Friday, May 11, 2007

GCE PE Study Trip to UK - Day 4 @ Sandbach Girls High

Today, we were picked up bright and early by Linda Hopkins from Sandbach Girls High School. There is both a Sandbach Girls High School and a Sandbach Boys High School. The Girls High School is a specialist school for Sports, so we were very excited to see how PE was taught there.

First off, we were given a tour of the school premises by 3 charming young ladies from Linda's Form class. They were Hannah, Sue and Spasnia (hope I spelt it correctly)- I'll let them introduce themselves to you here:

First off, we saw the 6th Form Student's Lounge- 6th Form is their equivalent of A-levels. The senior year groups have their own student lounge where they can hang out, study and organise events. It is their place and they take ownership of it.

Next we saw the Sports Hall. Now when we talk about sports hall here in the UK, we mean a HALL. Check out the size of this one.

Some of the teachers at Sandbach were telling me that it gets difficult to fit in the students when it rains here (weather can be quite temperamental) as 3 classes makes the place crowded. I shared with them, that their 3 classes probably comprise of 25 students each, maximum- so we are looking at 75 students in the hall. Back home, if we got to squeeze 3 classes of you boys into the hall, it's a 120 of you. Simply no comparison.
We can see that with this size of hall, you can even have batting and fielding games. Here we see some girls having their lessons in Rounders:

We also saw their astro turf tennis/hockey pitch. This will be a good model for VS when we get our artificial pitch this year.

Back home in Victoria School, we've got the SPRINT@VS pupil activity centre which has become our Sports Performance, Research and Injury Treatment centre and lately, has also come to serve as a theory class room for Lower Sec PE Theory. We got a chance to look at their dedicated PE Theory Classroom in Sandbach-

Other than their sporting events, Sandbach also has a proud and fine tradition of creative arts- they have a student art gallery here specifically to showcase student art work. I'm sure our AEP (Art Elective Programme)boys and teachers would relish the thought of having something like this back in VS.

Their D&T course work is also really happening! We met up with one of the teachers who explain that they make and race electric cars for D & T. Their body kits are made of carbon fibre, electric gear transmission, chain driven, twin-battery engine! Hearing this brought out the 'cheong-ster' in me and I had to take a closer look.

All this car needs now is a Mugen spoiler, 17in rims, Brembo brakes and we are set to drift!

After the tour, we had our first lesson observation for the day. It was swmming in Sandbach's Indoor Pool- yes, they actually have an indoor, heated pool!

The students were are looking at are Year 7 (equivalent of our Pri 6) and already some of the higher ability ones are being taught how to swim the butterfly!

Hmm.. should get some of you boys back home to start trying- maybe we can try using the Eco-pond for a start- with Mr Chia's permission of course.

Then it was back to the Sports Hall. The teachers here really make innovative use of the huge space. One reason for the need for huge indoor spaces is that the weather here can be a bit unpredictable, with sudden light showers and rain, so with a big indoor sports hall, they've also developed a comprehensive indoor athletics program. We observed a very interesting steeple chase event in the indoor sports hall.

How it works is that every team has to do 50 laps round the hall, negotiating through the various hurdles and 'water-traps' (i.e. gym mats).Each team decides who runs first, how many laps each girl runs, how and when they switch. Team that completes first wins.

Knowing you boys back home in VS, you all probably will get one poor bloke to run 40 laps, then the rest of you 'lepak' and slack in one corner, right:)

After such an eventful day, it was off to recess. During recess, they have sports leaders in-charge of getting students to play. This sports leaders will take charge of loaning equipment from PE dept and organising their own sports clubs, teachers will also supervise students who are interested in refininig skill in any of the various sporting disciplines.
Here we see some girls practicing hurdles and tennis:

Most of these activities are student initiated and the girls are the ones who approach the teachers with their own interests. After some coaching from their PE teachers (and Mr Ian Chew from Singapore:), we see Jasmine here with a marked improvementin her hurdling technique.
After recess we had lunch with the PE staff and shared our different experiences with each other.

After lunch, we observed 2 theory classes for GCE PE: one was the O-level class going through mock exam papers, the other was an A-level class.
In the O-level class, we see how teachers guide their students to give very specific answers for the PE theory paper and that the rigour involved here is no different from any other academic subject.

In the A-Level class taught by Zoey, we had a most engaging time. Zoey had taken the trouble to prepare game cards utilising the Trivia Pursuit format and use this a mode of revision for her A-Level students.

We were equally engrossed in the game as we struggle to remember concepts we studied in our NIE days: Like "What's the medulla oblongata and what does it do" Any guesses?
No, boys, it is not a dirty word- go check up your biology text books :(

It was indeed an good and fruitful day at Sandbach Girls High School and we thank their Head Teacher Mr John Leigh and the lovely, Linda Hopkins our liaison there for making this such a wonderful and eventful day.

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