Chapter 3: PK–12 School Physical Education: Conditions, Lessons Learned, and Future Directions

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 The Ohio State University
  • | 2 Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus
  • | 3 University of South Carolina
  • | 4 University at Albany, SUNY
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Manifest challenges to physical education teachers merit identification, analysis, and strategic action. New designs for schools, threats to the well-being of a growing number of children and families, and financial problems confronting school systems are among the external challenges. Meanwhile, too many physical education teachers confront marginalization, isolation, and morale issues. Contributing causes include suboptimal policy; disagreements regarding subject matter, curriculum models, and purposes; working conditions that prevent teachers from implementing evidence-based practices; and two disconnects: (a) between physical education and health and (b) between school programs and community-based programs. Reflecting and fueling these challenges, the field lacks a common purpose and shared direction. This chapter addresses future alternatives for PK–12 physical education. Key recommendations include (a) integrating physical education and health, treating them both instructionally and as integrated content in the curriculum; (b) changing our focus on our instruction from a deficiency-based model to a salutogenic model of health, including stronger connections with the community in which schools exist; and (c) connecting to the community to leverage resources to support students, teachers, and schools. These alternatives derive from a grand claim: we cannot continue to do “business as usual,” producing the same results, because past–present results consistently have been suboptimal.

Ward is with the Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA. van der Mars is with the Department of Secondary & Physical Education, Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, AZ, USA. Mitchell is with the Graduate School, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Lawson is with the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership, University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY, USA.

Ward (Ward.116@osu.edu) is corresponding author.
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