The other day I was having a fantastic conversation with a friend about using a turn signal when driving. Some of you may call it a blinker while others use the term indicator. The more we talked the more I wondered if you could use someone’s use of a turn signal as a gauge of their communication in a relationship! I am personally not a great communicator in my personal relationships and it was not lost on me that I don’t always use my turn signal when driving either.
In my professional life, I am much better with communication, especially with my students. I am new at my school and they have typically started their year off with fitness testing. One student asked me why we haven’t done fitness testing this year. In response, I asked her and the class what my philosophy was. They said to have a positive association with the movement. This proved to me that I had communicated clearly my philosophy of Physical Education to them. I followed the question up by asking how many students liked fitness testing. About two to four students raised their hands. I asked how many students did not like fitness testing. Over half the class or about 12-15 students said they disliked it. Knowing that I am not mandated by the state to do this and it is in direct opposition with my philosophy it was an easy decision to not engage in this practice.
This is not a knock on fitness testing. If physical educators have done research and honed their philosophy down where fitness testing is an integral part of their program they have to do what they have to do. It just doesn’t fit into my philosophy.
Being clear with our students about the why behind my decisions will help them understand the importance of Physical Education. In school, my blinker is always on. I want my staff, my administrators, the parents, and most importantly my students to know why we are doing what we are doing. A blog you may find interesting that goes deeper into this idea is called Walk the Walk by Dr. Ash Casey. He states that we have to have, “purposes evident in our programs.”
My final thought is that we need to have our philosophy’s finely tuned. Judy Lobianco calls it the elevator speech. This involves us having to read, write, listen to podcasts and continue to learn about our craft. After all how can we use our blinker if we don’t even know we need to turn?