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Participation that doesn’t cost the Earth

Making your own equipment has many advantages – not least of which is “saving the planet”. But “self-made materials” is an approach to Cooperative Learning that enhances student awareness and makes large sided games a thing of the past.

How much plastic is in your store cupboard? How much of your equipment eventually goes to landfill? Looking back on my teaching I would suspect too much – truth be told anything is too much in today’s climate – but even then it was too much. What would happen if you could get more wear out of the things you bought or if you could get the kids to value what they use? What would happen if every piece of equipment in a unit of work was self-made by the pupils and repairable or recyclable?

When I first read Fernández-Rio and Méndez-Giménez’s chapter I was challenged to think beyond my ingrained expectation that kids should be moving in PE and not designing and building their own equipment. Yet, as I have acknowledged on many occasions since, this was the ‘old me’ who valued varsity sport and traditional games. Pupils needed to be good players and ‘craft and design’ was a whole other subject in the school. This was a ‘me’ who put academic learning – in the form of physical performance – above everything else. In fact I’d surprise myself if I ever consciously and deliberately strove form any other type of learning.

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