Questions or Concerns

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Questions or Concerns

Post by KevinAndrewRRichards on Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:46 pm

What questions or concerns do you have about the field of physical education? In the perfect world, how might physical education be different than it is currently?

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Re: Questions or Concerns

Post by Kelly_Simonton on Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:32 am

As far as the field of physical education there is one concern that I notice that many friends and family members, of mine, have and I have thought about it also. The concern was the availability of jobs, especially when I lived in Wyoming. With the push towards common core, standardized testing, and the budget issues amongst many schools, there was a concern about finding a job. I also learned about the public view about physical education itself as well as the perception of the teacher. Although the perception about PE and the "gym" teacher is fair in many cases, its still a shame to be seen in the community in that light. Physical education continues to progress and become ever more relevant, but with the lime light on the "core subjects" I feel that PE doesn't get the opportunity to reveal its importance and advancement in educational value. A more mature person could probably look past this fact and not let this concern phase them and they would continue to produce quality programs, or in a professors case, continue to show students what a great path PE is. I, however, struggle with being in an area that the community (the general society trying to better themselves) doesn't find our are important. I feel it first hand, again with family and friends because that is my population because I don't have a teaching position. Being able to understand how much work it takes to become a quality PE teacher and knowing how much value a good program can have on students and a community gives me this bias and I feel its a valid concern.
Now as far as being a teacher, I have concerns also. How can these teachers who don't meet the standards, who don't provide quality assessments, who role out the ball, who care more about their coaching job, who wont evolve to the 21st century learner, etc., be held accountable. If there was a fair assessment that could be explained to parents, school board, students and fellow teachers that shows student progression down a common path and that the teacher is giving a good/great program that is benefiting the students and showing the importance of this teacher to the overall goal. I understand these problems aren't black and white and there is much more to each of these things. I don't want PE teachers to have to be perfect because I understand that time, space, budget, community status, and many other things can provide constraints on what a teacher can do. But the ability to have common testing or whatever hiring process that might help would weed out those teachers being hired and those teachers who should be replaced by a better teacher that is sitting at home without a job.
I am sure I have other thoughts but this may be a good Segway into what I would like to see physical education be different. PE teachers truly need to do a better job advocating for themselves, for their program, and the effect the program can have on the students in the school. That being said, I believe PE should be a national requirement. Each school should have a PE teacher and the class should be offered every year up to 8th grade and required 2 years of a four year high school. Side note: this should all be assuming the hiring process is more valid and that each school has an up to date curriculum. Assuming that the school has an understanding of what is quality at different levels with the understanding to achieve improvement of every kind of student. Two things would help this change in PE, 1. there needs to be some sort of advisory member to the school board that represents the best interest of physical education in each department. I understand that many school districts have department chairs, but there should be no interviews for that subject without this person. This person should be advocating to those in the school system and the hiring committee what they should be looking for and what the goal of each level of PE consists of. This is assuming the members don't know much about PE and that it is more that being busy happy good (my experience from mock interviews and dialogue with a several principles and members of hiring committees, these things are true). 2. As I mentioned before we need something that shows we are held accountable and the station or national rules are present and shows that we matter to the government enough to be watched. If standardized testing is the end all be all that it is know we must create a progressing, cognitive test and convince the stake holders of how the physical progression works. Or a group needs to revolutionize how a class be looked at and be better for students. My personal opinion is that theory of not placing a one time grade or timeline on how far students can advance, in particular the physical aspect. The students need to show progression and parents and others need to see data of these students making progressions. When PE gets to the end of middle and high school, students need to show the ability to try a wide range of activities, work with others, create their own lifetime program, evaluate what types of activities are best for them. Again, this type of assessment that could actually track improvement over years (which is a more realistic timeline) would show validity to the field. This is all assuming the teachers have the proper training and continued professional development. This is all my opinion, and with a limited amount of education and understanding of the whole picture these would be my ideas. These may be things that are already present, but there are a few ideas in PE and in health education that represent what a quality program could be, but convincing the importance and validity of these theories is what doesn't work in society right now. My point is, the system that doesn't work in society is the system that best facilitates quality PE, in my opinion.

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Re: Questions or Concerns

Post by Angela_Chambers on Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:22 am

My father is constantly talking to me about what happens to the music program at his school.  He has been teaching music at the same school for almost 25 years.  I don't know much about music's reputation from an educators standpoint, but music programs are much like physical education programs in the fact that they both hold a position outside of the "core".  This is where most of my fathers problems stemmed from.  His class sizes were reduced because of new testing requirements.  Students who were not reaching standardized testing scores were removed from their "specials" (music should be identified as an elective, not a special).  My dad has needed to get new rental instruments for the last 10 years, and the administration has declined because the money could be put to better use improving the standardized testing scores.  My point is that my dad has been battling for his program, but in the past few years it has seemed as though he has stopped trying to fight.  At what point do physical educators decide to conform to the reputations that physical education was given in the past, and what factors are most likely to lead the educators to conforming?

Another point of interest in physical education is the development of technology.  How are the growing advancements in technology going to effect the activity levels of our youth?  How can physical educators use these advancements to motivate students to stay physically active?  What pieces of technology are more motivating than others?  How can we get students of lower socioeconomic the opportunity to use these types of technology if it proves to motivate students to be more physically active?

In a perfect world, physical education would be a respected and required class for all students.  In order to achieve the daily recommended activity amounts, students would go to physical education five days a week for an hour a piece.  Educators would take advantage of this time by offering a wide variety of intriguing activities in their curriculum.  They would also use more objective and valid measures to test all three domains to developed the whole student.  Physical educators would be more motivated to continuously improve their own teaching and strive to improve their reputation and the overall reputation of the subject.  From these improvements administrators, educators, and parents would all begin to respect the subject for all of its benefits.

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Re: Questions or Concerns

Post by KevinAndrewRRichards on Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:35 am

Kelly and Angela

Great thoughts in these posts! I agree with Kelly's observations about the physical education profession. As emphasis continues to be placed on "core subjects" physical education gets push further and further toward the margins. This has implications not only in terms of reduced PE teaching positions, but it also means that children will get less and less quality PE during the education. One school near Purdue cut back to one 30 minute period of PE EVERY OTHER WEEK! What can you possibly accomplish in that limited amount of time!? If PE programs are going to persevere in their current school-based structure, they need to find a way to get a stronger footing in the school curriculum. The $1 million question is how do we do that? I agree with Kelly's thoughts concerning advocacy as a key element of this process, but we need support from larger social institutions - namely governments.

Angela - your father's experiences are likely very similar to those of PE teachers. Music, like PE, is often marginalized and (as you note) outside of the core. I have often wondered if non-core subjects - PE, art, music to name a few - could accomplish more in terms of legislation if we worked together to advocate for our common interests. I guess the issue here is that, in some ways, we are competing for the same time.


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