What is the purpose of physical education?
According to the new curriculum for BC, “Physical and Health Education (PHE) is designed to develop educated citizens who have the knowledge, skills, and understandings they need to be safe, active, and healthy citizens throughout their lives” (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2015a). I believe that the last three words, “throughout their lives,” is a critical component of this statement. I think that PE lays a good foundation for living a healthy lifestyle later on. I had great experiences in PE. Throughout my school life, I was exposed to so many different kinds of sports, games, and physical activities. In Junior High and High School I went on to play for various school teams. We also had a YMCA inside our High School, so I learned the fundamentals of weight training there. These amazing experiences shaped the person I am today. I could not imagine my life without exercise. I enjoy a variety of activities including weight training, running, yoga, dancing, and hiking. I never really thought about the significance of my positive experiences in PE until my adult life. I have many friends that do not want to go to the gym because they feel scared or insecure, or they are unsure of what to do. I feel that if they had had the same great experiences in PE, they would be more inclined to work out. It is up to us as future educators to make PE a pleasurable experience for our students so that they will continue to live healthy lifestyles.
In the new curriculum, there are four categories under curricular competencies: physical literacy, healthy and active living, social and community health, and mental and well-being (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2015b). I think that it is important that social and community health is a category. While other classes may involve some collaborative work, there is no other class that focuses on it like PE. You would not usually require teamwork to solve a math problem or to write an essay, for example. In order to play many of the games in PE, communication and collaboration is necessary. These are skills that are required throughout our lives, and PE provides the arena in which to develop them.
British Columbia Ministry of Education (2015). Rationale. In Building Student Success: BC’s New Curriculum. Retrieved from https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum/goals-rationale/physical-health-education
British Columbia Ministry of Education (2015). Learning Standards (Grade 3). In Building Student Success: BC’s New Curriculum. Retrieved from https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum/physical-health-education/3