Project: ACTivate classroom teachers - Teachers on the Move
The European Commission, WHO and national governments place schools in a central role given schools’ substantial capacity to improve children’s and young people’s physical activity (PA) levels. Children, irrespective of their social background, spend many waking hours in school. Therefore, school-based programmes have potential to benefit the health of all children over many years, across diverse socioeconomic strata, geographies and cultures.
There is a need to address the many sedentary hours pupils spend while in school (Clemes et al,2016). Physically active learning (PAL) is the integration of PA into theoretical lessons in learning areas other than physical education (Bartholomew, 2011). PAL has grown in prominence to counter time spent sedentary and to increase PA while children partake of academic curriculum lessons. The potential benefits of acute (Daly-Smith, 2018) and longer term (Watson, 2017; Singh et al , 2018) PAL interventions are substantial, and include enhanced PA, health, cognition and academic performance.
While many school-based PA initiatives were implemented, effectiveness was partly hampered due to poor adoption and inadequate implementation of fidelity to the original programme. One reason might be that teachers are not engaged in the development PAL programmes (Webster et al, 2015). Programs are designed through policy-led 'pull' approaches or research-led ‘push’ approaches. This could results in low implementation of the programme by teachers. To enhance effectiveness, and because of the centrality of teachers’ interests in influencing school day activities, they must be directly involved in co-designing programmes, alongside other principle stakeholders (Koorts et al, 2018). On this end, the aim of AC Tivate is to co-create a high-quality European PAL curriculum and open educational resource in close collaboration with key stakeholders. We will build on the expertise of project partners to ensure universal access to high-quality PAL teacher training and CPD, for all teachers within the European Union.
Context & Goals
ACTivate has six key objectives:
- Establish recommendations for a PAL teacher training and implementation programme (IO1)
- Identify outcomes that hold relevance for stakeholders in the school setting; this includes suitable, accessible measurement tools (IO2)
- Develop a European curriculum for PAL teacher training and implementation that will guide organisations to develop teacher training and CPD programmes (IO3)
- Create the AC Tivate online platform that will host e-learning. The platform will serve as a hub and information repository for the European community of PAL practitioners (IO4)
- Build two e-learning courses that can be used by trainee and practising teachers, as stand-alone programmes or to supplement face-to-face delivery (IO5)
- Pilot test the feasibility of the ACTivate online platform and e-learning courses (I06)
Higher education teacher training students and teachers are AC Tivate’s primary target population as they are key delivery partners for successful implementation of PAL in schools. Perceived benefits of the PAL curriculum will extend to national and European-wide educational and governmental organizations responsible for teacher education, as PAL bridges an existing gap in education. Although expertise on PAL is increasing, training related to PAL is not widely available to teachers and most teacher training institutions. Currently at HVL, a centre for PAL (SEFAL), led by Prof GK Resaland, is piloting a PAL teacher training programme. In the UK, LBU is developing a PAL module for student teachers. While promising, both programmes are in early development and could advance more effectively in partnership with practising stakeholders. To capitalize on these opportunities, the ACTivate partnership will enhance and extend efforts by establishing a European PAL curriculum based on co-development with teachers. E-courses will be developed and housed on an innovative open access web portal. Courses will be flexible and dynamic linking users through a community of practice; feedback will support adapting courses to local school organizational and cultural contexts. This approach aims to connect and support teachers and PAL practitioners across the EU to establish and share high-quality PAL teaching practices.
ACTivate provides the opportunity to combine and share expertise from six European nations who together will create a high-quality European PAL curriculum and open educational resource. Co- creating an accessible, flexible resource with teachers will ensure that curriculum and e-learning courses meet diverse socio-political and environmental needs of member countries (Koorts et al. 2018). The project aligns with the European Framework for Digitally Competent Educational Organisations, and the Digital Education Action Plan through the provision of a European-wide digital learning course that will strengthen the education of teachers.