Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lifetime-Fitness Based Physical Education

When we think back to high school, many of us think of games such as volleyball, basketball, dodge ball, softball, etc. The focus of Physical Education was mainly on sports. By all means time should be spent on sports in Physical Education, however I feel that we should incorporate more lifetime activities into Physical Education class, especially in high school. Not all of the athletes in high school go on to play in college and a minimal amount of college athletes go on to play professionally. This is why we need to give our students the skills necessary to be able to take part in lifetime fitness. Activities such as golf, cross country skiing, rollerblading, walking, running, tennis, etc. are activities that people of any age can do to remain active throughout their life.

During high school, I was very focused on athletics. I was a three sport athlete, playing soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. Once I came to college, I still take part in sports on a regular basis, however I am beginning to shift my focus more to lifetime activities. As you get older, there are less and less opportunities to participate in sports on a regular basis. With lifetime activities, there are many opportunities for everyone wishing to participate. I am sure that I will continue playing sports for as long as I possibly can but I have started expanding my focus of physical activity. I want to give my students the knowledge and opportunities to do the same.

I started golfing when I was about 10 years old and I still golf whenever I can today. It is a great way to get out and be active. Golf is a great activity for everyone because it is a low impact activity while having great physical activity benefits. Throughout junior high and high school, my Physical Education class never incorporated golf into the curriculum. I think that this would be a great unit for students to get involved in because of its great benefits of being a lifetime activity. When I become a teacher, if possible, I am going to incorporate a golf unit into my curriculum, as well as many other lifetime fitness activities.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Poverty and Education

Today, for my PED 356 Adaptive Physical Education class, we took part in a poverty simulation so that we could somewhat see life from the other side of the poverty level. This experience was a great one to go through. Even in the hour that this simulation took place, you could definitely begin to get a feel of what families that are living in poverty have to go through on a day to day basis in order to feed and support their families in every way that they can. It can be extremely difficult for parents to raise children living in poverty. No parent wants to have the feeling of not being able to support their children and realizing how hard they work to give them everything they can, can help you as a teacher help the students when they are at school and under your care.

A student's life at home can sometimes transfer over into the classroom and teachers need to be aware of it and deal with it whenever it occurs. In the simulation today, my group got the feeling of what it felt like to not have money to be able to pay bills and buy food for the children. It is a very stressful one and it is a very negative feeling of not being able to provide everything for your children, even though you are doing all that you can to try to. For students who have rough home-lives, it can be a big distraction for them while they are in school because they may be focused more on their families and home than on their school work. This is not always the case, but sometimes it is. Students may be tired from not getting enough sleep or from not getting enough food because they simply cannot afford it. We teachers need to be able to help students who may be disengaged for whatever reason stay on task and pay attention so that they can get a good education. We can do this by showing them what getting an education can do for them and help them succeed in school.

The amount of people living in poverty is an amazing amount. About 46 million people in the United States are living at or below the poverty line. This is a staggering amount. In today's economy, finding a job is very difficult and finding a job without a decent education is even more difficult. We need to work on getting our students a good education and give them good educational opportunities that are given to everybody so that children can become even more successful, hardworking individuals.

This simulation provided me with a good look of what it is to live like from the other side of the poverty line. It is very difficult for families to provide for their families in this hard economic time and we should do all we can do help each other out when it is possible. I would like to thank everyone who put on this simulation today because I believe that it was a great one for all of us to go through today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Special Education

Special Education consists of 5 principles that are very important. The first one is an extremely important principle. The first principle is Zero Rejection which addresses the issue that every child with a disability cannot be denied a free public education. Just because a student may have a disability, you cannot take away an education opportunity from them.

In all schools, you will have students that may have special needs. You will most likely have a student or class of students in a special education class that you will need to teach. Having a background in working with students with disabilities or special needs is definitely a plus when searching for a teaching job where teaching these students is almost definitely going to occur. 

The second principle is closely associated with the first and it is concerned with how children with disabilities are assessed. Students with special needs need to be assessed just as any other student would be so that they are not unfairly placed into an inappropriate grouping of students.

Along the lines of appropriate education is the third principle. The student's needs have to be assessed by the teacher so that the education that the student is getting is correct for that particular individual. The education that the student is getting should be geared towards the goals that you as a teacher have set for that individual student.

The fourth principle addresses the way that students with disabilities or special needs are taught in the class. Students with disabilities should be taught in a Least-Restrictive Environment so that they can participate with their other peers if it is appropriate for them. This puts attention to not allowing these students to be segregated into a group based on their disabilities.

The last principle is concerned with due process of the students with disabilities. They and their families need to be informed of the decisions that the school administrators and teachers make that concern their education.

As a teacher, you must make every attempt to help all of your students. The last thing that students with disabilities want is to be segregated into their own group while they are at school. Students want to participate with their peers and have fun. You should do everything you can to include students with disabilities in your regular classes. This is as simple as modifying drills and activities so that all students can participate, which is what you should be able to do as a good teacher anyways, so it's really nothing new.

There are a couple things that you could do to help you prepare for having a student with a disability in your class. When you find out what student you have, you should do research on whatever disability they may have so that you can know what may help them learn the best or what may not work. Doing research online or in a library is good but you could also invite the student to come talk to you so that you have them tell you what helps them and what they like to do during Physical Education class.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Get to Know Your Students

As a teacher, it is impossible to reach all of your students why using only one teaching method. Every different student has a different way of learning. Some students are visual learners, some students are auditory learners, while others are hands-on learners, also known as kinesthetic learners. One of the most important qualities that you can have as a teacher is to integrate many different styles of teaching in every class so that you can help every student to the best of your ability instead of just reaching the students that take to the teaching style that you prefer.

Visual learners learn best through seeing what they are learning. A large part of the student population is visual learners. The use of visual aids, textbooks, or graphs can be very helpful tools in a classroom to help these types of learners succeed. This is why in Physical Education, it is great to have a poster or some type of visual aid with cues or important parts of a skill on it to help these learners.

Auditory learners learn best through hearing what they are learning. The amount of students that are auditory learners is not as great as visual or kinesthetic learners, but still some students are this type of learners so it is important to incorporate this into your lessons. In Physical Education class, it can be helpful to have the students say the cues out loud and to talk through the steps of the skills being learned in order to help these students.

All throughout my life, I have been a hands-on, or kinesthetic learner. I learn best by performing a task and being given time to practice the task. This is one reason why I loved Physical Education class growing up because I was able to physically perform tasks instead of sitting in a chair in the classroom listening to a teacher teach. In Physical Education class, students are mostly performing tasks that require them to use their hands to physically perform the task. Practice is a large part of Physical Education class.

Along with the different learning types of the students, as a teacher you may also have to deal with the different motivational levels of the students to learn. Some students will enjoy being in class and learning a particular topic whereas another student may have to motivation at all to be in that class. This is easily visible in Physical Education class where participation is important. I clearly saw this throughout my entire educational career. I was one of the students who absolutely enjoyed Physical Education class, hence my choice of becoming a Physical Education teacher. Then there were the students who would either sit on the side and not do anything or be part of the game or activity but not actively participate. As teachers, we need to get to know our students and what motivates them. By learning what your students like, you can take that and incorporate it into your lesson so that the student who was not enjoying themselves before, may not be more motivated to participate because you are doing something that they like to do. You cannot teach every class the same because of this exact reason. You have to teach each class separately because the students are different and they have different interests and personalities.

All in all, get to know your students' abilities and ways of learning so that you can best reach each student in your class. Be able to modify activities so that you can get every student to participate and do your best to attempt to motivate your student to have fun and enjoy Physical Education. No student is a lost cause and it will help them to know that you care about them and want them to participate and enjoy themselves. There is one saying that I will never forget that I heard in my Educational Psychology class here at Cortland. It was "They (the students) do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care." If you put forth the effort, you students will see it and hopefully recognize it and respect you for it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Importance of Outdoor Education Programs

In many schools' Physical Education programs, the sports that are taught are generally the same. Basketball, flag football, volleyball, softball, and badmitten are some of these very present units in a curriculum. Sometimes too much time is spent on these sports when more time should be focused on lifetime activities that the children can take part in for the rest of their life. Yes, the students should be subjected to these sports so that if they choose to, they can become interested and possibly join a school sports team to continue playing but I believe that students should be introduced to more than just these. Just introducing students to new different activities can get them interested so that they can pursue these activities more outside of school.

I never had an "outdoor education" type unit while I grew up. I love camping, hiking, canoeing, etc. and I would have loved to have a little unit that focused on these lifetime activities while I was in high school. I know that it may be difficult for some schools to do this due to lack of supplies necessary but just being introduced to a small degree would have been beneficial. I have gone camping with my family ever since I was born. I absolutely love it. However, I just really got into hiking this past summer with a couple of my friends. We tried to go hiking at least once a week. I love it because it is a great way to be physically active and you can do it with family and friends. I think that if I was introduced to hiking in high school, I would have began then. Along with the exercise that you get from hiking, the view at the top of a mountain is amazing and the feeling I get after I have hiked a very high mountain is awesome. I think that hiking a mountain is a great metaphor for life. You put in a ton of hard work to get to reach your goals (the top of the mountain) and then when you end up reaching your goals you realize that all of the hard work that you had just put in (climbing the mountain) was worth it.

I think that an outdoor education program can be a great unit to incorporate in a high school curriculum. This past summer I took the outdoor education class up at Raquette Lake. It was a great experience. The skills that are focused on in an outdoor education unit are mainly affective skills. Yes, there are the skills being taught that focus on how to physically perform the skills such as the "C" stroke in canoeing, however this type of education unit is a great way, as a teacher, to see a student's behaviors while in a non-classroom setting. The skills that students need to use in this type of education are one's that are used in everyday living. Teamwork, communication, perseverance, leadership/followership, respect, and initiative are skills that students can use to be successful in their lives. I believe that these are some of the greatest skills that you as a teacher can teach your students. Being able to shoot a basketball or derive a mathematical formula are great skills to have, but these affective skills can much better help your students to grow as individuals in a society where social interaction is very important.

Every teacher can and should reinforce these skills, but in a Physical Education setting, it is usually much easier to observe student to student interaction than it is in a classroom setting. Also, the activities that you can do in Physical Education can force students to use these skills which, if they are not strong in these areas, it gives them a lot of practice to improve them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Choosing The Teaching Profession

Throughout my entire life, I have been lucky enough to be blessed to have been taught by many great teachers. Needless to say, my Physical Education teachers have been some of the most influential teachers that I have had. This is why I have chosen to pursue the profession of a Physical Educator. Throughout my schooling, many of my Physical Education teachers have been my coaches as well. This is one reason why they had so much more of an influence on my life. I would also like to coach as well as teach once I become a teacher.

When I decided that I wanted to become a teacher, there were many factors that contributed to the decision. The Physical Education teaching profession can be an extremely rewarding profession. Everyone knows that if you go into the teaching profession, it is not for the money because teachers, in most cases, do not make a lot of money. There are so many more aspects of teaching that are appealing; some being working with young children, the subject area that is being taught, the influence of family, or possibly being able to have an influence on children's lives. The last of these is almost a guarantee in teaching. Students come to school for about 6 hours a day, and if you coach, you can add another 2 hours on to that. School is, in most cases, the second place, behind their home, where they spend the majority of their day; hence why teachers can have a huge impact on a child's life.

My main reason for choosing Physical Education was because of my love of playing sports as well as a variety of other different lifetime physical activities. I would love to be able to help young children develop the skills and knowledge that is needed for them to partake in sports and lifetime activities. It is very rewarding to see young children have fun being physically active with their family and friends.

Along with giving them the skills needed to physically perform the skills of the activity that they pursue, I really want to show them the benefits of physical activity and also what the negatives are of not being physically active. I hope that when they learn the benefits of physical activity and why it is important, they will pass that on to their family members and friends and a chain effect will occur where everyone is helping everyone become physically active and more knowledgeable about physical activity. This is one of my highest goals as a teacher and Physical Educator. It is very important to set goals as a teacher, for yourself, for your students, as well as possibly for the school as a whole or in the community.

There are many more reasons why I decided to chose the teaching profession, these named were just a few. For children to have a good positive role model to look up to and rely on is very important to me and I believe that I can be this for them.