Schools have developed PE in six ways to prioritize student interest and motivation

Some schools have succeeded in popularizing their PE programs and participating well. At Eddie Henderson University School in Florida, the gym is always full of middle school students; Although children who play sports after school are allowed to avoid it, 95 percent participate anyway. At the Girls Athletic Leadership School, a charter program for high school and high school children, physical activity is combined throughout the school day, and “Morning Walk” replaces the PE. At Tuscarora High School in Maryland, where students have to attend only one physical education department in their four years, about one-third of students take it across high school.

These schools have adapted their physical education programs to help children enjoy exercise. The teachers there explained what makes their programs popular:

“We change that a lot,” Eddie Henderson’s Athletic Director says Chris Childs. The children said that the instructors change units every two to three weeks and include games that will limit the experience of playing like a pickleball to most students. Offering new sports options keeps PE fresh. Instructors create new games for students to play as a way to level the playing field; Even the most experienced athletes have to learn these games from scratch. And the teachers divide the units into separate skills so that the ten-day volleyball department, say, four people can start working together for a practice exercise.

“Like a big shopping,” Alyssa Warbetz, director of athletics at GALS Charter School, told me. Students progress through three major exercise “units” a year: group play and yoga; Cardio; And the choice, where the kids decide for themselves whether they want to play football or basketball, say, or defend themselves or run, among other options. Free Choice also appeals to Tuscarora High School students, who can decide for themselves every “Free Friday” what activities they will play that day.

“We are sensitive to children’s warnings about the locker room.” Tuscarora’s athletic director says Howard Puterman. As a matter of fact, this means that children will not change their clothes to allow them to play. “We work with the kids,” Puterman added. Eddie Henderson’s trainers allow some kids to use the locker room before the crowd. They keep an adult in the locker room to avoid any intimidation. “We arrange for the awkward kids to stay,” the kids told me.

They offer competitive and non-competitive games. Instead of throwing aggressive athletes with unwilling participants, Eddie Henderson’s PE coaches give everyone a chance to choose between intense and comfortable play. That way, kids who want to be tough on the game can compete with other gung-ho players, while those who prefer a relaxed and fun approach can participate with similarly smooth students. Children say the stigma surrounding PE remains partly because kids who prefer to grow up in a gym class are more apt to be physical education instructors as adults; They naturally assume that all children enjoy aggressive play. More students will benefit from regular exercise if the athletic departments find ways to reach children who are lagging behind in the competition.

“We do not use fitness as a punishment.” The children said. Punishing a late student with three laps around the field will not teach children that exercise can be enjoyable. The teachers started moving as soon as the students changed their clothes and the teachers showed up as the kids walked around the perimeter of the gym. Some children use pedometers to measure their distance. At GALS, girls are taught that physical activity is central to life, and that those who have a body are athletes.

They focus on relationships. At Tuscarora, PE instructors personally try to get to know students. “They’re the most personable people in the building,” a 12M There grader said. The students of GALS enjoy the morning movement as the teachers participate with the girls. “We’re not just talking about it, we’re part of it,” Verbatz ​​said.