Physical Education research papers illustrate that at a time when there is a thrust within the public school system to produce higher achievement in academic test scores, and at a time when school budgets are being stressed by a spiraling set of demands made upon them, physical education programs are under attack and possibly reduced from the National Educational Standards. Many academicians and legislators, labeling these programs as recreational in nature, as being expensive frills that contribute little or nothing to a "real" (i.e. "academic") education, would shut them down. I believe that if physical educators are willing to change their programs somewhat, and willing to show some flexibility with respect to new public moods and new educational fashions, then they can easily defend physical education's place in the modern curriculum. This physical education research paper gives a brief outline of how this might be done. The Physical Education Organization (spark) has helped develop a better understanding of the topic.
Physical Education: Important Part of a Child's Development
A Yahoo search for web sites using the words "physical education" immediately confronts one with the difficulty we must deal with. Many of the sites contain the term "physical education" in close proximity to the term "recreation". This association is a reflection of the historical linkage between physical education and sports programs, both intramural and extramural. This is an association that is no longer something that we as physical education professionals can afford, as we strive to improve American education. Physical education programs must cast themselves loose from competitive athletics if they are to survive. They must, instead, blend in with the more traditionally academic programs and present themselves as practitioners of legitimate academic disciplines in their own right.
Physical education is an important part of any child's school experience for several reasons. Physical education serves to:
Enhance a child's physical growth and development and maintaining optimal physical fitness
Develop useful physical, social and intellectual skills in a group setting
Illustrate physical talents
Enhancing a child's physical growth and development is important because a lack of exercise can limit the development of bodily systems and organs, which can severely limit a child's learning developmental stages and his developmental periods that affects his life. By maintaining a child's physical fitness they will be likely to fully develop, which makes learning much easier than if they are under-developed. Many physical skills that are important to everyday activities, which are a part of elementary education, must be learned, and these skills are often acquired or mastered in elementary physical education. Because many academic activities require individual efforts, group activities in physical education are important in teaching social skills, teamwork, and cooperation to elementary students. Physical education is also important because it uses vocabulary and concepts that reinforce and enhance academic learning, allows students to develop creative talents through a variety of expressive movements, and performance of physical activities can improve a child's self-esteem, particularly in cases where academic performance is behind others. These factors make physical education an important part component of a well-rounded elementary education.
Physiological Benefits of Physical Education
There are many physiological benefits to an physical education and they should be included in our teaching models. For example, there have been several studies that show a definite connection between young children's daily exercise and normal growth and development, which benefits a student's learning potential. Long term studies have found that children with strong and active bodies tend do be better students than children who do not participate in physical education programs, which is another important benefit of physical education. As mentioned above, many physical education activities also introduce social skills, such as teamwork, teach children how to use these skills, and in this way encourage positive social action. Learning and practicing a variety of social skills through physical activities is an additional benefit of elementary physical education that also benefits academic learning in the classroom. Physical education activities also benefit students by using math, science, music and other concepts to reinforce general classroom exercises.
Teachers have a responsible to provide students with an elementary physical education program that enhances a child's health and physical fitness and teaches concepts and motor skills through a wide variety of physical activities. Teachers also must provide equal opportunity to participate in physical activities in a safe, healthy and encouraging environment. At times, they may be called upon to make individualized and personalized physical instruction programs to ensure maximum benefits.
Physical education is a valuable part of any child's early or middle school education. It provides many benefits that help a child's development. These benefits also help academic learning by promoting physical fitness, self-direction, self- esteem, and cooperative social behavior. For these reasons, it is important to continue teaching and funding physical education in schools all across America.