Manual History and Status of American Physical Education And Educational Sport

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In Thomas Wood stated that "the great thought of physical education is not the education of the physical nature, but the relation of physical training to complete education, and then the effort to make the physical contribute its full share to the life of the individual" National Education Association, p. During the early twentieth century, several educational psychologists, including Dewey, Stanley G. Hall, and Edward Thorndike, supported the important role of children's play in a child's ability to learn.

In line with the work of Wood in physical education, and the theoretical work of prominent educational psychologists, The New Physical Education was published in by Wood and Rosalind Cassidy, who advocated education through the physical. This position supported the thesis that physical education contributed to the physical well-being of children, as well as to their social, emotional, and intellectual development.

However, Charles McCloy argued against this expanded role of physical education, arguing that education of the physical, which emphasized the development of skills and the maintenance of the body, was the primary objective of physical education. The testing of motor skills was a part of McCloy's contribution to physical education, and his philosophy of testing paralleled the scientific movement in education. The evolution of physical education, along with other educational professions, reflected contemporary changes in society.

Throughout the early twentieth century, into the s, there was a steady growth of physical education in the public schools.

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During the early s many states passed legislation requiring physical education. However, shifts in curricular emphasis were evident when wars occurred and when the results of national reports were published. For example, as a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States' entrance into World War II, the emphasis in physical education shifted from games and sport to physical conditioning. Similar curricular shifts were noted in when the Kraus-Weber study found that American children were far less fit than their European counterparts.

As a result of this report, the President's Council on Physical Fitness was established to help combat the falling fitness levels of America's youth.


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During the s and the s, physical education at the elementary level experienced tremendous growth. Today, many physical education programs emphasize overall fitness, referred to as wellness, as well as skill development. However, since the s the number of schools offering daily physical education has drastically decreased— statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC show a drop from 43 percent in to 25 percent in These reports cited physical inactivity as a national health risk, based on statistics such as: 1 13 percent of young people are classified as overweight; 2 only half of all youths are physically active on a regular basis and this percentage decreases with age ; and 3 inactivity and poor diet cause at least , deaths per year.

These reports advocated the need for daily physical activity, citing the following health benefits from moderate participation: improved strength and endurance, healthier bones and muscles, weight control, reduced anxiety and increased self-esteem, and, often, improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Physical education is the major vehicle for improving the health and fitness of the nations' youth. Healthy People recommended the increase of daily physical education to a level of at least 50 percent of students in public schools by the year In addition to the health benefits, cognitive performance can also be enhanced through physical education.

There is a growing body of research that supports the important relationship between physical activity and brain development and cognitive performance. Edwin Bencraft found that "sensory and motor experiences play a prominent role in reinforcing … synaptic connections and neural pathways" p. Eric Jensen's research revealed that the cerebellum is not solely dedicated to motor activity, but includes both cognitive and sensory operations.

Further, Jensen points out the strong relationship of the cerebellum to memory, perception, language, and decision-making, citing physical activity as a way to enhance cognition. In a summary of research findings, Bencraft suggests providing the following applications that could increase cognitive performance: 1 challenging motor tasks before the age of ten can increase cognitive ability due to a heavier, more dendrite-rich brain; 2 aerobic exercise improves cognitive functioning by increasing the number of capillaries serving the brain through the delivery of more oxygen and glucose and removal of carbon dioxide; 3 cross-lateral movements increase the communication ability between the brain's hemispheres; and 4 physical activity reduces the production of stress chemicals that inhibit cognitive processing.

From the mounting evidence favoring physical activity, it appears that physical education in schools plays a dual role in serving both mind and body. The challenge to physical educators will be to implement programs that address the health crisis while building the child's mind through physical activity. According to the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance AAHPERD , a quality physical education program for grades K—12 includes instructional periods totaling at least minutes per week at the elementary level and minutes at the secondary level, qualified physical education specialists, and adequate equipment and facilities.

In general, the curriculum should consist of: a instruction in a variety of developmentally appropriate motor skills that challenge students to develop physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally; b fitness activities that educate and help students understand and improve or maintain optimal fitness levels; c instruction in concepts that lead to a better understanding of motor skills and fitness development; d opportunities to engage in experiences that enhance cooperation and develop multicultural awareness; and e experiences that foster the desire for lifelong participation in physical activity.

More specifically, the elementary curriculum should include many enjoyable activities that lead to the acquisition and refinement of fundamental motor patterns e. This curriculum pattern teaches children to move while challenging them to explore, modify, and refine motor patterns, and it can be used as a vehicle for teaching physical education. The activity based approach is the most common curriculum pattern used in both middle schools and high schools.

This curricular pattern uses activity units in sport, fitness, and dance e. Middle school curriculums should include a wide variety of team and individual sports utilizing motor skills introduced and refined at the elementary level. High school curriculums should focus on lifetime sports skills e. However, regardless of the level of schooling, fitness forms the base of the curriculum and it is an integral part of the program. School accountability, a major trend of the s, has driven the need for national assessment testing and standards.

This trend has become an issue and has created debate throughout education, including physical education. Proponents on both sides have valid points to make. Those who oppose national testing point out the need for people to enjoy physical activity. They believe that testing does not foster the desire for lifelong participation.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education has provided guidelines in the form of grade-level benchmarks, as well as an operational definition of the physically educated person. Such a person is skillful in a variety of physical activities, physically fit, participates regularly in physical activity, knows the benefits of physical activity, values physical activity and its contributions to a healthy lifestyle, respects diversity, and acts in a socially responsible manner.

The question remains, however, of how much direction and specificity in the form of standards and assessment are needed. In many school programs and business settings, the term wellness has replaced fitness and health. In general, this term refers to optimal health and well-being, but it has been broadened to include the dimensions of emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and environmental well-being. There are many issues that are of interest to all educators, issues that pose a challenge to all of those who seek to teach children.

These include discipline problems, student drug abuse, violence, insufficient resources, lack of parental support for education, large classes, teacher burnout, and perhaps most importantly, a concern for the health and well-being of all children. By far the greatest issue facing physical education in K—12 institutions is the reduction of time in the curriculum allotted to this important subject.

The need for daily physical education is obviously important for the well-being of students, but it presents a dilemma for those who must balance academics, accountability, and what is best for the child's overall education. Given the support for the physical and psychological contributions of exercise, along with the health risks associated with inactivity, it is clear that daily physical education plays a crucial and unique role in each child's cognitive, psychological, and physical development. E DWIN. Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Washington, DC: U. Department of Health and Human Services.

Fit and Well. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. Teaching with the Brain in Mind.

Physical Education Programs, History & Importance | AAA State of Play

Louis: Mosby. The Physically Educated Person.


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St Louis, MO: Mosby. NEA Proceedings Government Printing Office. In the United States, teacher preparation in physical education originally had close links to medicine. A program of study would commonly include anatomy, physiology, health, first aid, history and philosophy, educational psychology, and various physical skills—from gymnastics through dance, games, and sport.

Major shifts across time have largely involved the length of programs of study on each of these topics. The early roots of physical education teacher preparation in the United States can be traced to the northeastern part of the country during the latter part of the s.

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In Charles Bucher described a ten-week course at the Normal Institute of Physical Education in Boston founded by Dio Lewis as graduating the nation's first class of physical education teachers in Later, degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels for study in physical education were awarded by this institution. In general, the preparation of physical education teachers in the late s and early s ranged from as little as two months to as much as five years. Prior to World War I, preparation to teach physical education was primarily completed in normal schools.

The poor condition of many of the men in the country who were called to serve in the war heightened interest in physical education. As a result of such concerns, there was some form of compulsory public school physical education in thirty-eight states by At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the requirements for physical education teachers vary somewhat by state, since education is governed at that level rather than by national standards. These guidelines are not binding on either institutions preparing teachers or on state governments, where the responsibility of licensing teachers rests.

In a collaborative effort with one of the major accrediting agencies for teacher preparation programs, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education NCATE , NASPE has created guidelines for programs seeking accreditation in the preparation of physical educators for initial certification.

Physical education teacher education PETE programs in the United States are designed around at least three models and five conceptual orientations. One model is delivered at the undergraduate level and two at the graduate level. At the undergraduate level, programs are usually delivered in a four-year program with course work in three major areas: general education e. The actual number of credits and sequence of these courses varies and is often dependent upon the philosophical orientation of the program and resources available to the faculty.

In this approach, students study for a four-year degree in the content area supporting the type of licensure they seek. In physical education, an undergraduate degree could be in sport studies, exercise physiology, biomechanics, or some other related subdisciplinary field. At the master's level, students then study the pedagogical content to learn how to deliver the content knowledge to students. This approach is a response to perceived needs of teachers to be better prepared in the content knowledge of their field.

A second type of graduate PETE program is sometimes characterized as a response to teacher shortages. In this approach, candidates have typically acquired an undergraduate degree in some field other than physical education. Graduate programs for this approach must include a combination of content knowledge and professional education. Students changing careers are often attracted to this model.

In Sharon Feiman-Nemser described five conceptual orientations to teacher education, regardless of the model; three years later Judith Rink provided adaptations to these models using examples appropriate to PETE programs. Both authors suggest that the conceptual orientation guides the delivery of content. The University of Chicago, founded with John D. On March 10, , Stagg wrote the following letter to his sister, Pauline Stagg:.

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There is a great furor among the boys in the school over a new game which Naismith our center rusher invented, called basket foot ball. It is played indoors in the gymnasium or some good sized room. Any number of persons on a side. A basket with large enough opening to take the ball easily is hung at each end about eight feet from the floor.

The object is for the ball to be thrown or pitched into these baskets. The ball cannot be run with, although no limitations are placed on any one when not having the ball. This of course places a premium on passing the ball to others and so work it down the field. Fouls are declared for running with the ball and for kicking it.

Any one has a right to the ball at all times if he can get it. I think the game could be easily adapted to girls - the main point being to get a basket as big as a house. The faculty of the school play the best team composed of the Secretarial men tomorrow. We expect a great time. The game was intended to provide a winter activity that would occupy energetic young men during the interim period between football and baseball seasons, and it further allowed physical educators to gain greater control over unruly males throughout the entire year.

The early rules, however, permitted a high number of players and the use of rough tactics akin to those of a wrestling match. Girls could not cross over the zones, which necessitated a cooperative strategy to score points. Basketball quickly became a popular sport for women and girls of diverse ethnic backgrounds at various social organizations and settlement houses. Josephine Wilkin, in a letter to her mother on March 6, , related the first game played at Smith College:. Friday afternoon at the Gym, we played a game, instead of going through the ordinary performances.

Two waste-paper baskets were hung, one on either side of the Gym about three feet above our heads. Three girls from each side were sent over to the other and the game began. The side I was on had the misfortune to be beaten, but we had the ball in their basket several times, including the first time. Some women, like their male counterparts, participated in sports for physical health and competition, but they did so in a disputed context, as physicians, psychologists, and educators debated the appropriateness of sport for women.

Some of these authorities worried about the stress of competition, while others feared damage to reproductive capacities or the accumulation of aggressive male characteristics. Nevertheless, women found a variety of sporting opportunities in the schools, settlement houses, and industrial recreation programs. Thereafter, YMCA missionaries carried both games throughout the world, as sport provided one means of attracting young men in the quest for converts.

As the new century approached, then, sport presented a battleground contested by various groups, as immigrants struggled with assimilation, youth rebuffed adult control in schools and play spaces, and professional athletes challenged the amateur ideal. In , faculty members at the Chicago high schools formed the Board of Control to govern student athletics.

They standardized rules, established eligibility requirements, addressed unsporting behavior, and prohibited money prizes. The Board even enacted competitive divisions based on size and weight to equalize competition. Students, however, protested the loss of their freedom and the curtailment of their own initiatives. They even revolted, attempting to establish their own league outside the jurisdiction of school authorities. The venture failed when the superintendent of schools expelled the revolutionary students Pruter, "Chicago High".

School rivalries extended well beyond the local scene. By the turn of the twentieth century, high school teams traveled throughout the country for regional and national competitions. Debates over contrasting styles of play resulted in a national football showdown. Eastern schools favored the plodding, mass plays i. The Midwestern style of play overwhelmed the New Yorkers, and Chicago won by a score of Brooklyn claimed that Poly did not represent its best team, and Charles Ebbets, owner of its professional baseball team, guaranteed funding for a rematch in New York the next year.

New York fared better than other localities in its regulation and administration of local high school sports. Luther Gulick became director of physical training in the New York school system in and instituted a comprehensive athletic program that offered competition in baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, crew, cross country, lacrosse, and riflery. Boys could earn distinctive badges for successful completion of physical fitness tests, and classes might win honors by surpassing average scores of other classes.

School teams competed for district and city championships symbolized by trophies that were proudly displayed at schools. In , a crowd of fifteen thousand witnessed the championship baseball game held at the Polo Grounds. In , a girls division was created to offer folk dancing, but it limited athletic competition in other activities to intramural events.

History and Status of American Physical Education And Educational Sport

As child labor laws directed considerable numbers of ethnic-minority and immigrant youths into the school system, adult educators employed sport in efforts to Americanize them. For others who remained outside the jurisdiction of school authorities, Progressive reformers employed similar strategies for supervised play instruction at parks, playgrounds, and settlement houses across America.

When successful, such programs served as an effective social control device, curtailing juvenile delinquency and increasing adult guidance. Get the latest news, special offers, and updates on authors and products. About Our Products. Career Opportunities.

Connect with Us. Please Sign In or Create an Account. Active Aging. Social Studies in Sport and Physical Activity. Athletic Training, Therapy, and Rehabilitation. Adopting a Textbook. Continuing Education Center. On March 10, , Stagg wrote the following letter to his sister, Pauline Stagg: There is a great furor among the boys in the school over a new game which Naismith our center rusher invented, called basket foot ball.

In Gems, Sports The game was intended to provide a winter activity that would occupy energetic young men during the interim period between football and baseball seasons, and it further allowed physical educators to gain greater control over unruly males throughout the entire year. Josephine Wilkin, in a letter to her mother on March 6, , related the first game played at Smith College: Friday afternoon at the Gym, we played a game, instead of going through the ordinary performances.

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