Sunday, November 28, 2010

PE for Life

Multicultural competence refers to the ability to work effectively with a variety of different types of people (Gill and Williams, 2008).  As a physical education teacher, I don’t have control of the types of students I am going to be assigned, therefore it is very important that I have the ability to work with and relate to all different types of people.  It is also important I be able to cater to them individually and develop activities that will allow each of the students to gain the most out of my class.  My goals are to promote health and well-being to each of my students while helping them understand the benefits of physical activity and exercise.  I want to reach each student personally and assess them individually so I can be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.  Age, sex, ethnicity, and overall personal background are all important when organizing class activities. 
            Trying to incorporate multicultural competence in the workplace goes beyond just myself and my students.  The overall goal is to really get to know my students and understand them fully inside and out.  Cultural competence is “the ability of an individual to understand and respect values, attitudes, beliefs, and mores that differ across cultures, and to consider and respond appropriately to these differences in planning, implementing, and evaluating health education and promotion programs and interventions” (the Joint Commission on Health Education and Promotion Terminology, p. 5).  When putting class activities together my focus will be both on individual and group play.  Each student will take a series of physical tests such as a 100 yard dash and push-ups in one minute.  Throughout the school year they will be able to try and beat their own record; and when they do they will receive mini-prizes.  I also want to incorporate competition within the physical education setting.  I can split the class up into different “types” of groups each day, while addressing a different focus.  Each group will have different goals and will compete against the other groups in the class.  I want to structure the class around their needs, desires, and overall ability; and understanding their different attitudes and beliefs can influence how the students will responds to my activities. Research has suggested that within a group setting, such as an exercise facility, diversity with respect to members’ demographic backgrounds can have a powerful effect on performance of the individual (Pelled, 1996).
            Working within a physical education setting I have a responsibility to focus my class activities on promoting physical activity and exercise as a lifestyle, and not just something they have to do in school. In 1992, the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) published content standards calling for physical education programs to develop the "physically educated person" (NASPE, 1992, 2004). These standards defined this person as someone who achieved and maintained a health-enhancing level of physical activity, thus establishing the promotion of lifetime physical activity as the primary outcome of physical education. NASPE standards have shaped the physical education programs of today, resulting in considerable research and fueling attempts to define the role of physical education in public health. Studies have consistently indicated that this role is providing experiences that will lead to increased adult physical activity, an outcome reinforced by multiple researchers and organizations (Sallis & McKinzie, 1991).  Every physical education educator needs this quality background so they can pass their knowledge onto their students.  
            At a 1923 conference, physical education leaders set guidelines that included putting athletes first, preventing exploitation, downplaying competition while emphasizing enjoyment and good sporting behavior, and promoting activity for all rather than an elite few (Gill and Williams, 2008).  This statement points out the importance of enjoyment in sports and physical activity and just basically having fun.  Not worrying about winning and losing and whose team you’re on will allow a better overall experience.  If we as physical educators want to provide and environment that will allow growth for all our students, we need to be open to adjusting activities to fit the needs of everyone.  As stated earlier, my primary focus is to promote positive health and well-being to all of my students.  In doing this, hopefully they will encounter “real life” experiences and be able to take what they have learned with them.  Diversity is not always looked at on a deep level; however it is necessary to be aware of boys vs. girls, blacks vs. whites, old vs. young, etc.  We don’t mean to, but we do stereotype. Therefore, focusing on each student as an individual and teaching them how to integrate with others will hopefully prepare them for the “real world.”  


Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Joint commission on health education and promotion terminology. (2002). Report of the 2000 joint committee on health education and promotion terminology. Journal of School Health, 72(1), 3-7.

McKenzie, T. L., Alcaraz, J. E., & Sallis, J. F. (1994). Assessing children's liking for activity units in an elementary school physical education curriculum. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 13, 206-215.

National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (2004). Moving into the future: National standards for physical education (2nd ed.). Reston, VA: Author.

National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (1992). Outcomes of quality physical education programs. Reston, VA: Author.

Pelled, L. (1996). Demographic diversity, conflict, and work group outcomes: An intervening process theory. Organization Science, 7(6), 615-631.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pep-up PE

The primary role of physical education teachers is to motivate students toward an involvement in, and appreciation for life long physical activity, healthy eating, health, and fitness.  Educators aim to give students the skills and knowledge to help them make balanced, informed choices about the roles that physical activity and good nutritional choices should play in their daily lives.  As a teacher for a middle school physical education class, I realize there is going to be a wide range of knowledge, skill levels and interests.  Because of this fact, my primary focus will be on incorporating team building into my physical education class.  Brawley and Paskevich (1997) define team building as a method of helping the group to increase effectiveness, satisfy the needs of its members, or improve work conditions.  Part of team building is setting goals and evaluating the teams strengths and weaknesses for the purpose of team improvement.  I want to make sure each student sees the value of their role on the team.  In doing this, I want to incorporate the “Pep-up PE” program.  The goals of this program are to enhance the self-esteem of each student, improve the efficacy of each student, allow students to enjoy friendly competition and develop good sportsmanship, promote cooperation within a group for the attainment of a common goal, to encourage students to accept and be accountable for their own actions and behaviors, to allow each student to recognize essential skills for leadership, to improve students’ overall skill development in sport activities, and to simply have fun.
            The philosophy of Pep-up PE is one of building up, not tearing down, a student's self-esteem, through participation or performance in class activities. It is essential that students be convinced to adopt this concept. Negative statements, such as "That was yours," "You're terrible," or "Oh no...Johnny is up!" will not be accepted. Students in general crave positive reinforcement, be it from an instructor or from a peer; therefore, class discussion prior to, during, and at the end of daily physical education activities is a key component in reinforcing the "we build up - we don't tear down" philosophy. Students will be given examples of encouraging statements to use in class, such as "good serve," "nice try," and "Hey, we'll get it next time." They will also be encouraged to help one another improve skills for various class activities.      
Before the program begins, the class will be divided into teams.  Instructors must attempt to keep teams even in terms of race, gender, and skill abilities. Getting to know the students as unique individuals will allow the instructors and students to find out something special about each student (Gill and Williams, 2008).  The instructor appoints a team leader. The teams are then told to choose a team T-shirt color. The purpose of the team T-shirt color is to promote team identity and to encourage group loyalty.  The objectives, goals, and rewards are explained to the class once teams have been created.  Developing team goals and team commitment are two values important in team building (Gill and Williams, 2008).  There is then an incentive for the teams such as a pizza party will be held for the team that obtains the most points for participation and competition throughout the school year. This incentive alone promotes cooperative efforts within each team. There are other external rewards, such as gum and/or certificates, for the most improved, most enthusiastic, and most cooperative teams. These rewards also seem to lead to internal feelings of satisfaction among most students.
An attempt should be made to minimize the number of competitive events during the program to reduce the stress and anxiety levels of less skilled participants. In the basketball competitions, for example, teams can be further divided into A and B squads with six or seven members on each team.  Gill and Williams (2008) indicate that summing up the abilities of individual group members does not accurately describe group performance; we must also consider the group process.  This leaves room for the incorporation of teamwork; involving the “talented” students with the “non-talented” students to work together toward a common goal.  This will still allow for competitiveness for all the students, and also allow them to see how they are each important to their team.  Effective teamwork can often be the difference between success and failure (Voight, 2001); therefore teaching the students the values of teamwork will benefit them both in their physical education class, but also in everyday experiences. 
Incorporating a program such as Pep-up PE will help me make my physical education classes fun and enjoying for both the students and myslef.  Teamwork is something we use each and every day, and teaching that in my class will help my students realize its value. 


Brawley, L.R., & Paskevich, D.M. (1997). Conducting team building research in the context of sport and exercise. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 9, 11-40.

Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Voight, M., & Callaghan, J. (2001). A team building intervention program: Application and evaluation with two university soccer teams. Journal of Sport Behavior, 24(4), 420.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Families Together & Active

      The goal of the local parks and recreation department is to engage families in more exercise activities, and in order to do so I have been asked to put together a program to give families more options for physical activity and exercise. My focus will be on improving participants’ performance and increase positive attitudes toward physical activity for all members of the family. In order to do this, we want to give families the opportunity to engage in activities they enjoy while spending time together. The social aspect of exercise and performance play a big role in the outcome. There are three main types of social influence that have and affect on performance. Social facilitation deals with the influence of the presents of others on performance; social reinforcement occurs through evaluative comments and actions; and modeling is how we learn through observation (Gill & Williams, 2008).
      According to R. B. Zajonc's (1965) drive theory of social facilitation, the mere presence of others increases arousal and, thereby, the frequency of dominant responses. Our focus needs to be on increasing arousal for activity and exercise so that we have an improvement not only on performance, but also on their experience. In doing this, we need to create activities which are fun for families to participate in; perhaps even something they have never done before. Some of these activities will include rock climbing, water volleyball, kick boxing, and racquetball. We want to incorporate activities which families can work together to be successful while learning the values of teamwork and communication. Both of those qualities are important for families outside the exercise setting as well. Once the families have had the opportunity to learn and develop skills in different areas of physical activity, they will have the opportunity to compete against other families for prizes. For example, we would put together a water volleyball tournament to be held on a Saturday and families can come and compete, and also cheer on other families they have gotten to know throughout this experience.
      Social reinforcement consists of positive and negative evaluative comments and actions, such as verbal praise, criticism, and body language (Gill and Williams, 2008). Therefore, we need to teach and encourage families to give off the right kind of reinforcement toward their family members to enhance performance and their overall experience. This is especially important with children. Whether this is the child’s first experience with exercise, or they have been doing it for years, correct reinforcement is valuable. Although there is now a considerable literature on the effects of different social reinforcement procedures upon learning in children, it is not easy to discover if positive or negative reinforcement is more beneficial (Wright, 1968). However, in this program, positive reinforcement will be the primary focus. Parents and recreation personnel need to make sure they are using frequent and intense forms of reinforcement in order to positively affect the child’s performance.
      When teaching an activity to someone for the first time, many instructors will use modeling. Typically, a learner who is learning a new motor skill is provided with instructions about the correct movement pattern. That is, the instructions usually refer to the coordination of the performer's body movements (Wulf et al., 1998). According to Bandura’s (1986) social-cognitive theory, when we observe others we form a cognitive representation of the action that serves as a reference of correctness. When working with families, and especially children, the recreation staff needs to make sure they are not giving too off too much information too fast. We need to make sure the families are retaining the information we are trying to teach them. For example, when teaching the family about the sport of racquetball, we will start with simple instruction such as how to hold the racket and hit the ball forward. We will gradually move into the rules of the game, but want to make sure we don’t move too quickly, or too slowly.
      Our final focus of the program will focus on values. Fredricks & Eccles (2004) talk about four ways values can be evaluated; utility values focus on how useful it is to the child’s goals, intrinsic values focus on the enjoyment the child experiences, attainment values focus on how important the activity is to the child, and cost refers to the negative consequences of the experience. Obviously we want to do our best to keep the families from experiencing anything negative.
      Families cooperating together in exercise will make it fun and enjoyable for them, as well as have positive affects on their health. Keeping the family atmosphere throughout the program will increase family values. Keeping the parents involved in teaching and working with their kids will also be a part of the growing family dynamic. The more children perceive that their parents value sport participation the more likely they are to perceive themselves as competent, value their own sport participation more, and actually participate, even if it is something they have never done before (Gill and Williams, 2008). Hopefully the families involved in this program will enjoy learning new skills, meet other families with similar goals, and achieve even more than they expected.


Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Fedricks, J.A., & Eccles, J.S. (2004). Parental influences on youth involvement in sports. In. M.R. Weiss (Ed.), Developmental sport and exercise psychology: A lifespan perspective (pp. 145-164). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Wright, D. (1968). Social reinforcement and maze learning in children. Child Development, 39(1), 177-183.

Wulf, G., Hoess, M., & Prinz, W. (1998). Instructions for motor learning: Differential effects of internal versus external focus of attention. Journal of Motor Behavior, 30(2), 169-179.

Zajonc, R. B. (1965). Social facilitation: A solution is suggested for an old social psychological problem. Science, 149, 269-274.