Remembering PE classes & motivations

So, there are classes of P.E. in middle school and high school (and/or junior high).

What is the goal of the series of classes?  Is the goal to introduce the students to the basics of a series of sports and games?  Is it to lead them into doing things that they regard as fun and/or meaningful, and so, as a result, they do it after school and maybe for the rest of their lives?  Is it both?

Should a goal of the classes be to give students an outlet for creativity and showing off, with a possible goal being that they would do something for the rest of their lives?  Teachers teach bowling, but usually not with a motivation to do it for the rest of one’s life.

Should the teachers who teach teach with a motivation for the kids of being pretty, beautiful, flexible, impressive and graceful and worth “showing off” a bit?

I had PE classes back in junior high and not in high school.  If you think you wish to take more academic things, you can find a way to request no PE classes, at least in high school.  At least at my old high school, that is what we did.

Back in junior high we did a variety of things for PE classes over the course of the semester.  We learned the basics of wrestling and the basics of bowling.  We played volleyball.  We played soccer during some of the time and we played flag football.  We ran around the track at times.  We did some basics of using a trampoline and we did some of the basics of gymnastics.  I don’t remember if we did any jumping over hurdles while running.

I remember that in grade school we did high jumping. I don’t remember if or when any of us did any pole vaulting.  Back in 3rd and 4th grade, our high jumping was not sex-segregated and one of the best high-jumpers was one of the girls in class!

Our school had a gym and an outdoors track and a field between the track.

I don’t remember if we did any other sports or learned the basics of them during junior high PE classes.  Here is a page which offers ideas to middle school PE teachers . . .  There are about 21 categories of ideas.  Most of the ideas are of a sport or type of sport.

Did we play badminton or a racket sport in junior high?  I don’t remember.

New and interesting categories are self-defense, weight training and yoga. I am pretty sure we didn’t do anything in these categories when I went to junior high school.  I know that the high school had a tennis team, but we did no tennis in junior high school.

There are two categories of dance on that page.  We also did not do any of that in junior high–at least not on the boys side.

I had a friend who swam or dived through school, but we didn’t do those things in junior high PE class per se.  There was no pool–at least, not at school!

One thing that stuck with me a little after the school year was playing soccer.  I had a brother and my brother and I would play 2-person soccer in a backyard or field.  We did not use the regular goal-posts of soccer; we used an empty tennis ball can, if I recall correctly.

I went to PE; I did the things; almost nothing “stuck” and nothing “stuck” if we take a view of more than several years.  I have a brother and a sister . . . and after junior high and high school, nothing stuck with them either.  We all went to a fancy semi-private university and the university has PE classes and you must choose and take some of those to graduate.  I took badminton, swimming, resistance training and karate and I continued with none of those things after the classes were over.

Is my experience typical?  Do “we” participate in a class and learn some ideas and nothing sticks with us or we with it?  Obviously there are kids on the football team, cheerleading squad and the track team, and they train for months and maybe year-round.  The number of people on those teams was perhaps about 10% of the school, I think.  Not sure if higher or lower than that.

Now, nothing a school can do will guarantee that any one activity will stick with any one student.

We did not learn tango, salsa or bachata.  Not being on the football team I did not train year round.  I did not even exercise consistently.  There were times that I could run a mile and other times that I could not have run a mile.

I don’t think I could have explained to anyone after or during high school or junior high that some people do cardio training and some do strength training.  Maybe that was explained to us; maybe I have forgotten.

There are various studies on the health effects of walking.  If someone does nothing else, walking is a good choice . . . yet I remember no discussion in any school time of the health benefits of walking.

Does the teacher of high school PE say that you can learn Latin dancing and that as a part of Latin dancing, the girls skirt may fly up or that, you get to lean her over and some will find it to be fun?

We played dodgeball and we did rope-climbing in grade school.  We did some baseball in grade school.

There are nowadays soccer leagues and boys and girls of various ages play in them.  Goodie!

If and when we “teach” the kids a game or sport in school, I think it would help to give them one or several reasons that the game or sport can be fun . . . and to skip games and sports that are not fun.  A sport that is fun or meaningful is more likely to be continued with after the PE semester and a sport or game that is not fun and not meaningful will not be.

Consider the gymnastics that we did in junior high, which we did for PE class and not for regional or statewide competition.

After a few weeks of gymnastics practice, we were tested, graded and we moved on to another game or sport.

The testing and grading was primarily the teacher observing the student. Genders learned, practiced, displayed gymnastics separately.   I don’t remember if we “showed off” much.  Whether the class watched us during testing, I don’t recall.  During “class time,” certainly, the boys did not show their gymnastics to any of the girls and the girls did not show any of their gymnastics to the boys.  At least, not that I can remember.  I think I would have remembered!

Now, lets suppose that every two weeks or every three weeks, there was an exhibition or show off day.  That would be a day to show the class and maybe the girls or the boys your gymnastics.

Well, lets make sure that the school has all its liability insurance in order because a lot of the kids are going to want to practice.

If you hate the danger of gymnastics, train for dancing and show off day.

In the girlz music video, part of what the girls do, with each other, is showing off.  This is good and normal and motivating to learn . . .  I am not sure why our idea of showing off is limited to the football team and cheerleaders . . .  Not much showing off means that 80% of adults don’t exercise much. . . and girls of ages 15-17 are included in the statistics that find that relatively few do much exercise.

If you want the kids to exercise,  some of them will need some motivations.  Gymnastics, dance, ballet and belly dancing exhibitions or showing off . . . bikini competitions or even merely going to the beach in the summer where the boys or girls are . . . Hey–if there is some motivation and a way to express and be appreciated for being pretty, graceful and beautiful, slender and fit . . . a lot of the kids will want to train.

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