Waru. Committed or not? Time commitments of student athletes.

With all the things school life brings for a students sometimes something has to give. There isn’t enough time in the day for them to play an instrument, play sport, be a member of a club or society and complete their studies. All before they just be a kid. But committing to a sports team is another story. Should they see it through to the end or can they come and go as they please?

This year I have coached two student athlete teams at my school. Firstly rugby in the second season. The commitment for the players was outstanding. Every session we would have 100% attendance. A squad of 30 players for a 10 a side team meant that some players wouldn’t get a game each week. But still they were committed and turned out to help the team. Rugby is a sport built on brotherhood and working hard for the guy beside you so it was easy to motivate them to be committed. It was also second season which has no major exams or other extracurricular activities clashing with it. I was a happy coach pleased with the commitment of my players.

However, third season is a different story. Firstly third season is the worst time of year to run a sports team. Major exams are happening throughout for a number of different grade levels. Cultural extra curricular actives are taking place and students are running on empty towards the end of the school year. My third season sport is also golf.

The team dynamic of a golf team is very different to that of a rugby team. Players seem to think they are individuals rather than a team and can blow off trainings and matches. As long as they get their personal training in they seem to think team trainings are optional. It’s been very hard to create a team culture when you never have every member of the team present at a training. Athletes reasons for missing practice include studying for exams, illness, weather conditions, extracurricular commitments and simply forgetting. If this is what I was getting from my rugby team I would be blowing my top. Why do I accept it from the golf team?

Should golf and rugby athletes be held to the same training expectations? http://wambuiwanjuki.blogspot.com/2011/

It’s simple. You commit to a spots team you should make it a priority and see it through.

But golf is a hard sport and you can’t just replace a quality player with a good athlete like you could in rugby and get away with it. Maybe even a half committed golf is better than no golfer at all? Should each sport be held to the same standards?

M y committed rugby team won gold and exceed expectations. Maybe the uncommitted golf team can do the same?

Follow the link to see the results of season 3 golf http://www.iasas.asia/golf-4/


Whitu. Sport Science.

Sport Science, Kinesiology, Physical Education or Health Science. Nearly every High School Curriculum has a program that incorporates the science of movement. Being an educator in the field I am passionate about the subject and what it can offer my students. However, not everybody is on board. What do students, teachers, parents and universities think about this intruder to the academics of science.

Sport science has gotten popularity through the TV series on ESPN where some of the biggest names in sport have been to the science test.

I have taught NCEA PE in New Zealand, IGCSE PE in Saudi Arabia and IB Sport, Exercise and Health Science in both Saudi and the Philippines. Each of these programs incorporate sport and PE but require the theoretical understanding of the subject rather than the ability to perform physically. I love teaching this material to students. Having them understand why they are able to perform that back somersault or why they can run longer than others gives me a real buzz. A number of these students relish at the chance to learn about something that they find interesting, rather than the old school subject they they are told to take. Sparking an interest in learning is something that a number of students need and Sport Science allows this. Also a large majority of my students through the years have been high school athletes. Having them learn about how to perform better almost always ends up in superior performance in the year for the school. Lastly, every year a number of my students end up pursuing a career in sport and take on further study at university. I have had students have careers in physiotherapy, sport medicine, sport management, coaching and kinesiology. The sport and physical activity industry is growing and I have had a number of students realise this and grow a career for themselves.

Variver.com a leader in science measurements has now increased its product line to include measurement associated with Sport Science. Students now have the ability to create research at the high school level and complete meaningful and accurate testing. It seems on the surface that the subject area is on the rise.

However it is not all roses and there a many road blocks in the way to have Sport Science seen as a legitimate subject. Parents, students, teachers of other subjects and universities are all hurdles that need to be overcome before a student even selects the course.

Parents- Most parents never had the opportunity to study sport at high school and now they are sceptical. When a student comes home saying they want to study Sport Science it gets questioned. It doesn’t have the history of the traditional sciences and so isn’t considered on par.

Students- Students who have never taken Sport Science see it as an easy option. They associate it with the PE lessons they took in earlier years in high school and think they only need to play sport and not study any theory.

Teachers of other subjects- Course selections are a dog eat dog world. If students don’t select your subject your subject will diminish and could even lose teaching hours. It’s sad to say but other subject teachers discourage students to select some courses to help preserve the life of theirs.

Universities- A number of universities around the would won’t accept Sport Science as a subject when considering students for a course. I had a current student apply for a Kinesiology degree (this is basically sport science) and their competition of the Sport Science course at the IB level wasn’t even considered. I find this incredibly ignorant that the subject they are about to study isn’t even considered when studied at high school.

I have been teaching Sport Science equivalent programs for over 12 years and have continued to face the same obstacle in growing the course. With the sport industry growing and being worth over USD$73 billion in North America alone when will it be considered a meaningful course at the high school level.


Ono. Whats in a name?

Sir, Mr, Coach, Pearce, Sir Jackson or Mr Pearce. These are all names I have been called throughout my teaching career. But what is the most appropriate to have the students use and what makes me feel both comfortable and uncomfortable. Whats in a name and how does the use of different names impact on student learning and a teachers perception.

I have a great relationship with this student but would always require him to call me “Mr Pearce” (By the way he beat me here in our match play. 1 up after 18 after I have 2 up with 3 to play)

I try to insist that my students call me Mr Pearce. When they call me coach or sir I feel uncomfortable and like they are looking for someone else. I like to be respected and feel like this formal name indicates that I am a leader. Having this formal name for my students helps them understand that while I can be friendly with them, I am also to be seen as an authority figure. Having a more jovial name such as Pearcey (which some students over the years have tried to call me) feels to me like I am trying to be seen as cool and on their terms. Going to social for students I think is a dangerous slope that I never want to try and ascend. Being a High School teacher I feel the need to keep the relationship professional and respectful at all times. I have had a number of colleagues over the years who have nick names that they go by with the students. I have seen it work for some of them. While others have been seen as to “chummy” with the students and found it difficult to disciple them when needed. It’s a dangerous balance that I feel can be easily avoid with the requirement of a professional relationship starting with the name.

Another name that I feel uncomfortable being called is coach. When I first arrived at my current school all the students instantly called me Coach or Coach Pearce. I had to quickly let them know that I wanted to be called Mr Pearce. While I do coach at my school I want them to know that my first job is teaching and that it is the most important of my roles. A coaches role is to improve the skills of his athletes. Athletes who already have some degree of skill and love of sport. The main role of a PE teacher is to instil the love of movement and create life long participants in physical activity. The athletes don’t need me. It’s the students who need to be sparked and find that joy in movement. The ones who generally despise PE that need me. Being called coach makes me feel like it is another barrier for those students that need me. I don’t want them to see me as a coach first but their teacher. Someone that is there for them, not just the athletes.

I came across this article from expatica.com about how students around the world address their teachers. A number of them are suggesting now that teachers be addressed by their first names. I really struggle with this concept and feel the need of separation between the teacher and the student. I maybe old school in my thinking here but I don’t feel like I am old school in my teaching. As a High School teacher being too friendly with students is a dangerous slope in my eyes.

Let me know what you think. Am I being a dinosaur in my thinking? Does it even matter what the students call you?


Rima. Are E-Sports legit?

In the world of sport a new force is emerging. One that no doubtably requires skill but is E-sport a legitimate player in the world of competitive sports? I hope not…

Video from the ILG suggesting that E-Sports are legitimate

Listen to the my podcast about the debate over the legitimacy of E-sports

Sport holds such a special place in my life. It is my career, my past time and my passion. From being a young lad in small town New Zealand playing rugby in the winter and cricket in the summer to all over the world as a PE teacher and coach, sport has taught me about myself and those around me. It has helped me learn values that I apply to all areas of my life and helped me ensure that I am healthy physically, mentally and socially.

I also enjoy video gaming. I have always owned the latest console and still play when I have a free moment to myself. I like the ability to switch onto competition quickly in the comfort of my own house. Sitting happily on my favourite chair.

Then if I love sport and enjoy gaming why do I feel so threatened that E-sport is gaining popularity and pushing for more legitimacy in the sporting world? Shouldn’t I love the fact that something I love and some thing I like have morphed together? After completing my podcast and discussing the topic with some of my friends I have it figured out. I don’t like the fact that E-sports are trying to get on par with “real sports” and here is why.

  • Lack of physical output

One of the major reasons that I love sport is the buzz you get from being active. If it be completing a 5km or playing a game of basketball you feel good about getting your body moving. My lecturer Ian Culpin from the University of Canterbury always said that “there is joy in movement. Simply moving is joyful” He was right and more people now days know about the release of endorphins when we exercise. They are the feel good chemicals that are released when the body is stressed through exercise. They make you laugh and enjoy yourself simply through movement. Exercise.com suggest that some people need upwards of 30min intense exercise to experience the release of endorphins. This natural high is something I crave when I haven’t been active for awhile. That “good” feeling of accomplishment when you have your heart rate up and your shirt is covered in sweat.

How can we class a E-sports as legitimate if we can’t experience this joyous phenomenon. Others will claim that E-sport has physical components such as fine motor skills and reaction time. However, in my eyes these are not enough to warrant a place in the legitimate sporting real. E-sports will get your heart racing with the outcome of a close match but not due to the intense physical requirement. One study conducted by “The Journal of Pediatrics” found that a 14 year old playing video games will burn only 81 calories in an hour. Compared that with the whooping number of over 250 calories burned when playing football for one hour. The lack of physical exertion is the first reason E-sport is not legit.

  • The danger for parents and educators if E-sports is legitimised as a real sport

Mum “Tom you have been inside all day. You need to get out and get some exercise.”

Tom “I have been exercising all day. I have been playing Dota for 3 hours.”

This is something that I am seriously concerned about as an educator. If E-sports is seen on par with other sports then the battle to get kids active more often is going to be tougher than it already is. Some parents will allow gaming all day and others will have an uphill battle justifying that it isn’t. Imagine a world where kids don’t turn up to the local sporting ground to participate for their sports team, but rather turn on their video games and play from the sofa. Playing organised sport as a kid is where you learn so many things about yourself and others. That will be lost if the physical intensities and interactions with others is switched for a video screen.

Im not naive and know that E-sports are on the rise and here to stay. My hope is that it is considered as its own event rather than part of the sporting world. Kids need more excuses now days to be healthy and active rather than legitimise them to being couch potatoes.



“Golf is the only sport I know of where a player pays for every mistake. A man can muff a serve in tennis, miss a strike in baseball, or throw an incomplete pass in football and still have another chance to square himself. In golf, every swing counts against you.”Lloyd Mangrum

I love golf. I love to coach golf. I love to watch golf and I love to read about golf. I almost love everything about golf. The only thing I can’t stand is how golf makes me feel when I haven’t achieved my goals after my round. Knowing that I must wait another week until I can come back out on the course kills me. The above quote from Lloyd Mangrum, PGA tour player from the mid 1900’s really sticks in my mind. I wait all week to play and if on the first hole I score a double or worse (like I did last week) I can’t erase it and my target goes out the window before I have even begun. Unlike any other sport, golf mistakes haunt you. Getting any sort of edge in the game is something I welcome. I have a number of different tools that I use and wanted to share my thoughts on two tech tool that I have had in my bag for a year or two.

Golf shot is an amazing app that helps track a players stats throughout a round. The stats are then processed and can be analysed to determine areas of the game that need addressing. You can look through historical stats over all time or last five rounds. Some of the best features of the app include;

  • GPS tracking
  • Course mapping
  • Putting tracking
  • GIR stats
  • Recover stats
  • Handicap generation

The way the starts are presented are really easy to read. You can quickly see if your tee shots tend to go left or right, your putting success rate or even how long you hit each club. The app will even take these stats and suggest drills that you should try to improve your game. These drills come with videos so is super easy and convenient.

I was using Golf Shot religiously for a year but recently I have found that I am so focused on my game that I find it difficult to record my stats. It’s not that it is difficult to input I just want to focus on each shot rather than record the last hole. The stats are beneficial and I do need them to drive my practice.

I plan on using it with my golf team to collect data for each player over a season. Having me collect for each player will allow them to focus on the current round and also benefit from the stats created. It does come with a cost around $25 a year which I think is well worth it.

My Golf Buddy LR5 range finder is something I cannot live without on the course. This handheld device can tell me how far away I am from the pin to 1 meter of accuracy. Having used it for about a year now I know with confidence which club I should be using at different positions on the course. This isn’t ground breaking new technology to the golfing world. Range finds have been around for a number of years. But I do feel it takes time working with a particular brand to build up a mental profile of what club to use at what range.

I also find it really useful to use in my pre-shot routine. Looking through the scope and getting a reading helps settles the nerves and has me focus on the target at hand. I have been working on pre-shot routine with my students and will try to encourage them to make their range finder part of theres.

Most range finders retail for around $200-$400.

Golfers love to spend money and find ways to improve their game. Both these have value to me and I encourage them to be used.



Is anyone out there using Polar products?


Our department recently discovered that we had a stock pile of H10 Heart Rate Sensors. They had been sitting in the back of our storage space for a number of years. The story goes that they were ordered and had been planned to be used with the students. However, the IOS capability of most student phones back then was not compatible with the product. Thus the monitors were put in storage for another day. Well that day has come and we want to use the monitors to enhance students learning.

As with all new technological additions there is a learning process. As a department we are now learning how best they can be used to enhance learning. Ensuring that teaching time isn’t eaten into as we introduce the product to the students is something we want to avoid. Also ensuring that the use of the monitors is meaningful and not gimmicky (you know I hate gimmicky tech). The plan is to use the monitors in the following ways;

  1. Monitor the students HR over the course of a unit to measure their level of intensity.
  2. Monitor HR over the unit to see if there is an increase in cardiac output.
  3. GPS track the students to to see the distance covered during the unit.
  4. Create a leaderboard amongst all the classes in a grade level to create competition.

The data that Polar can send to a device is great and the information sent back in real time helps keep the students focused. I have used something similar in the past to motivate myself to run a little hard or further. I can already hear some of the conversations my students will be having with each other when they see who has been working hard and who has taken it easy during the session.

One area that I am really concerned with about the product is that we can only have one student send data to a device. It currently requires a whole class to have monitors and a connected device. This makes the whole process clunky and prevents the competition aspect during the lesson. I would need to check each device for data before knowing who has achieved what level.

There is a solution. Polar has an app, Polar Club that can solve all of our problems. This app would allow us to track all students on one screen in real time. It looks awesome!

Sadly the Polar Club app isn’t available in the Philippines. It is geographical dependant. We have this great technology but because of where our students are being taught it looks like they are going to miss out. Why would an app like this be dependent on location? Is there away around this? This looks like a seriously great opportunity to incorporate technology into our curriculum and it may not even get off the ground 😦

If you know any solutions please share.



I feel like Wilson the beach ball floating around in the ocean after drifting from the comfort of Tom Hank’s raft while he slept. I have stepped into the world of Twitter. Trying to link my profession career with the online world makes me feel so insignificant.

I now have a twitter account @jackson_ism and have limited to no idea what I am doing. There is a plethora of people I should or could be following. How do I know which will be beneficial to me and help me in becoming a better educator. Like I mentioned in my opening blog, technology can seem so gimmicky to me. Is twitter just another gimmick? I want to get the most out of it and ensure that my time is used to enhance student learning.

New Twitter account profile picture

I came across another PE blogger The PE Geek. The site has lots of great resources that I have used once or twice in the past. They have also recommend a number of different PE teacher to follow on Twitter. Helpful suggestions like this help in navigating the vast ocean I have ahead.

After taking control of who I followed I soon realised that this could get out of hand. Following other educators, soon led to following coaches, which led to following sports stars, which then led to following comedians. I was getting off track and losing sight of what using Twitter as a professional was all about. I needed keep this basic and follow less is more until I knew what I was doing. The goal is to make me a better educator and if the person who I follow doesn’t help me in the journey then they are out.

Secondly why I feel like a small deflated ball floating in the ocean is that, am I just using this platform to take? Do I have anything of value to share. Why would anyone find value in what I do. I mean I am just a one person in vastness of the world of education. I feel like this is the biggest reason why I have rarely use social media or hadn’t taken to Twitter before now. I don’t feel that the time I spend sharing is of any value. How do I know what to share and what to keep to myself with out looking like a “showoff”. But if I don’t share and just take then I am no help to the PE community. Whats a ball to do?

I need a goal to keep me grounded and on task with my shinny new Twitter account. To ensure that my time looking at my device is helping my students. After some digging around the net I came across the 26 tips for Twitter beginners from SproutSocial.com. Hopefully some of these will help me get the most from my account. The plan is that over coming months I focus on ensuring I tweet often (to ensure that I am giving back to the community) and gardening who I follow (keeping my feed meaningful). I want to make my Twitter account meaningful and not gimmicky. Hopefully I can find the perfect inlet for me in thrive in the great big Twitter ocean.



It stars with one step in the journey to incorporating more technology into my teaching practice.

I love technology and use it daily in my general life. However, I have found it really hard to consistently incorporate it into my teaching and learning as a PE teacher. I have used different apps or video techniques at times when something is apparent to me but the lack of consistent technology used in my teaching is something that I would like to address. Also the issue of “gimmick” or “token” technology has caused disruptions to my teaching in the past. I feel the learning outcomes could be just as easily meet without the disruption that technology sometime causes. I want to increase my technology literacy to help enhance the learning of my students and ensure that I can continue to spark their interest in becoming a lifelong learner.

I am a learner in this process and want to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness. ISTE Standard 1a