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.

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