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Expert Argues for More Teaching in Physical Education

Expert Argues for More Teaching in Physical Education

George Graham—author, co-founder of and retired professor of physical education pedagogy—is a firm believer of the importance of physical education in schools, but argues that schools are in need of more physical educators who accept "the task of turning kids on to physical activity for a lifetime."

Having focused on physical education for the past 45 years, Graham has met every kind of physical educator out there. From the "rollers" who are "highly skilled at rolling out balls" but doing little else to the "innovators" who seek " the latest and greatest activities or equipment for their students" and every kind of educator in-between.

When discussing successful K-12 physical education, Graham's experience has led him to believe that physical educators should be taught by "teachers who intentionally design curriculums and programs for learning—and then teach accordingly."

Graham defines three criteria that educators should refer to when instructing physical education:

1. Describe and demonstrate intended goals for students to learn. As opposed to simply explaining the rules to a game, teachers use physical activities to ensure students have a grasp on the intended lesson.

2. Provide feedback that goes beyond just saying the score. While many physical education teachers might let score dictate the class, Graham argues that an emphasis on " strategy, motor skill or technique" that are part of the lesson should instead.

3. Have students describe and demonstrate what they learned after. In the weeks and months following the lesson, Graham says students should be able to describe and demonstrate the lesson's objectives. Thus, physical education classes provide building blocks of learning like any other K-12 class would.

"Physical education in schools ... is all over the board. There is no clear purpose for the program or goals that is universally agreed upon. And the professed goals for many of the characterizations described..are often unrealistic and almost laughable," Graham says.

Putting teachers in charge of physical education—teachers who understand the importance of lessons and objectives and standards- is the structure that Graham believes physical education needs across the board.

Read Graham's full post here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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