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Physical Education

Define physical education?

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2009-06-17 09:24:09

The primary aims of physical education have varied, based on the

needs of the time and place. Most modern schools' goal is to

provide students with knowledge, skills, capacities, values, and

the enthusiasm to maintain a healthy lifestyle into adulthood.

Activities included in the program are designed to promote physical

fitness, to develop motor skills, to instill knowledge and

understanding of rules, concepts, and strategies. Students learn to

either work as part of a team, or as individuals, in a wide variety

of competitive activities. In all states in the United States,

physical education is offered to students from grades K through 12.

Most states do require physical education from 6th through 9th

grades and offer "elective" physical education classes from 10th

through 12th grades.

Physical Education trends have developed recently to incorporate

more activities into P.E. Introducing students to lifetime

activities like bowling, walking/hiking, or frisbee at an early age

can help students develop good activity habits that will carry over

into adulthood. Teaching non-traditional sports to students may

also provide the necessary motivation for students to increase

their activity, and can help students learn about different

cultures. For example, while teaching a unit about Lacrosse (in say

Arizona), students can also learn a little bit about the Native

American cultures of the Northeast and Eastern Canada, where

Lacrosse originated. Teaching non-traditional (or non-native)

sports provides a great opportunity to integrate academic concepts

from other subjects as well (social studies from the example

above), which is required of every P.E. teacher these days.

There are also many different models that have been created as

of late that change the face of P.E. One example of this is the

Health Club Model. Teaching with this model is very different from

the "Organized Recess" of 20 or 30 years ago. Spun off the the boom

in the health club industry, a P.E. class provides many of the same

"classes" that are found at a health club. Monday a student could

be doing kickboxing, the next day is yoga, Wednesday the student is

doing Spinning. This type of program provides a great variety of

activity for students, a lot a high intensity exercise, and helps

introduce these activities for use later in life. The Sports

Education model is another example of a new model were the class is

run like a sports league, with students taking the role of coaches,

scorers, referees, and reporters as well as players. Using this

model, students practice management skills, mathematic skills, and

writing skill all while learning sports skills and being


Another trend is the incorporation of Health and Nutrition to

the physical education curriculum. The Child Nutrition and WIC

Reauthorization Act of 2004 required that all school districts with

a federally funded school meal program develop wellness policies

that address nutrition and physical activity. While teaching

students sports and movement skills, P.E. teachers are now

incorporating short health and nutrition lessons into the

curriculum. This is more prevalent at the elementary school level,

where students do not have a specific Health class.

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