Continued Professional Development In Your Time

The last few weeks I have noticed an increasing amount of student teachers and in-service teachers that are not able to get to conferences or simply are not aware of professional development opportunities. As an educator myself, I highly recommend, attending or seeking out professional development as much as possible. But, I realize conferences entail registration fees and transportation costs, which in themselves become completely inaccessible to some individuals. I love learning and any opportunity that arises I attempt to question something else in this world to change my teaching or approach towards education.

I have made, in no specific order, some ‘top picks’ that allow everyone to get professional development that can be done in your car, on the way to work, at home, or even in the gym! As always, these are focused on social justice and critical issues in education and you can take what you want from them AND question them [REFLECT & ACT]!  This list was inspired by my good friend and teacher of the year 2017, Andy Milne @carmelhealth who has already has outlined some Netflix documentary suggestions: All of which I also highly recommend! My two favorites on Andy’s list are What the Health and 13th – MUST SEE’S!

Here are some more contributions:

Goodwill Hunting 

Goodwill Hunting is an old movie but still relevant today. I’ll avoid giving you a synopsis of each on this list but this movie shows the story of a talented mathematical orphan being pushed into spaces he does not necessarily want. This movie made me consider how many times in PE we notice a student that is exceptionally talented. If you watch it, or if you do not, I ask you to question whether you push talented individuals to do events, afterschool clubs, and demonstrations? Do students want to do them? Do you encourage and reinforce how you feel about a students talent to their parents? Do you allow students to make a choice and realize for themselves they have movement capabilities?

What the Health, Food Choices, Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives, Fed Up, Hungry for Change, What’s with Wheat, Sugar Coated, Food Inc

All the ‘health’ documentaries that I have watched over the years have honestly made me question what we teach students in terms of nutrition and about recommended dietary and physical activity guidelines. These documentaries, on the whole, question normative assumptions about our diet and show how governments profit from controlling recommendations in national guidelines. With some research, and along with other personal reasons, some of the documentaries on this list were contributors to me adopting a 100% plant-based diet. I ask you to question are you teaching PE for educative purposes or to combat obesity? What normative assumptions towards diet do you push in your gym? Do you teach the ‘other side’? Do you encourage students to follow dietary and exercise guidelines? Do you know how guidelines are made? If you get really interested in these you might like to see Earthlings, but brace yourself if you intend on watching it:

Teach Us All 


Teach Us All is about the heartbreaking truth of the education system in the United States. In essence, it is highly unequal as we spend the least amount on teaching the poorest of children. This documentary makes some key points and I encourage you to consider who speaks in your teaching space? Do you recognize where your students come from? Do you go to efforts to provide a listening ear? Do you know which students do not get breakfast or travel an hour just to get to your school? What is the admissions process for your school? Is it fair? This documentary reminded me of the admissions process at a former school I worked in. Students were required to do a series of fitness tests for entry to the secondary school for a ‘sports scholarship’, which essentially meant they were good at ‘sport’ and were offered a place at the school. Please note, I did not encourage this, but unfortunately, I have to admit, I was part of the group that had to run the sessions. Consequently, I must have reinforced the notion it was okay. Such an entry process is HIGHLY unequal. If you are interested in reading more about unequal schools I’d suggest Jonathon Kozols work. You can find on this link excerpts from his book called ‘Savage Inequalities’…/JonathanKozol_page Gut wrenching stuff to read but the truth does hurt.

Noam Chomsky – Requim of the American Dream

One of the best documentaries that supported my beliefs that education has always been used for economic purposes rather than intellectual purposes. Such an ideology perpetuates students as human capital rather than social beings trapped in a reproduction line. Also, as someone not from the States, it was a nice history lesson. A couple of questions: Do you regard students as active subjects or passive subjects? Do you reproduce the notion in your class that schooling is a prerequisite to being successful? Do you think students should be taught how to learn or how to work? Do you think students are capable of changing their social situation?

Education, Inc

Education Inc is a documentary on public schooling going private and how individuals’ tax dollars are subsequently spent. I watched this documentary in one of my doctoral classes in educational foundations and there were mixed reactions. On the whole, I think an informative watch for individuals to see the process of public school choice/voice when schools are privatized. I urge you to question, do you think that privatizing a school is a good thing? If so, why? What does that mean to all neighborhoods? How much money is spent on advertising to do this? What does that mean for teachers? What does it mean in terms of parental voice?  If you don’t fancy watching the documentary listen to this discussion:

A few books/papers/podcasts I have really enjoyed this semester that your library may have:

  • Critical postmodernism in human movement, physical education and sport (Juan-Miguel Fernandez-Balboa, 1997)
  • Foucault, Sport & Exercise (Markula & Pringle, 2006)
  • The obesity epidemic (Gard & Wright, 2005)
  • PE research from postmodern, poststructural and postcolonial perspectives (Wright 2006) pdf is free online:
  • Poststructural methodologies – the body, schooling and health (Wright, 2003) pdf is free online:
  • American Education (Spring, 2017) some pages you can read on google for free:
  • Free podcast by Dr. Angela Dye called Empowerment Starts Here. It explores power, social change and disrupting the margins:
  • Free podcasts by Russell Brand my favorite is #028…  Marxism On The Rise – Can It Really Defeat Capitalism? (with David Harvey)
  • Some nice listening… When I Grow Up:…-366100044/when-i-grow-up
  • Great blog by a great teacher by @schleiderjustin

Enjoy…. let me know your thoughts if you get a moment to listen or watch any of the above 🙂

Remember > question everything… Is it equal? Is it fair? And, what do those terms mean to you? If you don’t agree with the list/proposed questions why? < that is a reflection and learning in itself.

Written by Shrehan Lynch – October 25, 2017

3 thoughts on “Continued Professional Development In Your Time”

  1. People don’t have to agree with your list. Just watching and reading these resources will have you question your ideas and philosophies which will improve your teaching. Well done.


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