Teaching is an art. It is never easy to teach in a class full of students. Many experts have believed that teaching subjects like Mathematics, Biology is till easy but teaching subject like Physical Education is a difficult task. Physical Education is one subject that involves more practical than theory. This subject also requires the complete attention of students. It is imperative that instructor understands the physical level and capacity of each student. In Physical education the ability of each student may vary. Unlike other subjects this subject does not have a pre-defined course structure or syllabus that can be taken for lectures. Physical education focuses both on mental and physical growth. The below essay would discuss some of the teaching strategies that is best to teach physical education. While devising any strategy it is important to understand that the fundamental growth of the student should be at the core of any such strategy.
"Physical education is an integral part of the educative process which uses physical activity as a primary means to promote psychomotor, cognitive, and socio-affective growth in order to enhance the quality of life (Holst, 1993").
There was a time when physical education was not given due importance. Physical education was even considered as a waste of time and in many societies parents were also against it. With time the underlying principles behind physical education has changed. Today experts all over the world have agreed that physical education is very much required for overall development of the children. In fact students cannot be mentally fit unless they are healthy. Therefore a great emphasis is given on the physical and body development of students. Physical education also helps to focus and concentrate that helps in learning other subjects also. Having said that, it is also necessary to understand that, everyone cannot teach physical education. There has to be dedicated trainers who understand the importance of exercises and who can actually motivate students towards doing physical work. Some of the teaching strategies that would be used while devising and physical education program can be discussed as:
Practical not theory
Any strategy for any program of physical education must be based on practical. While designing the physical education program it is essential to design certain practical. These practical must include the physical exercises. The trainer or instructor shall be able to complete these practical exercises with ease, only then he would be able to explain these practical to students. It is correct that there should also exist certain theory in the physical education program but this theory shall be limited (Montalvo, 2013, pp 75). It is recommended that institutions should not use the theory for evaluation purposes. The practical or a mixed approach (practical and theory) should be used for the assessment of students. Theory should be designed in a way that can helps student to understand the benefits of practical.
Though there is no time to start physical exercise however in schools and other institutions it is recommended that program of physical education should start with early classes. From the childhood students shall be able to understand the value that they can get from any such program of physical education. When a child is young, his mind is open (Lieberman, 2012, pp 366). Young students are open to different things that would be the best time when they can understand the basic techniques of physical education. Moreover students can be under stress of studies when they are in senior classes. The physical education program should necessarily be started in the early classes.
Student centered not Teacher centered approach
While designing any physical education program it is essential to understand that the teaching approach and methodology should be focused on students rather than teachers. In other courses, it is the teacher that defines the course and curriculum. However in the course of physical education, students shall be asked their preferences (Whitehead, 2012, pp 75). The students' centric approach is definitely more time consuming and requires greater attention from teacher but it is the best approach to develop an effective and efficient physical education program. Some of the things that should be done under student centered method are:
- Guided Discovery: "The guided discovery method crosses over into the student-centered section of the continuum. This approach continues to use teacher-designed movement tasks; however, it is done in a way that allows the children to make individual decisions about how to move (Mosston, 1992)".In this method teacher can define the outcome of any movement response but how this output is achieved is left to students.
- Problem Solving: It is similar to guided discovery with the only difference that in guided discovery there was only one possible outcome, whereas in problem solving approach there could be more than one output for an input. In problem solving the instructor would develop certain guidelines and it is expected that student would perform under these guidelines; all the students can get different results for the same body movement (Kirk, 2009, pp 24).
"Exploration is the most student-centered style on the continuum (Nichols, 1994)". In this style the students are allowed to move as freely as they want, as far as they stay in the limits of safety. This style can be extremely helpful to introduce ideas, concepts, and new equipment.
It won't be an exaggeration to say that the teachers have a tough time in the field of physical education. There can be number of methods to develop physical education program. It is always recommended that a student centric approach should be taken while developing the program. The methods used while teaching physical education can vary as per the audience in term of students and the expected learning from the course. Any program for physical education must always be based on student. Teacher should always consult students before developing the physical education program and the role of theory should be minimized. The course should be more practical in nature in order to get maximum benefits.