“Why do we want Healthy Lifelong Movers?” is a quote that Nate Babcock asks in his most recent blog entitled WHY Physical Education? And why DID you want to teach it? I think that is a great question to ponder. Our national organization, SHAPE America, states, “Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives.” This doesn’t answer the Why, though. It only tells us the what. Why is it important that my students become lifelong movers?
For the purpose of this blog, we are going to look at the Why from the perspective of me as a Physical Education and Health teacher. As a teacher, I am naturally a leader in my class. (notice I said a leader, not the leader) Due to the fact that I am a leader I would like to look at my Why from the lens of the Golden Circle. I first heard about the Golden Circle when I started researching Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. It has 3 major tenets, the What, the How, and the Why. Sinek argues that before you get to the the What and the How you should start with the Why.
If we were to give actions to the Why, How, and What it would be Think, Act, and Communicate in that order. Doesn’t that just make sense? Figure out your motivation and reasoning before you do anything else? That is why businesses make mission statements and base all decisions on whether that will help them achieve their mission or not.
That brings us back to the earlier question of why am I a Physical Education teacher. My answer to this is that I want to help students to learn how to achieve or maintain wellness. In order to be well, they need to possess seven dimensions of wellness. Those wellnesses are physical, social, emotional, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual. Some areas add financial to the list and make it eight dimensions of wellness. This is not something at this time that I care to do.
The problem with me stating that I want my students to achieve and maintain wellness is that again begs the question Why is that important? I am going to answer that question from a personal view and not a systemic school view. I personally feel that students need to leave my school with love. Jorge Rodriguez stated that during a conversation about this very subject on Voxer. I want them to love movement, love each other, love themselves, love their surroundings, love their job, love learning, and love life. If you look at that list it matches word for word the dimensions of wellness. If we loved everything I just listed above I can safely say we would be well.
If they love all the areas stated above they will shine. They will be the beacon of light that strengthens the community. They will reduce their risk of developing certain diseases. They will want to be physically active with other people in the community. They will feel better about themselves as well as have a positive outlet when dealing with their feelings. They will want to live in a safe clean community. They will be positive people who bring happiness with them to work and be absent less often. They will constantly better themselves through reflection and learning. They will work hard to give back and help those less fortunate.That is what the school system wants for them. It wants to create people who will contribute to society. That is why taxpayers bear the burden of schools even when they don’t have students in the system. We all benefit from productive members of society. The problem is the way the system judges its students is wrong. It focuses solely on test scores and ignores all the other dimensions of wellness. When did test scores become the best way to identify whether schools were best serving students to become productive members of society?
In the upcoming weeks, I am going to really analyze how I am helping my students achieve or maintain each of these dimensions of wellness. I will post one blog per week dissecting each dimension of wellness and how I go about working on my that part of my Why in our Physical Education and Health classes. I may find myself coming up short in some areas but that is fine. At the very least I will have a clearer understanding of how closely aligned my teaching is to my Why. I can also use the self-reflections to see which dimensions I need to concentrate on more to improve my teaching so that my students can achieve and maintain wellness.
My final thoughts on the Why are that it changes my entire view of my scope and sequence, how I view what I see on social media, and what value I place on the various aspects of my class. Some will say that moderate to vigorous physical activity is the most important. Others will place more emphasis on having their students become competent movers. As teachers, we have to find our Why and then design our classes based on that. Hopefully you have started to think about your Why.