FOR close to 200 educators from around NSW, yesterday was a time to listen and learn as some of the best speakers and workshop facilitators put them through their paces at the PDHPE state conference at Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre.
The annual conference is rotated around the 10 educational regions in NSW each year and the Tamworth event took a full year of planning by a hardworking committee of 14, led by Peel High School PDHPE head teacher and conference chairwoman Louise Taylor.
Yesterday morning the conference delegates were all ears as the first keynote speaker, Andrew Fuller, addressed a subject close to all teachers’ hearts – how to engage an adolescent in the classroom situation.
Mr Fuller’s hour-long presentation was interspersed with audiovisual slides and film clips and timely chat breaks, so teachers could discuss the ideas he’d put forward among themselves, and offering their own thoughts on the subject.
There was plenty of laughter and head nodding as the entertaining speaker spoke fluently on a subject that’s second nature to him – and his audience related to every situation.
The idea of taking into account the genders and teaching boys and girls in a different way was well received by teachers and his strategy for the “hit and run” method of getting through to adolescents, by not lecturing, but quickly putting across a suggestion and moving on, went down a treat with the majority of those present.
Tamworth High School teacher Melissa Broderick said it was particularly important for teachers in the PDHPE area to keep abreast of changes that occurred within the industry.
“You do the stuff you were taught initially, but those things change all the time,” Mrs Broderick said.
“Teaching health and physical education, things change constantly and it was great to hear his strategies for engaging students.
“I was particularly interested in hearing his thoughts on the gender differences and ways to approach boys and girls.”
Sydney-based teacher Trent Slater, from Holsworthy, said the speaker gave him plenty of food for thought.
“I’ve never been one for stereotyping gender, but what Andrew Fuller has said really makes you think,” Mr Slater said.
“He backs up what he says with the latest research and evidence and then gives you the opportunity to put your own ideas into the equation.
“To realise gender has a massive effect on the ways students learn will make a lot of us do things