Promising to keep the delegates as enthused as he possibly could during the ‘graveyard shift’ on Friday afternoon (29 March), Danny Cowley certainly delivered, with many delegates staying late to chat, get autographs and ask questions long after closing time.
He began his closing speech to the crowd of primary and secondary teachers by stating: “Ultimately I believe wholeheartedly in education, wholeheartedly in sport and wholeheartedly in young people. There is nothing more rewarding than making a difference in someone’s life.”
After a day of workshops and networking, delegates listened intently as Danny Cowley shared his knowledge from 15 years of teaching PE, and his key message was resilience.
He said: “Try to make them resilient and to persevere. When I look at successful people in this world the key indicators are, for me, always grit and resilience. If you can give students tasks and activities that really test and really challenge them, then as time unfolds, they build up a resilience. If you can teach this, I think you are doing them a real service.”
Danny Cowley focused on and reinforced that the key to increasing children’s levels of physical activity is to make it fun: “I think the importance of fun is crucial, I think enjoyment is the single biggest factor in motivating children to be active, as teachers we are ultimately a salesman and the key is to try and sell your knowledge, sell your passion to them and if you can do that then I think that can be really powerful.”
“I think you have to love the subject, and if you don’t, you have to love young people and probably the best teachers, the really best ones, are the ones that love both and I know one thing for sure, if you’re not having fun don’t expect them to be.”
He concluded the afternoon talking about the role teachers, especially PE teachers, have in creating a love of physical activity that stays with the student long after they leave that teacher’s care.
“It is about finding activities that the pupils can participate in that they will continue once they leave your care. You might find one in five pupils enjoy running, but it is about finding activities that the other four enjoy and might continue to do long after they leave you. It’s the effect you can have on children as human beings that I think is our greatest responsibility and our greatest challenge.”