Dr. Bob Pangrazi lays it all out there
In his keynote speech at last summer's National PE Institute in North Carolina, Dr. Bob Pangrazi, professor emeritus at Arizona State University, writer, and speaker strongly presents his argument that it is imperative to re-think the way we run our PE programs. He leaves no stone unturned as he exposes some major flaws in the way our subject area is being delivered across schools in the US. Backing his argument with evidenced-based research, Dr. Pangrazi emphasizes the need for teaching fitness and skill development in any PE program, but not through the vehicles of fitness testing and the measurement of skill improvement in young people.
In fact, as physical educators, he believes that we should hold not ourselves accountable for measuring motor skill development and fitness at all. Instead, we need to engage students in experiences that give them every opportunity possible to be physically active in our programs. Although he comes on strong, I believe he is doing so not to scare teachers away, but to help them understand that their roles, as educators, are so important in motivating young people to intrinsically value just how critical physical activity is to their well-being in life. Our PE programs MUST be set up in a way that gives all students a chance to succeed.
The science clearly shows that daily physical activity has huge benefits to cognitive development and learning in school. Furthermore, by allowing choice and ownership over learning experiences, students are more likely to develop an inherent love and intrinsic motivation for regular physical activity. THIS is what PE should be about. Creating confident learners who take action to lead physically active lives outside the walls of our gyms once PE class is over.
When I talk about my own program, lead workshops, and blog about my teaching practice, I am often asked why I don't assess my students' physical skills. My answer is quite simple. My reporting structure doesn't require me to do so and I love this fact. Those of you who are familiar with my work know that reflection plays a pivotal role in my program. Students consistently reflect on their own performance by addressing their thoughts and feelings about the different tasks that we do in PE. They reflect on their level of confidence and effort put in.
As well, they are given ample opportunity to reflect on their physical skills in all of the units that we do. I can't get inside of their heads to know how they feel about their own performance. What I can do instead is to get them to reflect on whether or not they feel that they have gotten better. To me this is enough as it addresses their level of confidence and gets them thinking about the physical skills we have been working on in class. However, throughout this process I am always giving them verbal feedback to help move them forward with their learning.
I couldn't agree with Dr. Pangrazi more when he states all that we can do is to give our young learners what they really need to succeed; love, hugs, encouragement, listening to them and being forever present while they are in our care. All winning gifts that can and will make a difference in their levels of confidence and to intrinsically motivate them to be their best. I have included a link to Dr. Bob Pangrazi's keynote below. It's an hour long, but worth listening to, so make sure you take the time to do so. I'm honored to be a keynote speaker at the 2015 National Institute of PE and share my vision, philosophy and why I think teaching is the greatest professional in the world.