Pocket PD with Andy Hair
This episode we spoke to Andy Hair, physical activity and play consultant in Victoria, and creator of the plethora of physical education resources that is his website Inner Roar (formerly Mr Hair Phys Ed).
Andy advocates for active wellbeing, the ability for physical activity to support our emotional wellbeing. This stems from his love of physical activity and how he felt when he was surfing with mates, going for a run or being outside. He was able to transfer those feelings and those experiences towards his physical education classes. When a student walks into his class, he is able to assess their mood, then flag the need for him to ‘catch up’ with them through movement before 1:1 addressing how they’re feeling.
Rather than addressing moments when his students were feeling flat, down or less than their optimal with sitting down for a 1:1 chat, Andy has been able to use this active wellbeing strategy to first, get his kids moving, then address whatever is going on for them at that moment. This way, he says, not only are the kids getting that movement their body needs, they’re also going to be experiencing those positive feelings post-exercise. Movement also provides a vehicle for difficult conversations, with Andy mentioning that we (yes, adults too) can be less guarded and less confrontational) when we’re having a conversation whilst doing something.
Andy makes an important note around the need to be flexible with the type of activities being integrated into his classrooms and when having these conversations, which is where, he says, it's important to know your students. Using a game or activity that’s too challenging for a student can create resistance, causing the person to ‘shut down’ and close off the possibility of a deep conversation happening. Meeting the kids where they’re at is vital.
Pocket PD brings 10 minutes of knowledge sharing and insights into wellbeing from those within the field of education. Whether it’s from a professor or a pre-service teacher, we all have experiences and knowledge to share. We also believe access to professional learning shouldn’t be restricted by where you live - rural and remote teachers we see you!