Elementary Classroom Teachers Attitudes and Perspectives of Elementary Physical Education

By Barney, David; Deutsch, Joe | Physical Educator, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Elementary Classroom Teachers Attitudes and Perspectives of Elementary Physical Education


Barney, David, Deutsch, Joe, Physical Educator


Abstract

Physical educators have long proclaimed that physical education class is an important academic discipline to a students' education. With learning objectives taking place in the affective, cognitive and psychomotor domains. Yet, physical education has been marginalized in today's society. One way to gain support of physical education is getting support from other educators. The literature suggests that teacher's need to promote their programs to gain support and lose the marginality tag that has been place on physical education. For this study the researchers surveyed elementary classroom teachers (n=219). The survey consisted of seven questions, and of the five questions the classroom teachers were asked to further explain their responses to the survey question. The purpose of this study was to obtain and better understand elementary classroom teacher's attitudes and perspectives regarding elementary physical education. Generally, elementary classroom teachers attitudes were positive towards elementary physical education.

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For many years physical education has professed to educate a student in many ways. These claims of educating students in physical education are found in the affective, cognitive and psychomotor domains. For example, in the cognitive domain students learn to focus on the acquiring, comprehending and evaluation of knowledge. Such as learning values, strategies, skills and safety in certain activities. In the affective domain, students' develop attitudes and appreciation for participation in physical activity. This encompasses fair play, sportsmanship and cooperation with classmates during an activity. And finally, in the psychomotor domain students learn locomotor skills to serve a lifetime. Such skills as throwing, catching, striking, kicking are taught throughout the curriculum (Lumpkin, 1998). Day in and day out, physical educators witness the preceding take place in their classrooms. In some cases, outside the gymnasium or playing field, classroom teachers have a limited knowledge of physical education as an academic discipline. Because of this limited knowledge, classroom teachers may not understand how physical education benefits the individual student.

In some cases, physical education as an academic discipline, is being shortened in the amount and length of time students are in physical education class, or are being reduced in the number of days during the week that the students meet with a qualified physical educator. In some cases, physical education class is completely being eliminated from a students' education (Carlson, 1994). Even though physical education is an academic discipline, it has not been given the respect it deserves in the school setting and among the general public. The literature has alluded to the fact that physical education has and is marginalized as an academic discipline. Johns & Dimmock (1999) discussed how physical education is marginalized in Hong Kong. Probably the main topic that came from this study was that physical education is a "less academic subject" compared to the other subjects in school. The study also implies that physical education does not prepare a child for the real world. It was noted that parents and administrators have marginalized physical education. Parents feel that physical education is unimportant and not on the level of other academic subjects. Because of this mind set, the parents feel that if their child is involved in a physical education class it will negatively affect their child's academic grades. The administrators feel that physical education helps produce successful sport teams, raise the schools reputation and that it helps maintain discipline in the school. The authors found that administrators were more willing to allocate as much time as needed for such subjects as math, science and languages. Another facet of marginalizing physical education in Hong Kong is the problem of space for physical education classes.

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