PHYSICAL EDUCATION PHILOSOPHY
Physical education provides a unique opportunity to contribute to the overall development of every individual. To focus on only one aspect of physical education, and therefore of the individual, denies the importance of too many other vital qualities that makes a person complete. A curriculum that is this limited in scope fails to recognize the potential of each individual and fails to provide the opportunities for participants to develop a sense of fulfillment. Physical education must incorporate health related and skill related fitness activities and have a comprehensive curriculum that provides developmentally appropriate activities that build on students’ previous experiences.
Physical education teachers must be committed to providing enough knowledge, skill, and opportunity in a supportive and inclusive environment to allow each student to discover the value of movement, cooperation, teamwork, healthy competition, wellness, and responsibility to themselves and others that can be applied over a lifetime. It is critical that every student, regardless of athletic or physical ability, receive the opportunity to participate and succeed in physical education. The discovery and development of a well-rounded, physically educated person is directly linked to an individual’s improved self-esteem and risk-taking abilities.
It is imperative that students can participate in a variety of team and individual sports. The focus on basic skill development and their use in modified age appropriate games provide students with the chance to learn about teamwork, fair play, and the pleasure that comes from participating. As students mature, more complex skills and strategies should be taught, with responsibility for officiating and enforcing appropriate behavior resting on the students. Competition should build towards an outcome such as tournament. Students should not however be graded on performance, but rather on knowledge of the rules, strategies, and active participation. Sports units should create a desire to continue participating in sports, as well as developing an understanding and appreciation of enjoying sports as a spectator.
To complete the curriculum students must show competency on a yearly fitness/wellness evaluation. The Fitness Gram is a physical fitness assessment tool used by Physical Best and the Cooper Institute to establish baseline fitness goals of every student. Understanding principles of muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and body composition should be specific and comprehensive. Basic understanding of proper nutrition, as well as personal decision-making skills, must be developed so students can apply the knowledge gained to make healthy decisions.
Physical education must not be simply supervised playtime. Defining a coherent physical education philosophy, developing a comprehensive program that will meet desired goals, and hiring teachers who “buy into” these ideals are vital to the success of a physical education program. It is only when this has been accomplished that students are provided with an ongoing learning process that enables them to discover their own potential and maximize their chances for self-fulfillment.