Throughout elementary school – as I mentioned in my previous post – PE felt like a class where the athletes got to show off their skills. Even though participation was encouraged, this was rarely implemented. The past two weeks in ECDP320 showed me that Physical Education CAN be fun, if the right goals are emphasized. The concept of physical literacy, which was new to me until this week, is very attractive. Even though it is still being slowly introduced into school curriculums today, I think the idea of learning how to be “active for life” is fantastic. I mean, in reality, how many people end up playing varsity sports?
My boyfriend, who used to play competitive baseball, was skeptical about this idea when I proudly presented it to him last week. If PE is made to be “fun” and “inclusive”, how would we be able to determine who excels at a certain sport, and can potentially build a career on it? For those who can’t afford to pay for extracurricular sports, how else would they discover and hone their talents? When he asked me all of these questions, I did not yet know how to answer them, and became worried myself. As an elementary school teacher we are expected to be generalists. Is it possible that we become “too general” in our journey to produce a “complete child” that we forgo more specific talents?
When Steve discussed Long Term Athlete Development today, I had a mini “aha!” moment. By specializing at too young an age, we risk the loss of a broader knowledge. An 80-year-old retired boxer probably won’t be boxing much to keep fit. If at an early age this retired boxer learned how to be physically literate, they may then look to activities such as hiking or golf (not trying to be stereotypical here) to stay active.
Being “active for life” should be the goal for everyone, whether they decide to become a professional athlete, or prefer to go on leisurely hikes every weekend. By encouraging the development of a diversity of skills, we are providing students with a better understanding of their body and what they are capable of achieving, and preparing them for a happier and healthier future. : )