Today, Physical Education and physical activity are imperative. The epidemic of obesity and inactivity in society has become a serious health issue. The appreciation of going outside to ‘play’ is something children and young adults no longer cherish. They would rather sit inside on the couch and ‘play’ on their iPad or iPhone. It is that appreciation for play and physical activity that needs to be restored. Physical Education is a way of restoring this appreciation. The purpose of Physical Education is to teach the whole student in spirit, mind, and body for lifelong wellness. A student who is taught in spirit, mind, and body will find physical activity an essential part of their daily lives. Providing students with numerous opportunities to participate in different types of physical activities can increase enjoyment and build upon the psychomotor, cognitive, and affective domains. It is my responsibility to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for productive student learning. In this type of environment, students will be able to feel more confident in their abilities and be able to contribute positively to society.
In order to develop the whole student through spirit, mind, and body a foundation needs to be established. This foundation can be established in grades K-5 focusing on the development of movement skills and movement patterns. Between the ages of K-3, most of the students want to run around, have fun, and let all their energy out. At this developmental age, students are discovering how their bodies move and are very enthusiastic about playing games. As the teacher, I will lay down the foundation of physical education (basic movement patterns and movement concepts) using the command style of teaching for students K-2. Students at this age need more structure and can get off task pretty easily so using a command style of teaching will help them stay on task. As students reach grade levels of 3-5 I believe in implementing a guided discovery teaching style in with the command style. In grade levels 3-5 most students still really want to play and have fun in physical education class but now they start to form more interdependence, with the aid of the teacher at times. That is why I believe it is best to combine a command style with a guided discovery style of teaching at this grade level. Students still need structure from the teacher but can also learn through working through problems on their own. For grades K-5 I really believe it is important to focus on laying down the foundation for their future. Elementary physical education is a time for students to learn basic movement concepts and motor skills, a basic understanding of fitness, how to interact with their peers and form relationships within a positive and fun environment.
The foundation that is set in grades K-5 helps students be able to transition into grades 6-8. The focus shifts from basic movement concepts and motor skills to now tactical aspects of games. Tactical aspects of games should be the main focus of grades 6-8. Students at this developmental age will be able to develop the skills they need through gameplay. It is in my students best interest that they learn through games that are developmentally appropriate for them. I also believe that the development of a true understanding of physical fitness is an imperative part of the 6-8 physical education program. Students are starting to grow into their bodies and learn more about themselves at this age. It is a time of vulnerability in which the teacher needs to be aware of. I want my students to feel comfortable and welcomed when they walk in my physical education classroom and know that this is a place of positivity. Through educating the whole student I can help my students feel comfortable in their bodies by educating them on what it means to be physically and emotionally well. At this point in their physical education learning, students will know what it means ‘to be a good human.’ This is something that I really enforce through coaching and teaching. Students know what is expected of them at this age and they need to demonstrate it through good behavior (cooperating with peers, demonstrating good sportsmanship, having a positive attitude). This is a time for teaching students the life skills they will need to be successful in their future.
So what does it mean to be a ‘physically educated student?’ By high school, students should know what this means. They should also be able to demonstrate what a physically educated student looks like. As mentioned above the foundation is established at the elementary level and continues to be built upon during the secondary level. The main focus of high school physical education is lifelong wellness. Students at this age are able to think more conceptually and critically about physical fitness. The teacher’s role is to challenge the students thinking more to get them to be college or career ready through having them develop their own physical fitness plan and incorporating lifetime activities into that fitness plan. At this point in their lives, stress can become overwhelming because they are starting to get closer to the next chapter in their lives. I believe in providing ways for my students in understanding how to deal with their stress in healthy ways (stretching, meditation, breathing exercises and more). Along with a fitness plan, students should be able to demonstrate their knowledge of nutrition and be able to incorporate a nutritional plan into their fitness plan. What you put into your body is just as important as how you take care of it. Life skills are highly important in a student’s high school years. Students know what life skills are to be successful in college or their career but they need to actually know how to use them and why they are using them. I want to make sure that when my students leave their senior year that they have all the tools they need to lead a healthy life. They should have a good understanding of the relationship between spirit, mind, and body and incorporate all three aspects into their daily lives.
My responsibility as a future Physical Education teacher is to educate my students on what it means to live a healthy lifestyle in a positive environment. I need to hold myself accountable and practice what I preach to my students. Through teaching the whole student, I will be able to get to know my students on more of a personal level in order to help them make connections to what we are learning about in class. A student who is able to make connections from their life to my Physical Education class will enjoy their experience more and find purpose in what they are doing. My idea is to lay down a foundation for students in elementary and build upon that foundation throughout their years of Physical Education. By the end of high school, my students will understand the relationship between spirit, mind, and body and the purpose of the relationships within lifelong wellness. My passion and dedication to leading a healthy lifestyle have helped lead me to Physical Education and I hope to use this as a way to impact young adult lives.