Kretchmar (2006) argues that the promotion of personally meaningful physical education experience, more often than not, lies in the direction of: · Social interaction · Challenge · Increased motor competence · Fun · Delight · Personally relevant learning Select TWO of these features and discuss the following: · In the context of your own personal PE experiences, outline WHY you consider these features to be important. · Discuss HOW you can promote these TWO features in primary physical education
The meaning and the role of Physical Education (PE) have been a topic of discussion and research for the past 50 years, with many scholars arguing the point in which PE needs to be made more meaningful to the individual. Meaningful physical education is influence by many aspects but most importantly it is influenced by the value in which the individual holds to PE as well as the learning outcomes in which that individual want to achieve. It is clear from this that meaningful experiences are found very personal to the individual child. In my experience, my class and I strived throughout the lessons that were made meaningful to us. To achieve these meaningful experiences, one must aim to connect PE lessons with connections in each child’s life so to identify the levels of participation and to encourage meaningful experiences that connect with the children’s social and cultural differences. To master these goals one most follow Kretchmars argument (2006) that the personally meaningful physical education experience, lies on the settings of : social interaction, fun, challenge, increased motor competence, and delight. For the purpose of my research I will be focussing on how social interaction and challenge promote meaning throughout physical education. To do this I will discuss and explain each of these features, by connecting them to my own PE experiences while outlining why I find these features to be important.
Social interaction is one of the many identified factors contributing to making physical education personal and meaningful. Social interaction is the exchange between two or more individuals or groups. In my experience, this social interaction doesn’t always have just the relationship between student and teacher and but also between peers. As I critically examine my school placement of last year, I can easily see how much the children learnt from one another and how their skills developed as they interacted with each other, and not just me as the teacher/coach. As I can see how important social interaction was to these children, I will without a doubt be using it in my further career. I will promote this social interaction through allowing the children work in teams/groups and encouraging them to co-operate with one another. I will do this by bringing in as many co-operative games as possible allowing the children to interact with one another as much as possible. The aim of this social interaction has been examined by and with a number of people who are involved in physical education whether it be teachers, pupils, friends, coaches or family members. This proves the importance of studying each relationship and the role it has on the child’s learning and not just the role of school peers and teachers. A study, of 129 club swimmers all aged from 9-12, showed that the main aspect of their continuity of the sport was due to the social dimension in which the swimming club had to offer (Light et al., 2013). I, as a competitive swimmer found this reading to be very interesting as the social aspect of the sport is very much so important to me also. To me, I feel that both sport and physical education shouldn’t just be on the basis of learning skills used for that particular sport but learning how to interact with others and how to be social in their unique environment. This social skills can also be taught throughout the rules used in PE lessons.
In studies completed by Azzarito and Ennis (2003), it was found that by teaching in a social constructivist way promoted meaningful physical education: interviews with middle grade students, showed that by corresponding with friends and peers augmented the meaningful experience within each lesson. As a young girl in primary school, I truly loved each PE lesson where we were left to work in teams and co-operate with one another. I felt, throughout each lesson, we were bonding as a class and at the time I didn’t realise but we were building social skills in which would be needed in later life. Gibbson and Gaul’s (2004) study found that the social support with not only teachers but both peers and teachers enhanced a rich meaningful participation with physical education. Observations and interviews have proved that by co-operating with friends and peers regularly enhances the meaningful physical education experience for each participant (Kinchin and O’Sullivan, 2003)
Another aspect of promoting meaningful Physical Education was found to be through challenge. Personally meaningful physical education reaches its climax when children are able to take responsibility of the achievements in which they want to achieve – to choose their level of challenge (Dyson, 1995). In my experience, I as a child strived when the challenge was brought up higher as I wanted to prove to both myself and my classmates that I could do it. By doing this I reached goals in which I thought I would never reach and achieved tasks I found almost impossible to begin with. Dyson (1995) and Rikard and Banville (2006), found, through both group and individual interviews, that many students were left wanting more throughout physical education as there was not enough challenge to support their interest. It is clear, that challenge and meaningfulness come hand in hand with these particular individuals. To promote challenge in primary school, the teacher must firstly find the basis of the the childs skills. Then the teacher can begin to differentiate her lesson so that challenge is there but at the appropriate level for each individual child. As stated by Clarke et al., 2011; Dismore and Bailey, 2011, quite a number of participants associated boredom with physical education due to the lack of challenge presented throughout the lessons.
Participation in physical education is a factor that has been noted to increase when challenge was supported at an appropriate level. Self-achievement, noticing ones learning outcomes and why they are doing certain activities, setting individual and group goals and self-improvement are all factors involved in a personally meaningful sense of challenge (Gillison et al.2012). An interviewed student stated that her level of exercise increased a huge amount as she understood what was going to come out of it, that she knew there was going to be a positive outcome involved for her. As a teacher, before each PE lesson I will try teach the children the learning outcomes so that they are left with goals they must reach. This will give the children a sense of responsibility for their own learning. Some people may understand challenge to mean and to equal difficulty but after my PE experience in primary school challenge to me is about understanding and knowing your strengths and weaknesses so that you can strive and achieve your own personal goals.
In total, I believe that more of an effort needs to be inserted into the creation of a personally meaningful PE lesson to support the child’s learning and participation skills. In this essay, I only described two of the five factors contributing to a personally meaningful lesson but each one of the five falls just as important. The five factors can be made useful both teachers and coaches in the guidance of planning a lesson for primary school children. Furthermore, the effectiveness of these five factors lies within the teacher’s knowledge and the teacher’s awareness/values of the child’s environment and community. With this knowledge each and every lesson can be made personal to the individual child.
• Light, R. L., Harvey, S., & Memmert, D. (2013). Why children join and stay in sports clubs: Case studies in Austrialian, French and German swimming clubs. Sport, Education, 32, 61-77.
• Azzarito, L., Ennis, C. D. (2003). A sense of connection: Toward social constructivist physical education. Sport. Education & Society, 8, 179-197.
• Gibbson, S. L., & Gaul, C. A. (2004). Making physical education meaningful for young women: Case study in educational change. Avante, 10(2), 1-16
• Kinchin, G. D., & O’Sullivan, M. (2003). Incidences of student support for and resistance to a curricular innovation in high school physical education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 22, 245-260.
• Dyson, B. P. (1995). Students’ voices in two alternative elementary physical education programmes. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 14, 394-407.
• Rickard, G.L., & Banville, D. (2006). High school student attitudes about physical education. Sport, Education & Society, 11, 385-400.
• Clarke, M. I., Spence, J. C., & Holt, N. L. (2011). In the shoes of young adolescent girls: Understanding physical activity experiences through interpretive description. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise & Health, 3, 193-210.
• Dismore, H., & Bailey, R. (2011). Fun and enjoyment in physical education: Young people’s attitudes. Research Papers in Education, 26, 499-516.
• Gillisons, F., Sebire, S., ; Standage, M. (2012). What motivates girls to take up exercise during adolescence? Learning from those who succeed. British Journal of Health Psychology, 17, 536-550.