Julie Russell’s Movement Journal #1: September 16th


When I told my sister that I had a course in physical education at UBC, she couldn’t stop laughing. I think there are a lot of students who rejoice after high school when they realize they have had their last P.E. class. And, like we have talked about in class, this has a lot to do with experiences they have had in high school. Feelings of awkwardness, dread, embarrassment, and others can be associated with P.E. for some people.

I learned about the history of physical education in our small group discussions this week. I find it interesting to learn the roots of things. I was surprised to learn that many provinces in the early 1900s had a focus on physical training and military drills. And these were often run by military drill sergeants! During World War II, most provinces had a focus on defense training. I wonder how the students of those days enjoyed P.E. class? And though physical education has been evolving since the world wars, to make a dramatic shift away from anything is never easy. It is hard to completely restructure something you have done for so long. The focus of physical education in Canada has long been about being physically adept. In general, it has not looked at the whole student. Now, 100 years later, though there has been much evolution in the area of P.E., P.E. seems to be shifting once more: this time, seemingly, toward physical literacy where much more than physical performance is focused on. A good thing, I think, for all students, but maybe particularly for those young ones whose experience so far with physical education has imparted dread and real dislike for physical activity.

One thought on “Julie Russell’s Movement Journal #1: September 16th”

  1. I find your curiosity fascinating on the implications in history. I was just reflecting on what you mentioned about the history of PE. It came to my attention that unless a man was physically impaired, they would have to fight in WWI when conscription came to Canada in the final year of war. However, PE was introduced around the time of WWII to train men who were unfit for war. Therefore, it seems as though the time which elapsed between the two wars already transformed Canadian men significantly towards an unfit state despite the availability of industrial and trade careers.

    Today, Canada is working towards new physical literacy standards as it is apparent that this ‘military method’ may have not been the resource for every student. It is a shame that we have the most financial resources and research at our disposal since the beginning of history in Canada, and yet we are getting a failing grade for our county in Physical Education as that new mentality can be harder to shift towards for some educators. Let us hope that this new method can help us as educators to instill the necessity of a healthy and active lifestyle.

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