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‘Practically’ Perfect teaching at NWRC

25 June 2020
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Ryan Doherty and Joe Gallanagh are two lecturers in Sport and Exercise at NWRC who have been continuing to deliver practical classes during the current lockdown.

Ryan who teaches on the full time Level 3 Sport, Level 3 Sports and Exercise, and part time Level 2 Fitness Instructor and Level 3 Fitness Instructor courses, says every measure has been put in place to ensure students are still receiving a full delivery of the Sports curriculum.

He explained: “In the last few years a colleague and I pre-recorded videos in NWRC’s gym. These have become invaluable now as I can share these with students and they can watch online as I explain how each piece of the equipment is operated, and how they in turn can teach others to use the equipment.

“We’ve also been encouraging students to improvise with items they may have at home. For example, the shaft of a brush with the attachment removed, doubles up as a weightlifting bar. Although the students don’t have the weight on the end, we can instruct them on the correct way to hold the bar and how to instruct prospective clients on how to do this. Students have been practising at home with family members, sending me back videos and I in turn can give them feedback on what they’re doing.

“Timetabled classes are continuing through Zoom where I can deliver the theory, and students can interact asking questions as we share information through the slides.

“One of our most successful practical tasks has been asking our students to record their own home fitness videos which we’ve been able to share on social media. This is the perfect platform for our students who are taking the first steps to set up their own business in the Health and Fitness sector.”

Joe Gallanagh, is also a lecturer in the Sport Department.

Joe said: “Like all departments we have gone completely online and our students are having to engage through different forms of remote learning. We have used apps like Teams, Zoom and Facebook live for teaching because they are the formats that are being used out in the fitness community at the minute and the more the students are exposed to this the more they will be familiarised and see how beneficial this will be for them in the future.

“As you can imagine the Health and Fitness industry has been really affected by our current situation and as an industry it has had to adapt quickly, which I think it has done this very well considering. We have tried to translate that type of thinking into the students learning as much as possible. The training of clients and groups has completely gone online through need, more than anything else, but it may change the industry to some degree in the future so these skills are so important for them to learn. I have tried to use industry best practice as a learning aid as much as possible. A good example of this is when setting a resent task for our Fitness Services and Personal Training students they had to watch a variety of online classes being posted now by various instructors. They then had to design their own class, record it and edit it (adding text and music) using only their phones. Some even decided to post them online. So this was a worthwhile experience and a chance to teach a practical based subject when we don't have the option of face to face learning.

“We have endeavoured to make online learning as interactive as possible and tried to give the students new skills that they can take with them into the industry. As a department there has been great investment into gaining industrial standard equipment in the areas of sports science, fitness testing and video analysis which has benefited the students to gain real employable skills. It is funny at the minute that often when coaching fitness based classes you will have to use household items instead of gym equipment to help them adapt their learning capabilities. Using broom sticks as barbells, water bottles as dumbbells and towels as resistance bands has taught both the students and ourselves how to think outside the box when teaching and learning help the students to problem-solve, which is a vital skill, in any walk of like.”

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