3 E’s To Physical Education

3 E’s To Physical Education

Over the past few months, education as we know it has been uprooted and altered because of Covid. Teachers are exploring how they can continue to adhere to the core of education while operating in a very different world.

As we aim to navigate the new year, guiding principles have emerged that show education at its roots can still achieve the following:

1) Excite
2) Engage
3) Empower

If we can spark a student’s curiosity (excite), allow them to stay interested within the topic or subject long enough (engage), they can begin to develop a long term passion and efficacy within that subject (empower).

This article will break down and apply the 3 E’s to Education within the subject of Physical Education. Let’s go!

Excite

It is in our nature to be more willing to do something if we are excited by it. But in secondary education, we have tended to suck out the fun, to ‘make more time’ for the content and curriculum. For some reason, we think it is either one or the other — fun versus educational rigor.

Let’s do both! We can create a rigorous curriculum that is also exciting for students. Look no further than some of the great examples that have popped up over the last few months.

PE teachers have created weekly participation challenges to encourage their students to stay active while at home. Others have developed “Spirit Weeks’ that encourage students to have some fun while staying active.

And it does not have to all be high energy. Excite can take on all different forms and shapes, depending on what your students seem to pick up on!
Test, try, and try again. While it may seem like we have been remote for a long time, finding the best practices of remote learning and exciting students at home is still in their infant stages!

Engage

Engaging students is the attempt to maintain students’ interests and appetites for the curriculum for an extended period. Sure, you sparked their interest, but can you retain it long enough to develop and advance in Physical Education.

In fitness education, we often see content that can leave students disengaged. What does it look like?

Fitness models, wearing relatively no clothing, doing exercises most students have never seen or heard of before. And while there may be a time and place for this, it should be no surprise that a student participating in a Physical Education class, may take on a look at this style of video and feel like they want no part in it.

Instead, engaging curriculum and content aim to meet students’ where they are in their fitness journey. Take a PLT4M instructional video and paired coaching notes, for example. Here, a student could take three options: 1) Read 2) Listen 3) Watch. More importantly, they can mix and match them as well. Check it out below:

COACHING NOTES:

Air Squats – 5 x 5 Reps

Coaching Point: Focus on everything BUT depth. Avoid the common faults…Feet/ankles should never move, knees should never cave in, and back should never round.

Point 1: The Feet/Stance
Begin by placing your feet at shoulder width, with the toes turned outward slightly – think 11 and 1 on a clock. Everyone will develop slightly different stances as they learn the movement, but this is an excellent place to start.

The #1 priority during this movement is going to be keeping that entire foot in contact with the ground. Think about digging in with the big toe, pinky toe, and heel throughout every rep. No heels off the ground, or ankles rolling/spinning!
Point 2: Knees Tracking Ankles/Toes
Point 3: Lumbar Curve Maintained/”Flat” Back
Point 4: Hip Crease Below Parallel

Interested in learning more about PLT4M for your school?

Empower

Now that students are excited and engaged by the Physical Education process, we can start to work towards deeper learning levels. Empowering our students to not only participate but be encouraged by their progress.

Students often fail to see their progress because they look to others as the measuring stick for success. How did you stack up to your classmates in a test?

Through testing and technology, students can more appropriately focus on their baseline results and then look to achieve individual improvement through a given period. For example, the one-minute push-up test can look very different based on students’ range of abilities in the class. One student may look to do push-ups from the floor, while another will complete the test from an elevated surface. This allows each to have a starting point baseline number and standard they can return to in the future.

Each school might decide to test or track different metrics, but hopefully, using technology can highlight individual and group progress.

We are firm believers in personal progress as opposed to universal standards. For that reason, we like to use Percentage based improvement as it makes improvement more relative to the individual.” (Check out our full accountability article.)

The 3 E’s Together

In defining our 3 E’s To Education, it worth noting that they lend themselves to one another. For example, if a student can recognize their progress, leaving them feeling empowered, they are likely to be more excited and engaged to continue their fitness journey.

Likewise, suppose a student is engaged with the instructional content enough to feel confident in their work. In that case, they are more likely to be excited and empowered to reach outside their typical comfort zone.

The 3 E’s of excite, engage, and empower can lead to more student’s embracing Physical Education. In turn, these same driving forces will lead students to long term appreciation and recognition of overall fitness, health, and wellness.

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