Physical Educators as Teachers of Literacy: You Already Are a Teacher of Literacy, Whether or Not You Know It

By Ballinger, Debra A.; Deeney, Theresa A. | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, May-June 2006 | Go to article overview

Physical Educators as Teachers of Literacy: You Already Are a Teacher of Literacy, Whether or Not You Know It


Ballinger, Debra A., Deeney, Theresa A., JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Recently, in a second-grade class, a young student skidded into the room and shouted in excitement, "Mrs. W.! The physical education teacher just said rambunctious!" Mrs. W. responded, "Why did he say that?" and the student replied, "Because we were all slamming our lockers!"

Not very interesting, one might argue. However, to that student and that teacher, the content of the exchange was very exciting. The teacher had been working to engage students in learning and using "wonderful words" that arose in their classroom read-aloud sessions. She gave a list of targeted words to specialist teachers (art, music, physical education) and other adults in her building and asked for their help. The physical education teacher took this to heart, and low and behold, his students were rambunctious in physical education class, and later tried to keep their voices to a murmur; they also noticed certain skills, preferred certain games, and most definitely tried hard not to be argumentative about rules.

This is just one example of how physical education teachers can be teachers and rein-forcers of literacy skills. This article discusses the current state of literacy in the nation, why physical education teachers need to promote literacy practices, and creative ways in which physical education teachers can promote literacy learning.

Literacy Learning: A National Agenda

In the wake of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), school districts are increasingly accountable for demonstrating improved student achievement in English language literacy. The stakes are high for states and districts, which have, in turn, placed increased pressure for these subject areas on all teachers, regardless of what they teach. Why involve all teachers? Bottoms (2003) reported, "There are few jobs--and almost no high-paying ones--not requiring proficiency in reading for understanding and communicating clearly orally and in writing" (p. 2).

Another reason to get all teachers to incorporate literacy instruction and practices into their teaching is the relative stagnation in the nation's test scores. The 2003 results of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) revealed that a mere 31 percent of fourth graders and 32 percent of eighth graders scored at or above the "proficient" level in reading, meaning that they have "demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter" (National Center for Educational Statistics [NCES], 2004, p. 2). In addition, only 63 percent of fourth graders and 74 percent of eighth graders scored at or above the "basic" level, meaning that they have "partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental to work at each grade" (NCES, 2004, p. 2). These statistics may not seem alarming at first glance, but viewing the converse is more startling--37 percent of fourth graders, and 26 percent of eighth graders are not achieving a basic level of literacy skills. Disaggregating this data by ethnic group shows an even more disconcerting picture--among African American students, 60 percent of fourth graders and 46 percent of eighth graders are not meeting the basic standard; and in the Hispanic population, 56 percent of fourth graders and 44 percent of eighth graders are not reaching basic levels of literacy as measured by the NAEP test (NCES, 2004).

What Is Literacy?

Literacy is broadly defined as the ability to communicate in the language of a particular discipline. For example, the term "computer literate" has become the short way of saying that someone can communicate through a computer. In physical education, teachers work to build physically fit and "physically literate" students. However, when physical education teachers are asked to be "teachers of literacy," it is doubtful that the school or district means for them simply to continue to teach the physical education curriculum to build physically fit and "physically literate" students. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Physical Educators as Teachers of Literacy: You Already Are a Teacher of Literacy, Whether or Not You Know It
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.