When implemented carefully, cooperative activities in physical can convey ideals such as honesty, respect for others' rights and feelings, concern for others, and self-discipline.
To maximize the effectiveness of physical education, it is time for physical educators to focus on a smaller set of goals (Hellison, 1987; Hedlund, 1990) by concentrating on individual and social responsibility in the affective domain. In light of the societal problems today's children face and because of an increasing number of at risk children, a curriculum which stresses moral development, social growth, and emotional stability is important now more than ever.
To assist in the moral development of students is a stated aim of physical education. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) defines a physically educated prison as one who appreciates "the relationships with others that result from participation in physical activity" (NASPE, 1990). The American Academy of Physical Education stresses that physical education is "an specially appropriate place to teach moral education," and urges support for the development of plans for instruction and assessment of appropriate ethical and moral values (Harrison & Blakemore, 1992, p. 186).
Attaining these goals requires true commitment among the physical education community (Hellison, 1990b; Caine & Krebs, 1986). Teaching in the affective domain (especially with respect to moral development) has not been systematically and uniformly addressed, "leaving the potential of physical education... unclear and inconclusive" (Caine & Krebs, 1986). Hellison states that teaching in the affective domain is a "conceptual nightmare." "Does it refer to self-esteem or body image?... Should we teach values, or clarify values, or try to avoid value issues?" (Hellison, 1987, p. 41).
While acknowledging that problems exist in this area, research reflects the contributions physical education has made regarding children's social and emotional growth (Chandler, 1988; Lang & Stinson, 1991). One such contribution is the development of prosocial behaviors. When implemented carefully, cooperative activities in physical education can convey ideals such as honesty, respect for others' rights and feelings, concern for others, and self-discipline (Glakas, 1991). The keys are correct and careful implementation and cooperative activities!
Implementation of Instruction
Physical educators believe that physical education can enhance students' social and emotional growth (Chandler, 1988), an essential factor in children's educational development (Deline, 1991). Why then, do we so often leave these important aspects of education to chance? We rarely implement specific strategies to teach students how to communicate with each other or how to work out and accept compromises (Deline, 1991; Hellison, 1987).
Physical educators must recognize that the reason students do not behave as expected is not because they do not want to, but rather because they have not been taught how (Deline, 1991; Hellison, 1987). Many students have not been exposed to cooperative values in their environments, whether at home or at school, nor have they had cooperative values positively reinforced. Therefore, physical educators should not assume that students automatically possess these values and skills. Instead, physical educators should specifically address cooperative behaviors (Deline, 1991).
Teaching and learning cooperative skills should be approached in the same manner as with any other skill. Physical educators should not expect students who do not understand the concepts of cooperation, compromise and communication to "work out" their disputes. They should: (1) give students enough time to understand and discuss the cooperative value being taught; (2) allow students time to use and practice the value. Finally, with adequate understanding and practice, students will (3) internalize the concept, making it part of their "appropriate behavioral repertoire" (Deline, 1991). Figure 1 illustrates this three-step approach.
The second key to developing a program which highlights psycho-social aspects of physical education is to include a variety of cooperative activities to complement the cooperative erative values and social skills being taught in the curriculum. Cooperative games, "focus words," and "levels of responsibility" are examples of cooperative activities to include in an affectively centered program.
Cooperative games. The goals of competitive games are "achieved at the expense of other players"; conversely, the goals of cooperative games require mutual interdependence between players" (Grineski, 1989). Also, cooperative games have been linked to an increase in the amount of prosocial behaviors demonstrated by participants, while competitive games not only squelch the exhibition of prosocial behaviors, but actually increase undesirable behaviors such as cheating, fighting, and lack of concern for others (Grineski, 1989; Glakas, 1991; Greendorfer, 1987). For example, Grineski (1989) described the differences found in verbal encouragement between students participating in cooperative versus competitive lessons teaching long jump. Using the cooperative format, students formed teams of five and collectively jumped to achieve a predetermined distance goal. These students repeatedly expressed encouraging statements such as, "C'mon," "You can do it," and "Way to go."
In contrast, in the competitive format each student executed five jumps, and the student who jumped farthest was declared the winner. The students did not use encouraging phrases during this lesson. Grineski (1989) attributed their absence to the fact that these types of statements "were unnecessary for goal achievement" in such competitively structured lessons.
"Focus words" (Deline, 1991). Ideally, a four- to six-week unit which emphasizes cooperative values is implemented near the beginning of the year. Cooperative values are presented in the form of focus words such as "cooperation," "responsibility," and "respect." Students are taught what the words mean, why the skills are important to them, and how to use these skills in everyday situations. For example, to teach students about compromise, the instructor might elicit participation by asking the students for a definition and then compare it to the dictionary definition. Next, the instructor could ask students to provide examples of why compromise is important when interacting with others. Students would then be given specific instructions as to how they will use compromise in the physical education lesson. Students can be held responsible for ensuring that each gets a turn during an activity or deciding how disputes will be settled. Throughout the year, this (and other) cooperative strategies are modeled and reinforced, and students are provided with opportunities to practice behaviors and discuss questions concerning the focus words.
Responsibility levels. This teaching model places four levels of behavior along a continuum from self-responsibility (Level 1) to caring and concern for others (Level 4) (Hellison, 1990c; DeBusk & Hellison, 1989). When unacceptable (Level 0) behavior occurs, the levels offer teachers a way to explain why a behavior is unacceptable, show where the behavior falls on (or off) the chart of levels, ask students about the behavior, and provide examples of acceptable behavior at higher levels (Masser, 1990). Consequently, off-task, disruptive, anti-social behaviors can be turned into learning experiences which offer students practical, constructive alternatives to their Level 0 behaviors. For example, in Masser's (1990) experiment with Hellison's levels, she reported an incident in which a student complained about another student calling him a name. Masser used Hellison's levels to discuss the situation. The offended student was able to quickly identify his peer's behavior as Level 0. Masser then explained to the student that Level 0 people often try to pull others down to their level. This made sense to the student and allowed him to leave the discussion feeling good about himself for operating above the Level 0 behavior exhibited by the name-caller.
Program Goals and Guidelines
Some common themes emerge within the research related to psycho-social aspects of physical education. These themes form the basic goals associated with teaching in the affective domain. Also found are suggested guidelines for program implementation. Together, the goals and guidelines can serve as a framework for physical educators to use when developing a curriculum in this area. The goals and guidelines listed in figure 2, specifically developed by Hedlund (1990) and Grineski (1989) respectively, can easily be applied to each of the cooperative activity programs described.
Many excellent articles exist on the trials by physical educators in the implementation of instruction in the affective domain (Chandler, 1988; Deline, 1991; Glakas, 1991; Grineski, 1989; Hellison, 1990a, 1990c; Lifka, 1990; Masser, 1990; and Williamson & Georgiadis, 1992). Although such implementation is often challenging, persistent and committed instructors are often rewarded with significant social improvements in the lives of students (Hellison, no date).
Physical educators are well aware of the potential effect their curriculums have in the three learning domains. The very nature of physical education has obvious implications for the psychomotor domain. Likewise, what physical educator does not want to affect the cognitive domain by teaching various strategies and concepts associated with physical activities? As for the affective domain, physical education activities are replete with opportunities to teach psycho-social skills such as teamwork and sportsmanship.
Focusing on the affective domain allows physical educators to help students develop into well-adjusted, self-assured members of society through physical activity - a natural medium for this curriculum area. The focus should not be so narrow that the cognitive or psychomotor domains are ignored. However, the attitudes and behaviors of many students seem to command teachers' attention and detract from effective instruction. We should acknowledge that "the child's development is far more important than game outcomes" (Glakas, 1990), and that "motor skill sometimes needs to be the means to more important ends" (Hedlund, 1991).
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Peggy M. Tomme is a teacher/coach at Hoffman Middle School, Houston TX 77068. Janice C. Wendt is an associate professor at the University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5331.…