than most people, and so has to use a different technique since he wants to achieve something different.I think that when you are first learning the sport you should try to learn the exact technique, because the reason there is a technique is because it’s the best way to do it in that’s it’s easier, but also because it’s probably better for your body. Following the correct technique avoids injuries.