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What is Physical Education?

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  • What is Physical Education? [Interactive]
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[0:02] Let’s start by asking a basic question today, what is physical education? Is it just about keeping kids busy, happy, and good? More in a minute.

[0:33] I’m gonna start you thinking by reading a quote to you and this quote is from a paper written by George Graham, one of my favorite educators who wrote this back in 2015, “Physical education teachers have the task of turning kids onto physical activity for a lifetime. Unfortunately, it appears that only a minority of physical educators have chosen to accept this responsibility. In my view, far too many have chosen to ignore this goal and instead find ways to keep kids busy, happy, and good for the few minutes a week that they have physical education.” George knew well that physical education was a lot more than keeping kids busy, happy, and good. In fact, his textbooks advocated a very comprehensive program that would develop kids who were skilled and healthy.

An Approach to Physical Education

[1:29] I’ve always advocated physical education as being a three-pronged triangle that we teach the habits of lifetime physical activity, that we teach skill development because those are the tools that we use for an active lifestyle, and that we teach the process of physical fitness and health. So the kids leave physical education with a well-balanced approach to a lifetime of physical activity. Too often I see physical education as nothing more than a collection of playing games. The teacher’s approach to pedagogy is what game shall we play today And as the teacher ages, oftentimes, the games that are selected require less equipment and less preparation ahead of time. Certainly, that can’t be a physical education program. At other times, I see long units of the same activities over and over and over and kids being bored and tired of physical education and certainly, that isn’t physical education.

View all articles and podcast episodes by Dr. Robert Pangrazi

Consider the Outcomes and Standards

[2:34] So as you start to prepare and think ahead next year for your curriculum, because very hard to think about curriculum when you’re teaching every day, I want you to think about what content you want to cover and a curriculum is absolutely necessary. If you’re going to know where you’re going, you can’t be pulling out a game here and there and think you’re teaching the skills and the standards and all the outcomes that we deem important.

How you Teach > What you Teach

[3:03] Secondly, I want you to start thinking about how you teach, being much more important than what you teach and teaching lifestyle, active lifestyle habits. It certainly has to be a major mission in a major part of your curriculum.

You are a Hero to your Students

[3:20] And finally, just remember that to the world you may be just a teacher, but to your students your hero and the more you can teach them, and the more skills and confidence and competencies you lead them with, the bigger hero you become. So think about PE being more than just keeping kids busy, happy, and good, make it instructive and make it a comprehensive program that everybody will be proud of.

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