Not fade away: a critical look at lesson closures



Publication Details

Webster, C. (2011). Not fade away: a critical look at lesson closures. In S. Brown (Eds.), Issues and Controversies in Physical Education: Policy, Power and Pedagogy (pp. 193-199). Auckland, N.Z: Pearson.


What is a lesson closure and what are its purposes? Why might lesson closures be important for students? How might teachers implement lesson closures that foster student learning in physical education?

In a tragic yet prophetic irony, American rock and roll legend Buddy Holly closed an impromptu show at Clear Lake, Iowa in 1959 with his song "Not Fade Away" before boarding a charter plane that crashed just minutes after takeoff, killing him and three other rock icons, all on tour together. While the extinguished flame of Holly's life ironically undermines the title and spirit of his final performance, his music has lived on to fulfil its prophecy, burning brightly as ever through its pioneering mastery and transcendent message. The story of Buddy Holly and his music draws attention to an important piece of the teaching-learning process. It underscores a critical pedagogic issue: How should teachers spend the final minutes of a lesson? Like Holly's final performance, a well-taught lesson should be survived by its message and impact long after its close, its legacy the personal meaning and utility it carries to countless lives. But what can the teacher do to ensure the torch of knowledge is passed to and preserved by the student? What can be done to keep the flame alight, to secure its hold in the mind of the leamer, to sustain its glow and let learning not fade away? In this chapter, the final breath of a lesson's life - commonly referred to as its closure - is critically examined in relation to these questions, based on the possibility that the potential for learning is directly proportional to the significance ofthe lesson's last moments.

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