Forget New Math, This is New P.E.
It isn't all bad news when it comes to physical education in schools.
According to a recent article in USA Today, P.E. departments across the country are embracing a more liberal approach to getting kids active.
Eschewing traditional measures of physical achievement, such as speed and endurance, many teachers and coaches are offering their students the opportunity to learn new skills not typically seen in P.E. classes of old.
These include rock-climbing, swing dancing, self-defense and inline skating. A junior high school in Petaluma, Calif., even features a class to teach circus skills, such as juggling, plate-spinning and stilt-walking.
These changes reflect a new emphasis on participation over competition. While sports will continue to be a mainstay of P.E. programs, it has been suggested that only about 10 percent of kids are natural athletes who thrive on competition.
The new physical education guidelines introduced in California emphasize developing movement skills, social interaction and self-image over how fast or how skilled a student might be at a particular sport.
In these new classes, the goal is to get young people to enjoy being active and to help them develop good exercise habits that will last a lifetime.
Dick Moss, editor of P.E. Digest, which covers the latest ideas and research on sports, fitness and physical education, told USA Today that ''The old days of football coach holding P.E. classes and running them like boot camp are over. As are the days of a teacher with no formal training throwing a ball on the floor and telling the class to just play.''
''Teachers who have been trained in the profession are now concerned with teaching students all about their body; how to keep it fit, healthy and how to use exercise to maintain it in good operating condition for the rest of their lives.''
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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