Beginnings of CLUes with Creative Physical Education

In the early 2000s, John Quay and Jacqui Peters were working together teaching pre-service teachers in the area of physical education within the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne.

With limited class time to cover the many facets of physical education, especially the major pedagogical models expressed through PE, John and Jacqui looked to bring these pedagogical models into a broader frame wherein each contributed in the way of its strengths, through what could be considered a journey style program, as is used in much outdoor education.

This thinking and planning was detailed in an article in the Journal of Curriculum Studies:

Quay, J. & Peters, J. (2008). Skills, strategies, sport and social responsibility: Reconnecting physical education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 40(5), 601-626.

This work was then detailed for teachers in a book:

Quay, J. & Peters, J. (2012). Creative physical education: Integrating curriculum through innovative PE projects. Human Kinetics Publishing.

The name Creative Physical Education was suggested by the publisher.

In this book the main focus for teaching is on games, and all that connects with games (skills, strategies, sport, social responsibility). From here, however, and with input from Jane Dawson, also in the Faculty of Education, we developed a dance-gymnastics version of what we we are now calling “Creative PE,” from the title of the book.

The Creative PE work also caught the attention of colleagues in Finland, especially Juha Kokkonen at the University of Jyvaskyla, with the publication of an article in the Asia Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education detailing this collaboration:

Quay, J., Kokkonen, J., & Kokkonen, M. (2016). Finnish interpretations of creative physical education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education, 7(2), 173-190.

With the development of the two versions of Creative PE – games and dance-gym – the framework common to both became more pronounced.

Central to this framework are:

  1. The performance criteria being used not just for formal assessment, but also in an instructional capacity to assist comprehension of a task. This enabled students to interpret a task in person and/or group ways, with the criteria also able to be used by all in the class to provide feedback.
  2. The creation of something meaningful by students as the end goal; something owned by the creators.
  3. The emphasis on teamwork and team membership as a positive and meaningful way to encourage appropriate forms of behaviour. Continuity of teams also adds significantly to the social arrangements available and the social learning possible.

The framework common to both versions of Creative PE suggested that a unit planning framework, applicable beyond PE, may exist.

Hence the idea of Creative Learning Units began to take shape.

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John Quay

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