* “My PE Manifesto.” By definition, a “manifesto” is a public statement or “action of intention, belief, opinion, or policy advocating political and/or social action.” As such, manifestos are typically radical and ardent in nature, use statements that run counter to conventional practice, challenge the status quo, and are threatening to those in power. I am issuing this “Physical Education Manifesto” dialogue because I believe that we must fundamentally re-evaluate, re-define, and re-design physical education for the BENEFIT OF THE CHILDREN AND YOUTH WE SERVE. As a whole, the work to be done is so crucial that it will require urgent pedagogical, social, and political action!
WHY NOW? I believe that we have reached a tipping point in our country in regards to the purpose and value of K-12 physical education. For example, I believe that there is wide-spread confusion as to the role and value of physical education versus physical activity. I also believe there is a dramatic disconnect between the written, taught, and tested curriculum in physical education and that this is undermining our ability to do our jobs well.
This manifesto requires an immediate response for three reasons.
• First, the national childhood obesity epidemic has changed the mission of physical education in schools. For example, it is requiring that we focus our attention on the needs of all students, not just the athletically-gifted or motivated.
• Second, more and more physical educators at all levels are slowly realizing the need to re-visit the role student assessment ought to play in schools. Traditional grading procedures and practices (i.e., grades based on dressing out, participation) have been so dominant that many have been unable to see and understand, let alone implement, new breakthroughs in our understanding of how to use assessment to promote student success.
• Third, I am concerned that the current obsession on “moderate-to-vigorous physical activity” has had several unintended pedagogical consequences, just as physical fitness testing has had.
OKAY, WHAT’S NEXT?
I believe that we have an opportunity to bring about a new direction for K-12 physical education. I urge everyone to take a few minutes to watch the following two video clips.
(1) The first one contains excerpts from Dr. Dolly Lambdin’s keynote from the 2012 National PE Institute. In this opening keynote, Dr. Lambdin discusses the notion of restructuring physical education to create “Raving Fans.”
(2) The second video is from Dr. Stevie Chepko’s keynote. In this, Dr. Chepko discusses why we must provide students with the “Why’s” and move away from just providing students with “games for games sake.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU1rxsg6-vo
IN CLOSING: At the 2013 National AAHPERD Convention (Charlotte, North Carolina), state and national leaders will be determining much of the new re-structuring of AAHPERD/NASPE. I am hopeful that this body will be sensitive to the points made in this post.
* (Credit to Dr. Rick Stiggins, Assessment Training Institute for much of the original text of this article)