IT’S NOT WHAT, BUT WHY!

It's not what but why you do itAs I was going from workshop to workshop this weekend at the CAHPERD conference and was talking to others I seemed to get the idea that people do without always knowing why. Why is that? So many people do do do and let the why fade away.

This got me to thinking. Why do I do what I do? For me, maybe I am weird, this is easy. I think about it a lot. Ultimately I love teaching teachers. I want to see teachers learn and grow. I like seeing teachers eyes light up when they understand a new concept, a new app, or a new meaning to why they do what they do.

So, I got to thinking, what can I do to influence more teachers. Hmmm, got it, volunteer for a leadership position in the state organization. And I did. With this position I get to set up workshops and awards banquets or develop leaders to do this. Just up my alley.

I asked a simple little question on Twitter.

I received some really good responses.

I believe that we have a good core of people who know why they are doing what they doing, but unfortunately we have a big population of teachers that have lost the “why”. I see so many teachers who need help finding their meaning again. I believe that it is our duty, for our students and our profession, to help them get back to why they got into education to begin with. We need to keep being good examples and encouraging them to try new things, even if it is hard to do.
Many of you may be saying, “It’s up to them to change”. You are correct! But we need to lead the way. Maybe they just do not know how to get to where they want to go. Let’s be world changers!

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THE CULTURE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION

physical activity & academic achievementHow do we change the culture of physical education? Such an open ended question. There are so many aspects. There is the old school teachers who just throw out the ball, brain research (how physical activity affects learning), students-parents-communities-administrators attitudes of what physical education is, pedagogy being used, grading systems, faculty involvement and much much more.

Where to start?  There are many things that can start at the same time. For instance high quality teaching, administrator education, and faculty exercise offerings during lunch can all happen together. Even a change in grading could probably occur here. Though you do not want to start to fast.

Let me give a personal example. This story is actually happening at the school where I currently teach. The first thing that happened was that there were two teachers who were not doing teaching up to standards and two new teachers were hired. I was one that was hired. Next, the three teacher physical education department got together before school ended to throw around some ideas on how to be on the same page and start out the next school year well.

All three teachers then did a lot of planning over the summer and came to school at the beginning of this year ready to teach standards based lessons and have the students do a lot of learning. We had a really great start and over all the year has gone very well.

The three of us have had hours upon hours of discussion and debate over all things physical education. We have had a lot of agreement. We have all been pushing each other to be better. We all have had to make some concessions. We all want the students to understand the difference between physical education and physical activity. This has been a tough battle.

One of the best things we did as a department is go to our state conference together (CAHPERD). We not only got closer as a department, but we were also able to meet several people who are doing what we want to do. So we know changing what people think and expect can be done.

Some of the things we have accomplished are common lessons, assessments, and grading. We also decided to have the weight room open on Tuesdays and Fridays during lunch for students. Some things that we want to do are create a common syllabus, incorporate Google classroom, and do more common assessment. We also want to include parents in family fitness nights and do fun activities during lunch once a week for the teachers.

It seems that so many people do not know the research behind physical education and academic achievement. I would also like to see us do some presenting at the local district level to promote physical education and hold professional developments for our district.

It seems like so much to do and it is, but it will be so worth it in the end. What are you doing to change the culture where you are? How are you making our profession more professional?

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THE MULTICULTURE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION

multiculturalMy inspiration to write this post comes from Adam Howell Voices of #PhysEd.

I look around my classroom and see students who are growing up a lot different than I did. That is okay. Not only are they growing up different than me, but most of them look different than me. That is okay too. Sometimes I think to myself how can I reach the Latino students or the Korean, the African American, and the Filipino? I myself being Caucasian.  Do I just need to treat them as the “Americans” they are or do I try to bring in cultural games and activities to broaden the horizons of the other cultures in my class and give support to those that I am playing the activity for?

Honestly I do not know too many cultural games or activities. The one that I am the best at is Tinikling, a traditional Filipino dance. My department has just recently received the equipment to play Tchoukball which was developed in Switzerland. I do not have any Swiss students though. I have also taught team handball in the past which gets it origins mainly from Germany. So do I only research and introduce games of the cultures I have in class or do I find any cultural game and go for it?

Then I think to myself, “students always ask to play soccer, basketball, football, and hockey”. These had to start somewhere, but are they really too mainstreamed to call them “cultural”. I want to be as sensitive to the different cultures as I can, but sometimes I wonder how important this aspect really is in physical education. Most other subjects in the United States are taught from the U.S. perspective. I do not see English teachers teaching British or Australian types of  English in the U.S. Math is the same everywhere. History is usually taught from the perspective of whatever country it is being taught in.

I just think these things sometimes. I wonder if we would be more “cultural” in schools if race problems might fall to the wayside. Would I have to be scared walking in certain parts of Los Angeles? It just makes me think!

I definitely believe we need to hear more from students and parents of all the cultures and see what their ideas and opinions would be. I think it would be great to develop some professional development on this topic as well! Looks like I just made a job for myself.

And just think doing this through the lens of the state or national physical education standards. Not impossible, but definitely challenging!

What do you think? How do you handle this in your classroom?

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REACHING THE UNREACHABLE

pe teacherOld school, roll out the ball, kind of teachers. We think what they are doing is not in the best interest of the student. And some of their practices flat out wrong. What are you doing to see a changing of the guard?

I have been thinking a lot lately about our friends who are not on the same page as us. They call themselves “P.E. teacher”. When clearly, by their actions they are not.

You see them across the yard they are just sitting down watching the kids play. They are, in effect, a glorified recess monitor. How did they get this way? Some of these people got into physical education because they wanted to coach, which is admirable. In fact a lot of these people are excellent coaches. Unfortunately physical education is not just for the athletes.

A person I used to work with told me straight to my face, “If they dress, participate, and don’t cause problems they will get an ‘A'”. Each day I would see this person just relaxing not doing any real teaching. While I am on the other side of the field working my tail off.

My 8th grade daughter and 6th grade son have different “physical education teachers”. I have spoken to both of them about their programs. They are proud to tell me that they grade on if the student dresses and how athletic the student is. So, the more athletic the student is the better grade they get. They each also had to do the SAME basketball lay-up for time test. How does a 6th grader and an 8th grader have the exact skill test? And, oh yeah, there is no skill testing in the 8th grade California standards.

I tried to talk to my daughter’s teacher about grading practices a little and he said, “We have always graded this way at this school and we always will unless we are told otherwise”. As the conversation went on it seemed he has little to no desire to have a high quality physical education program. I would like to see him be a go getter and want to get better on his own. Personally, he is a nice guy.

I hear people say that there are some 10,000 physical education teachers on Twitter. That is amazing! How many of them are really active though? I follow around 750 teachers and I would have to say (and this is a guess) only about 1/3 of them, at best, are tweeting on a regular basis. So, even though there might be 10,000 registered physical educators only those who truly want to get better at their craft will engage.

I would even have to propose that you might even go as far as saying that the those who have gone from Twitter to also using Voxer may be the most committed to growth and learning. But, I digress. Let me get back on topic.

These teachers that we call “old school” still have students in their classes who are not getting high quality physical education. My overall concern is for the students, but I also have a heart for the teachers as well. I feel I was put on this earth to teach the teachers and in turn impact the students.

This is a touchy subject. How do you tell a teacher that they are not doing a good job? Some might know it and not know how to change. Others may know they are not working to the best ability and not really care. I am sure to that there are even those that do not know that what they are doing is not high quality. How do we get all three groups on board with changing to a quality program?

I have resources to share and I am sure many of you do as well. We need to get these teachers connected somehow to our PLN. Whether through discussion, the giving of resources, or just being a good example.

You say your here for the students. Do you mean just yours or all students?

If you liked what you read, make sure to share and comment. I would love to hear what you have to say!

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