Analysis of a Videotaped Lesson from an Exercise Physiology Perspective: Physical Educators Can Infuse Fitness Concepts, Teach Exercise Science, and Increase Activity in Their Lessons All at the Same Time

Article excerpt

Public school physical education in the United States can be considered to be at a critical point in its history. On the one hand, critics have charged, with some justification, that students should be developing reasonable fitness levels and mastering certain fundamental movement skills to a greater extent than appears evident in many schools (Pate & Hohn, 1994). On the other hand, physical education practitioners and programs stand at the forefront in the fight against obesity, in the effort to increase children's physical activity, and in helping children become physically educated, healthy, and active adults (AAHPERD, 2005; National Association for Sport and Physical Education [NASPE], 2004b). The master physical education teacher is one who is able to teach and motivate students to develop health- and skill-related fitness as well as fundamental (and, to a reasonable extent, refined) motor skills.

In the authors' analysis of the videotape of a teacher candidate instructing middle school students in pass patterns during a football lesson, the larger issues mentioned above form the bases for many of the observations. These observations relate to the emphases that the Exercise Physiology Academy believes should exist in a model physical education program. The lesson is reviewed in terms of its value in developing health- and skill-related fitness, and in relation to the national standards for physical education (NASPE, 2004a). Standards three and four require students to participate regularly in physical activity and to develop and maintain health-related fitness levels. Other organizations reflect these expectations, for example, that students regularly participate in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and that students be physically active for at least 50 percent of physical activity class time (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000).

There is more to health- and skill-related fitness than physical activity itself, however. More subtly, standard two provides the expectation of learning physiological as well as other scientific principles underlying physical activity. For example, this is a sample outcome given for grades six to eight: "Describes basic principles of training and how they improve fitness" (NASPE, 2004a, p. 24). Teaching students the physiology of exercise and physical activity, the authors believe, motivates them to become interested in their body and to develop and maintain their body's potential, and improves the likelihood they will become active, physically educated adults (Biren & Rattigan, 2005). The idea of teaching the science of exercise and physical activity is reflected in the national standards for beginning physical education teachers (NASPE, 2003). Standard one is concerned with content knowledge. Standard 1.4 states, "[Teachers] Describe and apply bioscience (anatomical, physiological, biomechanical) and psychological concepts to skillful movement, physical activity, and fitness" (NASPE, 2003, p. 8). Guidelines for exercise physiology preparation for physical education teacher education programs have been developed for such a purpose (Biren & Rattigan, 2005; NASPE, 2006). It is important for physical education teachers, beginners and beyond, to learn, apply, and teach scientific principles to students, while at the same time keeping them active and purposefully engaged in both fitness and skill development.

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Video Analysis

The lesson consisted of the teacher demonstrating a basic pass pattern and the role of the passer and receiver. The teacher assigned students to stations, each of which had a card that explained the pass pattern for that station.

The level of activity in the lesson was low, with students not moving for approximately 70 to 85 percent of the time. Students should be active at least 50 percent of lesson time, as noted above (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2000). …