UOW lecturer shares pain and gain

Students often complain their teachers do not understand the pressures of maintaining that optimum school-life balance.

"They give us too much homework," is the common complaint.

"They don't know how hard it is to balance school and the rest of your life."

That complaint cannot be levelled at Greg Forrest, a PE-health education lecturer at the University of Wollongong who graduated with a PhD on Wednesday.

Retired faculty officer heads back to class

"Studying myself at the same time as being a teacher at the university helped me understand what my students are going through," he said.

"When I was going through uni the first time around, I was learning things by accident. Now, I can teach my students the same things I had to learn the hard way."

Dr Forrest graduated in the same ceremony as many of his physical and health education students yesterday.

Graduating with the groups of students he jokingly calls "guinea pigs" in his research on game education was satisfying for him.

"This has really helped me know what kids need to study properly," he said.

Oliver Walker, one of Dr Forrest's students who graduated with a bachelor of physical and health education yesterday, said the shared experiences of teacher and student had "levelled the playing field" during class time.

"Because he was going through the same study process at the same time as us, it makes it really easy to get along with each other," Mr Walker said.

"We both had the same end goal. It was good to know he knew what we as students were going through, that he understands what we're feeling too."

Dr Forrest will now spend time with the National Rugby League, redesigning league programs based on the findings of his pilot programs into game teaching.

"My research was about how to understand games, how to teach kids the 'grammar' or the basic rules of understanding sport.

"Sports people often say that reading a game is about dumb luck or hope, which is not how we would teach things in school. The research was about giving a better basic understanding of play, decision and tactics," he said.

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