The Evolution of My PE Philosophy

IMG_2244I didn’t always know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Even when I got to college, being a PE teacher wasn’t quite on my radar until I took a few courses in Kinesiology and realized that I wanted to work with kids on their fitness. You can find out more about that story HERE.

One of the first assignments I had to do once I changed my major from Exercise Science to Physical Education Teacher Education was to write about my philosophy of physical education. I will admit, this seemed a little odd. I hadn’t spend more than a semester in PE related courses yet. How could I have a philosophy? Looking back now, I can see that writing that assignment when I did put some things into perspective, at least for me. 

Why was I becoming a PE teacher? What did I think, at this point in my schooling, was important in a successful PE program? Was I becoming a PE teacher for the right reasons?

I recently pulled out that assignment and looked it over. I’m not going to bore you with all 10 pages that I submitted but I pulled a few excerpts for your perusal. This was written on November 22nd, 2010.

Physical education is much more than giving students a basketball or dodgeball and saying “Go play”. Physical education is just as important as math or science or reading within the curriculum even though many school administrators believe otherwise. It is because past physical educators have led those who now control the fate of the physical education programs in the United States to believe that physical education is nothing more than dodgeball and embarrassing activities that show their inferiority in movement which has made physical education take a back seat to core subjects like math and science. New programs are now preparing future physical educators to do much more than just “roll out the ball”.

Physical education is not about beating each other up with dodgeballs or embarrassing people who are not proficient in moving. Physical education is about creating a sense of accomplishment and teamwork as students strive to enhance their abilities in not only sports such as basketball or soccer, but their movement in general and to provide them with information and motivation to become healthy individuals who do not dread moving.

Overall, my philosophy of physical education is that you are there to learn to move and that you must move to learn. Physical education is about much more than playing dodgeball and embarrassing people. It is about providing students with skills and confidence to move and perform throughout their entire life, no matter how it is that they are choosing to move. Physical education is about helping students work cooperatively, not competitively. It is an outlet for students to burn off energy and learn how to live healthily. Physical education is as important, if not more important, than any other core subject because it provides them with fundamental skills and information that they can use their whole life.

I wanted to teach my students new sports that they hadn’t been exposed to yet. I wanted to inspire them to love moving. I still want to do those things. I still love to play. The one biggest change that has hit my philosophy is the concept and importance of fitness.

Do I think students need to learn sports? Absolutely. They are great fun. Most students love them. But when I really think about it, which would I rather have; a student who leaves my class knowing what a face-off in hockey is, or a student who understands what cardiovascular endurance is and how to improve or maintain it?

That’s an easy question.

What I’m not saying is, “Let’s take the sports out of PE”. I would rather use sports as a catalyst for teaching fitness concepts. One of the greatest examples of utilizing this idea of a sports-and-fitness combination is the curriculum base called “Focused Fitness”. I was first introduced to this curriculum after the district in which I teach became part of a PEP Grant. We’ve had multiple trainings on using the curriculum and I’ve been a huge fan since day one. 

The part of the Focused Fitness curriculum that strikes me as so important is their mission to “Make students their own personal trainers and nutritionists”. That should be everyone’s goal, right? Yeah, its cool that they know how to play hockey or basketball, but knowing how to be active and healthy once I’m not around? Knowing how to maintain or improve flexibility or muscular endurance? That is key. That is what is going to be the most beneficial to my students in the long run which is now why it is the core of my PE philosophy. 

If you would like more information about Focused Fitness, check out their website, www.focusedfitness.org. You can also check out their Twitter @focusedfitness2 or their YouTube channel, Focused Fitness.

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