Academic Insights: TCS Health & Physical Education Department

Teachers Luke O'Connell and Erin McGee

Fall 2017 will go down as one of the most exciting and memorable starts to a school year in Trinity College School’s history, with the completion of the Arnold Massey ’55 Athletic Centre. This certainly was the case for the School’s health and physical education (HPE) department. For teachers within the department (Angie Collins, Erin McGee, Luke O’Connell, Jen Powles, Trevor Clark, Matt Murray and me), this meant a brand new office as well as many new teaching venues (including classroom space, a fitness centre, two new gyms and two additional squash courts). For the students, it meant the use of these new facilities for their day-to-day classes, which has enhanced the HPE courses and provided students world-class learning spaces. There is no longer a need to share gyms and courts, as there are enough for each class to have its own space. The fitness and cardio equipment in the workout facility have provided ample opportunity to train and mentor other students during fitness units.

New learning and work spaces in the athletic centre

The new classroom and office space have been outfitted and designed with the modern-day student and teacher in mind. Ergonomic furniture that quickly and efficiently moves around to better suit the lesson or function has been a huge improvement. Many different seating options exist to promote movement either by subtly swaying in a chair, using a stationary bike chair, or adjusting the desk into a stand-up position. The opportunity to stand up, change posture, engage different muscles and move around the room has been a big enhancement to our working, teaching and learning spaces.

HPE course highlights

There have been many exciting happenings in HPE courses recently. The Grade 9 students are actively engaged through the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGFU) model of teaching sport. The students learn the main skills and strategies of a sport, practice the skills over a number of classes, and conclude by having a professional day where they are assessed when putting all of the movements together. Additionally, the students recently completed their nutrition unit, which was highlighted by a smoothie making class. Students were able to choose the ingredients for their healthy smoothies and apply their knowledge of nutrition in a practical and tasty way.

The Travel Outdoor Education students (PAD3O-T) recently completed their second camping trip to Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve, near Huntsville. The students were able to experience the Canadian wilderness with activities such as shelter building, ice fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The students in this course will embark on their final canoe trip in early May. The regular Outdoor Education sections (PAD3O) managed to get a few snowshoe and winter activity classes in and head to Brimacombe for their annual class ski day. Students have started to design and make their canoe paddles in preparation for their summative camping trip on the first weekend of May.

The Grade 12 Leadership course (PLF4M) continues to shape students into more effective leaders and allow them to work on their personal leadership style. Most recently, students are working on completing the National Coaching Certification Program’s “Fundamental Movement” course, which teaches coaches working with young children how to help develop their fundamental movement skills. In the spring, students in this course will be working towards their large summative assignment of leading an event for the School.

This year the department has been fortunate to have faculty intern Richard Abbott involved for classroom coverages and to help teach in a variety of subjects. Taylor Herrington ’13 has been a valuable member of the department as a residential assistant this year and it has been great to have a young alumnus back in HPE classes on the “other side of the fence.”

- By Tom Tansley, head of health & physical education