Déirdre Ní Chróinín

Physical Education Teacher Educator

Déirdre Ní Chróinín  is a Physical Education Teacher Educator, Primary Level at Department of Arts Education and Physical Education, Mary Immaculate College in Ireland. Her research interests relate to the pedagogies of primary physical education and the teachers learning how to teach physical education. Her current research is focused on the promotion of meaningful experiences for children and young people in sport and physical activity settings.

Keynote Presentaion

Head in the Clouds and Feet on the Ground: Using Meaningful Physical Education to Support Both Visions and Actions in Physical Education Practice

Presenters: Tim Fletcher & Déirdre Ní Chróinín

In this presentation we will outline ways in which Meaningful Physical Education can offer a realistic and achievable vision for physical education teaching practice. Vision refers to a vivid set of images and descriptions that teachers can use to capture what they want their practices to look like and their students to achieve. One of the challenges of having teachers articulate their vision is that it is often too far removed from their daily realities, and therefore difficult to see in action. We will outline how Meaningful Physical Education can serve as a realistic vision for physical education, describing its aspirations and providing concrete examples drawn from teachers’ actual practices in a variety of contexts. 

NB: It is recommended that audience members bring a tablet or laptop to access wifi during the presentation.

Workshops by Déirdre Ní Chróinín & Tim Fletcher

  1. Lights, camera, action: Practical ideas to facilitate students in representing their physical education experiences (1 hour workshop)

Insight on how your students are experiencing physical education can help you to plan more meaningful physical education experiences. In this practical workshop participants will explore a variety of strategies to facilitate their students in sharing aspects of their physical education experiences. Guidance will be provided on how to approach both 1. strategies that can be built across time such as photos, peer interviewing, write and draw, poetry, story writing, and individual and group reflection  as well as 2. more instant strategies, such as ‘post-it feedback, questionnaires, colour bars and circle time. Samples of student work using these strategies will be shared to discuss how teachers can use the student’s thoughts and feelings as a basis for future planning. Participants will be given the opportunity to ‘try out’ some of the strategies related to their own participation in some fun, relaxed physical activities.

NB: if possible please bring a camera/ phone/ audio recording device with you to this session.

  1. What might Meaningful Physical Education look like in the gym? (1 hour workshop)

This is a practical workshop where participants can experience one teacher’s approach to using Meaningful Physical Education in a gym setting. Participants will learn a novel striking and fielding game (Danish Longball), with the facilitator ‘thinking out loud’ as he teaches the game using central ideas about Meaningful Physical Education. In particular, the facilitator will describe how in-the-moment-teaching decisions can be guided by considering the features of Meaningful PE (i.e., social interaction, challenge, fun, motor competence, personally relevant learning), as well as employing strategies that support pupils’ autonomy and reflection.

  1. Using case studies to imagine how Meaningful Physical Education can be employed in schools and community sport settings (1.5 hour workshop)

In this session participants will be introduced to the Meaningful Physical Education approach, which is being developed as a way to help teachers prioritize the personal meaning students make and take from their physical education experiences. There is good deal of evidence to suggest that the personal meaning of physical activity engagement is the key to lifelong participation. Main features and characteristics of the Meaningful PE approach will be briefly presented, including excerpts from teachers’ experiences of experimenting with the approach in their classrooms. The bulk of the session will entail participants working collaboratively through pedagogical case studies, where authentic situations capturing ideas about Meaningful PE are presented. This will build on initial ideas introduced in the Keynote Presentation, therefore enabling participants to engage with concepts and practical applications in greater depth and detail. Participants will be asked to critique the cases and apply situations to their own physical education teaching practice or community coaching. 

NB: if possible please bring a tablet or laptop with you to this session.