Monday, April 30, 2012

Athletic and Physical Education Philosophy

As a future physical educator and coach, my philosophy rests on three pillars. These pillars are built upon what I believe, what I value and why I do what I do. The three pillars are instructional approaches, education first and assessment.
I believe that a physical educator should use a variety of different teaching techniques in their classroom. One teaching technique will not fit every grade level or class that you have. Command is the most common technique used for physical education. It is easy to use and is effective in teaching new skills and controlling the class. Many teachers like the feeling of being in control of their class so command is what teachers use most of the time. In my opinion, the students need to have a chance to have control in the class. Allowing the students to create their own solutions to a question or problem I make up can be very effective. Closing off student's curiosity, problem solving and creativity is not a good idea. Students should be encouraged to use their minds and think of ways to solve problems without the teacher giving the answer. I believe that a teacher needs to vary their instructional approaches depending on the grade level they are teaching. If I am teaching the elementary level I may tend to use guided discovery at the beginning of the units to allow the students to figure out their own way to do a skill. For example, if you are teaching dribbling you could allow the students to move around the gym practicing their idea of dribbling without the teacher directly controlling their movements and ideas. An important factor of choosing an instructional approach is to evaluate your class first. If your class has class management issues a direct approach may be more effective because the teacher has the control. If your class has the ability to work in groups peer teaching or guided discovery could be effective to work on the affective domain a bit. I believe a teacher needs to find what works best for them, but mostly what works best for their students.
Athletics has become a huge part of the society we live in today. There are multiple channels on television dedicated just to sports. I believe that athletics are useful in many ways, but are a privilege for the students to engage in. Sports can teach students many great things that they may not learn otherwise. Teamwork, cooperation, hard work, practice and skills are things that can be learned from athletics. I believe athletics are what people participate in to display their abilities and skills they have learned. But, athletics need to come first in school. I knew several students in school, and you can see it in college all the time, that had athletics as their number one priority. Although there is a chance a student may play a sport for their careers, a very large majority will not end up being a professional athlete. If you aim to be a professional athlete and neglect your work and your dream does not work out, what do you have left? This is why I believe that education comes first. If a student does not have the grades to participate in athletics, they do not deserve to play. Also, I believe that the standards for athletes should be higher in order to qualify for athletics. In my high school, an average of seventy was required to play sports. A grade of C- was all that was required to participate in sports. Athletes should be required to concentrate on their school work and put school first. C- is not a high enough grade requirement to have the students take school seriously. Athletics can be great for students, but academics should always come first.
Physical education has a huge role in the lives of students. But, many people question the need for physical education as a part of the school day. Most people believe that physical educators are referees that have a big book of games to play with their students. I believe a physical educator is more than that. A quality physical educator should be teaching their students physical skills, but also teaching knowledge of games, countries and health. The affective domain is also a huge part of what a physical educator should be doing. Teamwork, cooperation, listening, honesty and sharing are examples of skills that fall into the affective domain. Every class that is taught needs to include the psychomotor, affective and cognitive domains. In order to prove that physical education is worthwhile, physical educators need to use assessment. Assessment is used to show progress of the students in your class. Assessment can be time consuming because it is an additional thing you will have to do. But, I believe that if a teacher is not doing assessment, they are not doing their job. Besides tracking progress, assessment allows a teacher to reflect on their own teaching abilities. A teacher is not perfect and they also need to reflect on themselves and their teaching. A quality teacher should ask themselves, was that lesson effective and what can I do to be better. I believe that a physical educators goal is to help their student become physically educated people. Physically educated people are people that are knowledgeable about their body and ways to take care of their body. A physically educated person is able to find activities that enhance their health and wellness. I value reflection as a way to improve myself and improve the learning of my students. I believe that assessment is vital to showing progress of the students and for becoming the best teacher you can be.
Assessment, education first and instructional approaches are the three pillars to my athletics and physical education philosophy. I believe that a teacher has the ability to positively affect the lives of the students they teach. I hope that I will be able to influence my students and help them become physically educated people.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Educational Philosophy

As a future educator, my philosophy on education rests on four principles. These four principles are based in my beliefs, values and why I chose to become an educator. The four principles that make my philosophy are the faculty and staff, curriculum, passion and teamwork, and instructional approaches.
I believe that every quality school starts with a great faculty and staff. Without a foundation of quality administrators, teachers and the rest of the staff that helps keep a school run smoothly, what would be left? First, I believe that teachers make or break the quality level of a school. I believe that a teacher has the power to influence the lives of every student that walks into their classroom each and every year. Quality teachers have the ability to create passion for subjects that students may never have had otherwise. I remember a teacher I had in tenth grade during high school. For me, history has always been fairly boring and not something I had a particular interest in. How Columbus discovered America has never inspired any enthusiasm or made me want to learn more. But, in this class my teacher made every single day exciting. Every day I went to school I would look forward to history class and the teacher that taught my class. I may not remember exactly what I learned in that class, but I will never forget the teacher I had. A defining characteristic of a quality teacher is what the students remember of that teacher afterward. The low quality teachers that I have had over the years have faded from my memory, and the grades I received with those teachers was lower than with the quality teachers. I believe that quality teachers inspire the students in their classes to do their best and achieve things they might not achieve otherwise. I hope that when I begin my first teaching job, I will have the chance to inspire my students to be the best they can be.
What is being taught in the schools is vital to the success in schools. I believe that in order to provide a quality education the curriculum needs to be carefully created. Every grade level will not be learning the same information at the same time so it is very important to evaluate what should be taught at each grade level. Also, teaching the same information year after year will not be effective for the students or the teachers. A quality curriculum should clearly show exactly what each grade level will be learning over the course of the year. Not only is the subject matter important, but the types and amount of assessments that will be used to track the progress of the students. I believe that assessment is vital to the educational process. Without assessment how can we show improvement in our students and prove to the parents that our profession is necessary. Physical education is highly criticized for being just another place for the students to play games. With assessment and a proper curriculum, physical educators should be able to prove their worth and provide a quality education for the students.
I believe that passion and teamwork are an underrated characteristic of a quality school. The teacher at a school need to be passionate about what they do and love coming to work everyday. If you come to work in the morning and give only fifty percent of your full ability, you will not teach the students that they need to learn. I value a person that works hard and does everything in their power to teacher their students as much as possible. I believe that teachers need to work together to provide an adequate education. Too often teachers stick to what they believe is right and will not accept help from others. But, sometimes the other teachers in the school may have a brilliant idea that could take your teaching to the next level. Additionally, I believe that incorporating different subjects into your classroom can be very effective. Especially in physical education, incorporating math, science, or history in your lesson can be as simple as having a map on your gym wall. During your international games unit, teach the students some history of the games home country and have them find that country on the map. Asking the other teachers what they are currently doing in their own classrooms and incorporating that information will help the students learn even more. Teachers should love what they do and be willing to communicate and work with one another to provide the best education impossible.
The final principle of my philosophy in education is instructional approaches. I believe that a teacher needs to be willing to use a variety of teaching techniques in their classroom throughout the year. In physical education, there are many different techniques such as command, practice, guided discovery, peer teaching, etc. Different units and different grade level may require different teaching techniques. For example, for elementary education it can be important to allow the students to figure out their own solutions to problems and use their imaginations. When teaching a new skill to your students, you may want to use a more direct approach like the command method. If classroom management is a problem for one particular class, perhaps an indirect style may not be effective. Also, varying the strategies you use over the year can be very effective. In my experience, when a teacher does the same thing day after day, I get bored. Being versatile and creative in your teaching and teaching methods can be great for you and your students.
Instructional approaches, passion and teamwork, faculty and staff and curriculum are the basis for a quality school and educational program. I believe that with all four of these principles working in harmony, a teacher can provide their students with the tools they need to succeed and enjoy education.