Academic journal article Physical Educator

Curricular Issues in Urban High School Physical Education

Academic journal article Physical Educator

Curricular Issues in Urban High School Physical Education

Article excerpt

According to Pahnnos and Butt (1995), the United States is referred to as a "salad bowl" with different racial and ethnic communities. According to Kozol (2005), urban areas are cities with populations greater than 100,000 people, and urban high schools are normally classified as schools that are within city limits, have a high poverty rate, have high free and reduced-price lunch, have a large "student of color" population, and a large English language learner population. In urban schools, these neighborhood schools do not receive equal funds, which impacts textbooks, faculty selection, the quality of facilities, and curricula being implemented (Pahnnos & Butt, 1995). The dominant physical education (PE) programs seen in these schools foster the cultural games of the dominant group (European; Chepyator-Thomson, 2001). For example, by using nondominant cultural games, such as sepak takraw or gilli-danda, the students can learn from others' points of views and acquire critical thinking skills through playing games that would require different strategies than they are traditionally used to in various games played in the United States (Pahnnos & Butt, 1994). Specifically, urban teachers need to facilitate diversity by considering ethnicity and gender in team selection, allowing the students to share their cultural backgrounds and providing students with activities that are authentic and foster the diversity of each city (Gay, 1988). Activities such as dance and ethnic games can add to the growing understanding of content knowledge understanding that is related to multicultural and responsive curriculum. Incorporating "indigenous American" games into the course of study adds to the diversity of the traditional curriculum. Lacrosse and long ball are primary examples of games that make up units that can break away from the traditional urban PE curriculum. Using these Iroquois games can foster understanding of tradition and the indigenous American way of life (Ninham, 2002). Popular PE programs that drive curriculum in urban schools are Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK), Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH), and Middle School Physical Activity and Nutrition (MSPAN; McKenzie, 1998; Sallis et al., 1999; Jensen, 1998; Shephard, 1997). Programs such as the Physical Activity for Total Health (PATH) program can lead to a curriculum that invokes positive health and lifestyle decisions for urban school students (Fardy, Azzolini, & Herman, 2004). Additional programs focus on intervention, such as the "Model for Success," which uses a holistic approach to implement curriculum (Jones & Jones, 2002). Urban school educators need to design and develop multiple methods that create meaningful and engaging experiences for urban, at-risk youth (Knop, Tannehill, & O'Sullivan, 2001). An important aspect of using various programs is fostering an idea of community within the walls of the urban gymnasia (Ennis & McCauley, 2002).

Teachers' Values

Value orientations play a large role in what is being taught at a school regardless of the location (Ennis & Chen, 1995). Teachers' values are what teachers think are important in the ways they implement and design curricula. Ennis and Chen (1995) modified a regular education survey (VIO) that polls PE teachers to determine their values on curriculum. In a study of preservice teachers and experienced teachers, the concepts self-actualization (SA), social reconstruction (SR), and ecological integration (EI) were placed over skill mastery in the eyes of the preservice teachers (Meek & Cutner-Smith, 2004). In an additional study, Behets' (2001) survey focused on 1,000 teachers, including preservice and certified teachers, and the results indicated that urban teachers place their greatest curricular concentration on social responsibility orientation, over disciplinary mastery. Going further into the future of a teacher's career in an urban school, a teacher serves as the mediator of culture (Sparks & Wayman, 1993). …

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