Physical Education


Physical Education Essay, Research Paper

I believe that in many circumstances and in differing situations, children’s emotions and discomforts are being over looked in the physical education setting. Ideally a teacher would like to have all their students, as well rounded as possible, as far as intellectually, emotionally and physically. I am afraid it is almost impossible these days, with the influx of divorce, widening gap in socioeconomic status, increased diagnosis of attention disorders and the increased number of kids that are less active these days. This is a serious demand put upon any teacher. Though these problems are extensive, they still nonetheless are real; a policy that is trying to help and is being adopted into Saskatchewan’s physical education policies is the term regarded as “inclusion”, which is part of the governments aim of “lifelong participation”. Inclusion education is about students with disabilities or other inequalities having the same choices and chances to participate in activities in their education as their peers. I felt it was my responsibility both for myself and the kids that I would teach in the future, to explore this aspect of teaching to better understand what goes on in the gym.

Of course I can understand the importance and significance of inclusion needed in all areas of teaching. To reflect on my past experience, growing up as a timid, shy and overwhelmed child in school, I had but one place I felt somewhat comfortable and that was the sports field. With being fairly gifted with my coordination, I felt it was my one place to shine at school. Comfort was the key for my success in physical education; it unlike other classes put me in a situation I felt I could compete in. So when phys ed. came around I flourished and almost always tried to be the best I could, and because of this, I feel that most of the time I was one of the favorites for the phys ed. teachers. This is another area of concern (favoritism) that I would like to address and to try to understand. Favoritism is a small part of a teacher’s expectations of their students, which can lead to detrimental outcomes for some children if not felt wanted or welcome.

Good teachers are typically those who encourage their students to believe they are capable, important and self sufficient.” Something that could be added to this quote even though it is very exemplary of what is necessary, is the word “all” in front of the word students. It could be conveyed that the quotation could have significance and relevance for a select few. Students that mould into what the teacher deems necessary for the right skills and attitudes acquired in order to teach them properly and effectively while still making the teacher feel they are accomplishing their job. What I am trying to say is there are kids who from an early age know just what to do in order to please their teachers, and there are those that struggle to find that all their life. It is those who relate well to the teacher that often are “encouraged” to “believe” that they are “capable” and “important”. And it is those who the teachers boast who have “succeeded”.

Maybe I am way off base as far as teacher’s expectations and attitudes, and how they treat students differently. But I felt for example in elementary physical education, more of a bond and a relationship with my phys ed. teachers. This was because of the attitude and enthusiasm that I would bring to the gym unlike the rest of my schoolwork. I believe that there were kids that were neglected to some extent because of kids like myself. I did feel then and even today partially feel those kids had their place to shine, be it with math or language, science or french. Albeit with each kid hopefully having a place to shine, I know as a teacher I will have to foster and practice forms of inclusion and to stay away from having favorites. I want each kid of mine to feel capable, self sufficient and important. Part of the reason I chose this assignment was to expose myself to other teacher’s ways of incorporating inclusion and dealing with favoritism. Two areas that I feel I will have to work on in order for myself to feel that either I will be a good teacher or a great teacher.

On page #1 of the notes you will see that I observed a class that I would very much like to teach someday, not necessarily the kids, just more of the situation. There was only twenty students which was a pleasant surprise because of the horror stories that you hear about having thirty some kids in one class. There were ten girls and ten boys; again this seems almost ideal. Now I’m not completely sure what I would do, but the first five minutes of tag I thought was a little violent, and it was the boys who prevailed in being last to stand. This I feel segregated the athletes from the others because of the nature of the game and it was not entirely useful. On the other hand I really liked what he did with the relays, the teams were very even and the different ways of incorporating fun and skills really helped with the participation. Everybody, no matter the level enjoyed this activity because even though it was competitive, the nature of the specific relays helped the kids realize it was really just for fun. I was surprised but pleased when he decided to split the class so girls were against girls and boys against boys when it came time to play the floor hockey game. This really included everyone even though it could be called discriminatory, though I wouldn’t agree with that. This really worked well, I think the girls who were very competitive had even a better time than the boys, and who would have thought that with floor hockey? Now the way he disciplined I am not sure I could do that, but for some reason it seemed to work fine and the students really seemed to like and respect their teacher, which of course is vitally important. So really the only thing I would change would be the first five minutes of playing tag, I think I would try to work on some stretching and movement exercises while still trying to have fun, like these kids did in this class.

Now if you look at page #2, even though the class is quite a bit younger I couldn’t believe how little respect the teacher had for these kid’s abilities. This was an older female teacher and she was set in her ways but as far as these kids were concerned they had very little to gain in this class. Right away when she would bang her tambourine to get their attention, I knew this was going to be a much different situation than last. The stretching exercises were good and the kids seemed to like them. They were really stretching well and having fun doing it. After that the problems start, if I was talking about gender equality I could probably talk a long time. It was very evident that the teacher preferred the girls, from letting them be the team captains and only harping at the boys. She treated all her students like they were in kindergarten, by giving them very little to do and not teaching them anything that they didn’t already know how to do. The games were simple and you could tell the kids were bored, other than maybe when they were on the rolleys, but the teacher didn’t let them have to good of time. This seemed to be a time for the teacher to get out of the classroom and take a break. I feel these kids did not really gain anything in this class that I observed and I would hope for there sake either she retires or trades her phys ed. time away. There was nothing in the class except for some of the stretches that I would incorporate into my own class. I guess you could say there is some inclusion with the use of many different types of equipment, but the kids were not really learning and her favoritism with the girls was astounding. I would hope for everybody (they all seemed to be good kids) in this class that they are getting some activity outside of class.

I couldn’t have planned it better as far as watching two completely different teaching styles. Unfortunately for the kids in the one class these styles couldn’t have been more inclusive and uninclusive and having blatant favorites to no favorites at all. Though not uncommon, I do believe these were both extremes on either end as far as what presence the teacher makes on their students. Luckily I was able to see (page # 3) the same grade 7 teacher organize one of the recess house leagues. Again he used some inclusive themes with trying to put everyone at the same playing level. He made the grade 8 boys use their opposite hand for throwing and anyone who pinched a little too close he made them back up and throw from a little further away. By incorporating both dodgeball and basketball at the same time, it was a way the kids could enjoy both and compete at a level that wasn’t too demanding.

In observation # 4, I shouldn’t have been too surprised with the outcome. But I still was disappointed with how little the kids were involved with any kind of activities. And I was disappointed on how there was little to no known supervision for the kids, or any guidance there to help them use their imaginations or something? It is nice to know there is a house league, but that is only in the morning twice a week. If there is bad weather like this day what is a kid to do? I would hope I could incorporate some kind of game or activity that more than one class could get involved in and have fun with.

With observations # 5 and 6 it was again what you can expect from those situations. The hockey game was more involving for the parents and coaches then it was for the players who really just seemed to be there for a good time, not an all important life event. As far as inclusion and favorites, it was evident on both sides that the coach wanted to win even if that meant snubbing a player or two. Especially the one kid on the bobcat team who for reasons unknown sat from the time I noticed and on, even though he could skate on and off the ice. During the tennis, I think the coach could have been a little more helpful to his students with their skills and helping the weaker players feel a little bit better about themselves. He was just so consumed with who plays who, that he forgot about the rest of the idea with teaching and molding players.

Kids need guidance and direction, it is evident in every one of my observations that either the teacher/coach is there for their own interests or their for the students interests. Too often though the kids are of second nature to the activity itself. Nevertheless it should be every physical educator and coach’s goal to enhance their student’s quality of life through active living. By creating an atmosphere and environment that promotes learning by all is the first step towards empowering students to become lifelong learners who are committed to lifelong activity.

Students who are different because of their gender, status, and race or physical or mental impairments struggle to be treated equally. Therefore it is up to the teacher to help all students see diversity as a strength and to incorporate equality as a moral and necessary issue. Teachers are huge influences and models for their students, they help form attitudes and virtues that students form with each other. If done well, the teacher helps the students to become more sensitive and supportive. If done poorly, the influence can be devastating, not only will everyone not be involved, but also ineffective teaching will dampen the learning environment. Physical education lessons should be able to incorporate the wide range of abilities that are found today, and by inclusion with specific outcomes needed for each individual, it is possible.

These observations have made me very anxious and excited about the prospect of myself teaching physical education someday. With these observations, what will stick in my mind are how the respect and admiration for one teacher is so prevalent, and the utter ignorance and lack of motivation in the other. In every observation, I feel more could have been done to either increase the learning possibilities or efforts could have been made so that every child was to be completely involved. What is found with many of these teachers/leaders is that they are possibly in over their head, too much to do or they are not entirely sure what to do? This experience both agitates and frightens me at the same time. I desperately want to be the teacher that makes a difference, but at the same time I am afraid that I too will get overwhelmed of lost in the chaos of having so much to deal with.

I would hope that the learning from this experience, future schooling and training, that it would prepare me to deal with the many obstacles of teaching. That I will be able to automatically be able to integrate a sense of inclusion into all of my classes, and to respectfully give every child their right of being treated equally no matter the circumstance. Included with this quality is the employment of not having favorites or preferred students, knowing that it segregates a child when not necessary. I believe this exercise helped me realize some problems that are evident everywhere, but most importantly helped where I need to improve and to work on.

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