Active and interactive education model to facilitate academic physical education and sport theory studies

PhD, Associate Professor M.G. Nepochatykh1
PhD, Associate Professor I.D. Pososhkov1
PhD, Associate Professor A.Yu. Lipovka2
V.A. Bogdanova1
1St. Petersburg State University of Economics, St. Petersburg
2St. Petersburg Polytechnic University of Peter the Great, St. Petersburg

Keywords: active/ interactive education methods, physical education, students, vocational training, education technologies.

Background. Modern digital technologies rapidly change the everyday life, industrial and economic processes and education systems and models. The Digital Economy of the RF Program [5] focuses efforts on the five priority fields including the human resource, education and research competences. A special emphasis is made on the modern research technologies and education methods. Modern active education technologies are designed to establish comfortable education environments to facilitate individual progress and intellectual efficiency; mobilize the individual cognitive and creative resource; help the teacher succeed in his/ her professional service; encourage the general cultural and special professional competences building process; improve the cooperation and teamwork skills; and lay a basis for the self-learning agenda and intellectual progress [2].

Objective of the study was to analyze benefits of the modern active/ interactive education model the academic physical education and sport service theory course.

Methods and structure of the study. There are a few classifications of the modern active education technologies today, with one of the most popular grouping the active education technologies into the imitational ones that mimic the future vocational service and the non-imitational technologies including problem-addressing lectures, practical trainings, active learning workshops, presentations, theoretical and practical conferences, discussions, round table sessions, express surveys, brain storms, master classes etc. We applied some of the latter in our interactive education model outlined herein. Our standard elective physical education and sport theory course at Saint Petersburg State University of Economics takes 18 hours. Despite the discipline being elective, the academic progress is rated by a formal test system. We offer a set of creative tasks (didactic game practices) ratable by the point system.

Results and discussion. Modern active education technologies need to be supported by the progress rating tests with the sets of criteria to effectively manage the education process. Thus a PowerPoint presentation (with the topic selectable from the proposed list) prepared by one or a few students was rated by five criteria [3] (including the content, background, innovation, presentation and reporting quality), each of them scored on a 10-point scale. Since the active education methods are viewed as both the competence forming and rating instruments, we formatted the training sessions as the research group meetings with every presentation followed by questions and answers.

As provided by the valid Federal Education Standard, the academic teachers shall form general cultural and special professional competences in the students with a special priority to the research qualities and skills [1] including the ability to design a study, mine the necessary input data, set the priority/ secondary goals and – the last but not least – ask questions. Many teachers report being unhappy with the student’s ability to formulate questions – that are, in their opinion, too primitive, one-sided and depthless, focused on the face value of the material only. A good question should, as they believe, imply a diverse variety of optional answers. On the whole, questions may be classified by their goals as follows: obtain new information; clarify the available data; derail the discussion to a different topic; suggest the answer; demonstrate own competency, opinion and position; and control the counterpart’s emotions, thinking process and mindset. Some of the teachers tend to rate their trainees’ thinking ability by the way they formulate their questions. In our study we used the Bloom's daisy that includes six kinds of questions: simple and clarifying; interpretational and creative; assessing and practical – to effectively engage the students into the educational process and secure their transformation from the passive hearers into active contributors to the discussion.

One more creative task for the student groups of 2-4 people was to compose a few test questions, each of them with 3-4 optional answers including a single right one. For the relaxation and attention switching purposes we widely applied active breaks with the students offered, for example, to creatively decode some words from the academic slang language like PhysRA. We have got both rather serious analytical and comical answers. We have widely used the acronym decoding practices to find the background competency in the physical education and sport issues in the academic progress tests and help the students firmly memorize the learning material during the training sessions. It should be confessed that many students have had serious problems with such decoding.

Modern healthy lifestyle is known to regulate the daily regimen and diet, physical activity, hygienic habits, sleep, body tempering and develop tolerance to bad habits. One of the key goals of the new training model was to work out brief instructions for the classmates for each of these healthy lifestyle elements. The next task geared to consolidate the healthy lifestyle knowledge was to provide reasons and proof that the healthy lifestyle elements help be healthy, successful, nice looking, strong and intellectual, save money, facilitate self-improvement efforts and develop good stress tolerance.

It should be mentioned in this context that Government Decree #540 of 11.06.2014 pursuant to the Presidential Decree of 24.03.2014 on the Russian Physical Education and Sport ‘Ready for Labor and Defense’ (GTO) Complex Reinstatement Project – provides a recommended weekly physical activity standard of 540min for the 18-29-year-olds [4]. We offered the students in our training sessions to spell out this weekly standard to develop optional daily training schedules including morning exercises; obligatory academic physical education and sport sessions; other daily physical activity; optional group sport/ fitness trainings; competitions; and self-reliant physical education activity including teams sports. To facilitate the trainees’ progress and help them summarize the leaning material we widely applied modern Cinquain technique that may be described as the creative thinking encouragement method with the student offered to find the key elements in the material, analyze them and summarize in a five-line poetic form governed by a few basic rules.

The Digital Economy of the RF Program underlines that one of its key objectives is to encourage a variety of startups in the small- and medium-size businesses supportable by the national government. In the mass sports domain, the academic physical education and sport system is expected to encourage the students’ creativity to facilitate new business models being developed and implemented. Our studies offered special management practices geared to organize some real or imaginary mass sport event, with a few competing student groups offered to establish an organizing committee; find a name for the event; work out its Statute and Regulations; its timeframe; approve the lists of competitors and guests; find sponsors for the event; contract the sport facilities; and draft a scrip for the event. It should be noted that some of the student groups produced rather creative drafts for the competitive events.

It should also be mentioned that the above Government Decree recommends the modern digital tools being wider used for the academic progress rating purposes in view of the fact that modern students actively use internet and a variety of individual digital tools. We developed in this context a special online progress test system including 40 questions in the standard Google forms. The system was tested beneficial in many aspects, including the user-friendliness and operability, with the academic progress rated and reported in points to help the student and teacher immediately see and analyze the individual test data and learning profile.

Conclusion. The active/ interactive education model with innovative education tools was found beneficial due to its practical focus and high education quality securing tools complementing the standard physical education and sport curricula. A special priority in the model implementation projects is recommended to be given to the general cultural and vocational competences, conditional on the faculty service being compliant with the modern professional teaching service standards.

References

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Corresponding author: nhmarina@mail.ru

Abstract

The study analyzes benefits of the modern non-imitational active/ interactive education model for the theoretical competence building in the academic physical education and sport (PES) service. Sampled for the active/ interactive education model testing experiment were the 2-3-year Saint Petersburg State University of Economics students (n=427). The methods included problem-addressing lectures, practical trainings, active learning workshops, presentations, theoretical and practical conferences, discussions, round table sessions, express surveys, brain storms, master classes etc. The standard elective physical education and sport theory course at Saint Petersburg State University of Economics takes 18 hours. Despite the discipline being elective, the academic progress is rated by a formal test system. The authors offered a set of creative tasks (didactic game practices) ratable by the point system. The active/ interactive education model with innovative education tools was found beneficial due to its practical focus and high education quality securing tools complementing the standard physical education and sport curricula. A special priority in the model implementation projects is recommended to be given to the general cultural and vocational competences, conditional on the faculty service being compliant with the modern professional teaching service standards.