Standards and Linkages
Bray, Marilyn, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
Thanks to the diligence of our colleagues, all disciplines within the Alliance have national standards. Now that we have this information, there are many questions about how to use these guidelines to develop programs that lead to an improved lifestyle. The JOPERD editorial board is encouraging readers to submit manuscripts, feature proposals, and viewpoints which focus on applying the content and skills reflected in these national standards to real-life behaviors. In an effort to stimulate thinking along these lines, I pose several questions.
Too often life creates barriers which stand in the way of doing what we know is necessary. What is it - beyond learning physical skills, movement concepts, motor learning, exercise science, and so forth - that is essential to actually practicing what is learned? The idea of physical activity as play, which may be enjoyed only when the work (not traditionally health-related) is done, must change. How can we empower students to apply concepts of well-being to their own lives and leisure behaviors after the end of their instructional experiences in physical activity?
Life is a complex entanglement of work, family, leisure, responsibilities, survival, time, skills, resources, philosophy, values, and childhood habits. Assessment is a way to measure life role skills. We know that assessment practices are changing, and these new practices are different from what most of us have been using in our physical education programs. How do we develop assessment methods that are substantive? How does assessment drive instruction? How do we design instruction so that it includes the application of life role skills?
An example of how assessment initiatives are influencing programs can be seen in Chesterfield County (Virginia) Public Schools. A group of 10th-grade teachers are implementing a county personal fitness course developed by the school system. In the course, students are learning to design, implement, evaluate, and revise personal fitness programs.
Teachers have done well in teaching the content. However, after their first year of teaching the course, they determined that not enough students were demonstrating responsibility for their own learning. Questions arose about student empowerment. Teachers asked, "What has to happen for student empowerment to be embedded in the instructional design? How do we as teachers find out how to teach differently so that students learn to be responsible for their own learning?"
As teachers struggled with these questions, one strategy they used was to develop rubrics for assessment. The process of describing what students should know and be able to do at the end of the learning experiences helped them more clearly visualize what learning would look like and how it might compare with a life environment. Because of these rubrics, teachers and students no longer have vague ideas of expectations. The rubrics provided a more concrete view of what to do. The chart below shows some shifts in the teachers' thinking.
Moving from Moving towards * Teacher always directing Students self-managing * Mostly whole group teaching Mostly collaboration with individuals * Students implementing fitness Students implementing fitness plan with little understanding of plan and demonstrating concepts and principles understanding of concepts and principles * Primary teacher assessment Primarily self-assessment
As we help students assume more responsibility for their learning, teachers are constantly challenged to deal with empowerment issues. How do students learn to take personal responsibility for their skill or fitness development? How does student responsibility influence the design of lessons? What impact do teaching styles have on students' ability to take responsibility for their lifelong learning? …