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|Submission Title:||From Physical Education Class to an Comprehensive Process of Becoming Physically Educated|
|Submission Entry:||When I envision physical education in the year 2020 and beyond, I see a school curricular subject that has expanded beyond the confines of class time and made itself more relevant than ever. When the term physical education is used, it will be widely understood that the purpose is to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime, but it will connote more than physical education class.
In 2020, physical education will be a comprehensive educational process that utilizes all available resources. Physical education class will continue as the foundation for that process, but physical education content will be integrated and practiced throughout the school day (including before- and after-school opportunities). For example, through purposeful planning, training and support, recess, school-based childcare, and before/after school physical activity clubs will serve as positive opportunities to reinforce concepts and skills being taught in physical education class and contribute to the nationally-recommended 60+ minutes of daily physical activity. Not only will other subjects be integrated into physical education, but teachers of other subjects will enthusiastically embrace physical activity as a medium for teaching their content – be it math, science, or art. Physical education/activity facilities will not sit unused at “any” time – barriers will be overcome so that students and staff can “drop-in” for activity during the school day, community members can use the facilities outside of school hours (morning, evening, weekends, holidays), and community organizations can conduct classes/teams.
How will this happen? Well, that’s more than I can express in 500 words. In short, it will require a lot of effort from a lot of people. But first and foremost, it will require a champion and leader – the physical education teacher – who in 2020 will be respectfully referred as the School Physical Activity Director (and physical education teacher). This is the individual with the qualifications, expertise, and passion to mastermind the planned integration of physical education throughout the school day and to train and support the many individuals who will deliver the various physical activity opportunities. How can this be done while also teaching quality physical education? Identifying the answers – and then advocating for their implementation – is a critical task for our profession and one that we need to tackle now. Might the answer be to increase pay (a stipend) for the teacher/director or flex hours when there are multiple physical education teachers (e.g., teacher A works from 6am-1:30pm covering before school activities and some physical education classes and teacher B works from 11am-6:30pm covering some physical education classes and after school activities)? No doubt our profession has the creativity to identify various strategies and scenarios – because we believe that every student needs to become a physically educated individual and will stop at nothing to make that happen.