Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PE 2020 Vision: The New Era of Physical Education

For physical educators today, there is a constant struggle to defend their field as a part of a well-rounded educational curriculum. This is in large part due to our own malpractice. Naturally, no matter the field, there are individuals who are in it for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, these people give the people who are in the field for the right reasons a huge uphill battle to fight. Sadly, my fellow physical educators, we have done this to ourselves. We have allowed physical educators to go far too long without being accountable for their student’s learning. We have not deviated from the “tired six” sport-centered curriculum that plagues many school districts today. We have not tied physical education to a social need that we intend to focus on. We are allowing schools to include physical education as a “special” subject, robbing us of the true meaning of the field which is clearly depicted in its name, education through the physical. Fortunately, there is hope for our field. Through the tireless efforts of committed teachers, higher education faculty, and organizations such as New York State AHPERD, AAHPERD, NASPE, and countless others, we are moving into a new era of physical education. The new era of physical education will bring forth a new level of accountability for student learning. Assessment is the driving force behind teaching, and the tendency to grade upon irrelevant factors such as whether a student changes their clothes will soon be a mere memory of a darker time in this field. Physical education will have valid, reliable, and measurable assessments so that we can earn ourselves a spot among the other academic areas on the New York State School Report Card. We will move from our current emphasis on sports skills to a new, more practical concentration on lifetime activities. We will integrate fitness and health into our lessons so that we can address the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our country. Finally, we will no longer tolerate the idea that physical education is “gym class,” or a “special subject.” We will advocate for our field using research into the benefits of quality physical education and evidence of student learning. Make no mistake about it, everyone; the new era of physical education is coming. The undergraduate physical education students in colleges and universities throughout not just New York, but the whole country, are being trained and inspired to be change agents and bring in the new era of physical education. We would like to thank every single teacher, professor, administrator, volunteer, and members of our state and national organizations who are the change agents in the trenches right now, fighting for physical education because of their unrelenting passion and commitment to delivering quality physical education to all young people today.

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