ETSU’s O’Neil leading national effort to help PE faculty teach online

Published 2:11 pm Thursday, April 16, 2020

JOHNSON CITY – For physical education teachers, instructing students how to play tennis, do squats and perform other types of body movements can be challenging in an all-online learning environment.
 Dr. Kason O’Neil from East Tennessee State University is part of a group of researchers who are leading a grassroots effort to provide strategies, resources and other virtual teaching techniques to the physical education community across the nation.
 “Physical education is definitely a hands-on field and our preparation for teachers involves in-person interactions,” said O’Neil, an associate professor of Sport, Exercise, Recreation and Kinesiology in the Clemmer College. “We know physical education teachers are facing challenges now that their students are learning from home, and this new structure also has an impact on faculty who are involved in the training of future PE instructors.
 “We work in a kinesthetic-driven field, and this transition has been difficult in terms of how we teach our classes, conduct research and work with community partners,” O’Neil said.
 Last week, O’Neil and five research colleagues convened a Zoom meeting and invited physical education faculty from across the nation to participate. The response was very positive and more than 155 faculty participated in the call.
 O’Neil said the Zoom meeting was an opportunity for the participants to discuss online resources for physical education teacher instruction and hear how the various programs were modifying field experiences, student teaching and experiential learning exercises. They also discussed how the COVID-19 epidemic was impacting research and scholarly activity.
 “Overall, it was a time for us to come together and learn how we can support each other,” O’Neil said. “I was impressed how all of this came together in a matter of days.  Within 30 minutes, the six of us had organized the meeting and sent out a call for participation. We were very pleased to have such a large number of educators join us on the day of the call.”

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