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    Default How can schools and communities do physical education better?

    How could schools and communities do physical education better? Or should they? Should it be something that its just up to the individual and their parents or families?

    I'm asking this because the way in which physical education was done while I was at school was dumb, it put me and everyone else off, people would try to skip it or bench it or bring sick notes, I can identify a host of reasons for this, there were awful communal showers and changing rooms which were the site of bullying, people stole other peoples fucking clothes while I was at school and I kind of hope that doesnt happen anymore.

    Anyway, I can remember being interested in fitness even then, classes didnt involve anything about diet, anything about different sorts of sports in theory, anything about different sorts of exercise or training in theory, it was half and hour in which people were meant to change, kick a football around or run in circles and then shower, change again, back to class, sometimes there was badmington and that was that.

    I hated PE but I'd have given anything to join a gym but there was and is an age bar of 14 in most gyms, anyway, what about that? Couldnt simply have been laziness when that's the case and it would have been easy carried if I'd got fit then as opposed to struggling now post diabetes.

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    I have many ideas on how schools could do PE better. Hmmm I think for one as you said there should be more focus on gyms in some respects especially for the winter as running around in cold weather is not comfortable. I also think there should be more focus on solo sports as well as group sports such as running and hiking since hiking and walking are actually both some of the best fitness you can do.
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    Talk to me. Merced's Avatar
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    California's solution to this question was to mandate a health science class alongside two years of physical education. A staunch difference from South Carolina, where you only need one PE credit with multiple ways to get out of even that.

    However, at my high school in SC we were part of an initiative called Personalized Learning, a fantastic academic model that I hope one day reaches the entirety of the country. A big part of it was allowing students to move ahead in their studies if they were quick to catch on or spend extra time on things that they didn't quite get, but it's relevance to the question of fitness in schools was the furniture. Many, if not all furniture in the building was designed to move, with STEM classes having the most maneuverability. You could do elliptical work while solving math problems or do leg lifts in your chair as you read. There were also two fitness gyms inside the school that were open to all students for an amount of time and all student athletes for an even longer time. Teachers always took advantage of that, to the point where it's commonplace to ask a teacher about an assignment during their daily workouts. In combination with the fitness gyms, there were brain rooms for standardized test prep. Brain rooms were more literally working out with educational aspects to them, basically doing sets of whatever exercise and subject you were on then quickly running off to do another. (Thankfully it's more of an underclassmen thing. The brain rooms get sweaty and obnoxious really quickly.)

    I always feared PE culture, so I took AFJROTC (Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) my freshman year instead. It counts as two PE credits instead of one and anyone who knows me knows that I am aiming for some record in terms of racking up credits. I personally think all students in public education should have the option to choose an ROTC of any branch in place of PE because of how influential it was in my life. Funnily enough, my attempts to dodge group exercise this way ultimately fell flat because in ROTC, we had weekly PT and it was far more rigorous than anything the PE classes did. Noted by my peers, my family, and even myself was a rather drastic improvement in my overall health thanks to it.

    A bigger issue in this conversation from my perspective is school lunches. I can say with great confidence that Michelle Obama's health initiative failed, as school districts in major debt like mine was in SC got out of it by just lowering food portions entirely instead of meeting the requirement the way it was intended to be met. I am not exaggerating when I say my school lunches were pizzas (lunch ladies weren't good at making them, so they usually end up being bread with maybe cheese if we were lucky) or three (3) chicken nuggets. I wasn't even aware that this was absolutely fucking unacceptable before moving to California where school lunches taste pretty great and actually satisfy my appetite.

    I did some schooling in Tennessee, but all I remember is that the school lunches were tasty but not healthy. I was insanely competitive and athletic as a kid but don't remember any PE stuff outside of the parachute thing. The quality of my education in all aspects there were piss poor, according to my parents, and only improved when I was accepted to a Performing Arts School that was more "pay to enter" than talent based. School lunches there were sponsored by Arby's at that school. The midsouth in general is bad when it comes to education, so I would say fix that before worrying about kids getting overweight.

    Body positivity may need to enter the curriculum too. I know a lot of fat people who are healthy. Fat needs to lose its negative connotation as well as its use as a synonym for unhealthy. Obviously that's more of an overall social issue that can't be fixed by just adding an annotation during a health class, but still relevant to the conversation of health and how it's presented to students.

    To clarify context, I spent 9th through 11th grade in South Carolina and I am currently completing my senior year in California.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merced View Post
    A bigger issue in this conversation from my perspective is school lunches. I can say with great confidence that Michelle Obama's health initiative failed, as school districts in major debt like mine was in SC got out of it by just lowering food portions entirely instead of meeting the requirement the way it was intended to be met. I am not exaggerating when I say my school lunches were pizzas (lunch ladies weren't good at making them, so they usually end up being bread with maybe cheese if we were lucky) or three (3) chicken nuggets. I wasn't even aware that this was absolutely fucking unacceptable before moving to California where school lunches taste pretty great and actually satisfy my appetite.
    Do you think it failed because it was clearly pretty easy for schools to get around it? Or that the initiative shouldn't have been tried at all?

    Approaches to Physical Education in Schools - Educating the Student Body - NCBI Bookshelf

    It's fairly obvious that part of the problem is that much of the curricula is determined at the local and state levels. You will hear much pushback but it usually comes from the localities and states that are failing their students under the guise of - don't tell us what to do.

    However, at my high school in SC we were part of an initiative called Personalized Learning, a fantastic academic model that I hope one day reaches the entirety of the country. A big part of it was allowing students to move ahead in their studies if they were quick to catch on or spend extra time on things that they didn't quite get, but it's relevance to the question of fitness in schools was the furniture. Many, if not all furniture in the building was designed to move, with STEM classes having the most maneuverability. You could do elliptical work while solving math problems or do leg lifts in your chair as you read. There were also two fitness gyms inside the school that were open to all students for an amount of time and all student athletes for an even longer time. Teachers always took advantage of that, to the point where it's commonplace to ask a teacher about an assignment during their daily workouts. In combination with the fitness gyms, there were brain rooms for standardized test prep. Brain rooms were more literally working out with educational aspects to them, basically doing sets of whatever exercise and subject you were on then quickly running off to do another. (Thankfully it's more of an underclassmen thing. The brain rooms get sweaty and obnoxious really quickly.)
    This is kind of amazing sounding. I would love to see something like this all over the country as well but there appears to be no way to make that happen, currently. But the NIH article I linked says the much the same thing.

    Instead of focusing exclusively on having children move constantly to log activity time, a new curricular approach emphasizes teaching them the science behind why they need to be physically active in their lives. The curriculum is designed so that the children are engaged in physical activities that demonstrate relevant scientific knowledge. The goal is the development and maintenance of individual student fitness. In contrast with the movement education and sport education models, the underlying premise is that physical activity is essential to a healthy lifestyle and that students' understanding of fitness and behavior change result from engagement in a fitness education program. The conceptual framework for the model is designed around the health-related components of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. A recent meta-analysis (Lonsdale et al., 2013) suggests that physical education curricula that include fitness activities can significantly increase the amount of time spent in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    Do you think it failed because it was clearly pretty easy for schools to get around it? Or that the initiative shouldn't have been tried at all?
    Too easy to get around.
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    The problem with the Michele Obama health thing was that they took away more unhealthy foods as opposed to adding healthy foods. I think they try too much to focus on what is traditionally healthy, just need to focus on filling, decent quality meals with a good amount of nutrition. It's sad when take out places are of higher quality than school meals. I know pizza is technically not healthy, but it was one of the most edible meals since it came from a different place than their usual stuff. Some schools have moldy stuff, and that is absolutely not okay. That needs to be fixed before anything else. I would rather have a non moldy, non stale burger than rotting fruit.

    Idk what to do about PE. I don't think a PE class has ever made me fit. Exercising outside is the way to go, but poorer people may not be able to do that. A possible solution is to have a second round of buses, so those kids could maybe join in on that. But that is too much money.
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    I think that Jamie Oliver's campaigning in the UK for healthy meals in schools failed for the same reasons, also there were backlashes of the sort that I think are very typical of the UK, perhaps the english speaking world but I'm not sure if I could cast as wide a net on that score yet (like the ROI is part of the engish speaking world, even if they dont like that).

    Anyway, in the UK moms from the local community who had kids at the schools involved in Jamie's initiative, were coming up to the gates and passing in fish and chips or battered sausages and chips to the kids in exchange for their lunch money when the canteens offered exclusively healthier options like jacket potatoes (note that both of those options are carbs heavy).

    Those mixings of exercise and mental learning sound absolutely brilliant but also very American, if you know what I mean, I got to say that I hated and avoided and resisted what my school had to offer in the way of PE, I dont think I would have done so much if they'd had individual shower cubicles and, say, stationary bikes or cross training machines, I'd have totally went in for half an hour to do that, even would have come in early or left late if it permitted me to use the same.

    I dont know why, especially when there's an obescity epidemic, that schools choose to avoid options like that, maintaining it, mechanics, risks of vandalism and difficulty managing behaviour could all be part of it, I know we didnt go bowling or do archery or do a lot of other things which other schools routinely did because of risks of challenging behaviour from some of the stupidier kids, although I also am almost certain that some teachers relied upon that sort of crap to avoid using lots and lots of interesting but dated training equipment which sat gathering dust in the closets.

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    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I dont know why, especially when there's an obescity epidemic, that schools choose to avoid options like that, maintaining it, mechanics, risks of vandalism and difficulty managing behaviour could all be part of it
    The same reason you have Brexit. The same reason we have Trump.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    How could schools and communities do physical education better? Or should they? Should it be something that its just up to the individual and their parents or families?

    I'm asking this because the way in which physical education was done while I was at school was dumb, it put me and everyone else off, people would try to skip it or bench it or bring sick notes, I can identify a host of reasons for this, there were awful communal showers and changing rooms which were the site of bullying, people stole other peoples fucking clothes while I was at school and I kind of hope that doesnt happen anymore.

    Anyway, I can remember being interested in fitness even then, classes didnt involve anything about diet, anything about different sorts of sports in theory, anything about different sorts of exercise or training in theory, it was half and hour in which people were meant to change, kick a football around or run in circles and then shower, change again, back to class, sometimes there was badmington and that was that.

    I hated PE but I'd have given anything to join a gym but there was and is an age bar of 14 in most gyms, anyway, what about that? Couldnt simply have been laziness when that's the case and it would have been easy carried if I'd got fit then as opposed to struggling now post diabetes.
    As with many other problems in education, this one won't be fixed until and unless those in authority start putting goals before process. This means they must first agree on the goals. I see three worthwhile goals right off the bat: (1) provide students with regular opportunities to use/exercise their physical bodies, just as in other classes they exercise their minds, aesthetic sense, or even emotional skills; (2) expose students to a variety of forms of physical activity, so they can find what they enjoy and are good at; and (3) encourage a lifelong habit of physical activity and fitness.

    This starts with having PE be part of the curriculum every year, all year long. When I was in school, we had PE several times each week, throughout our 12 years of school. I have never been very athletic, nor enjoyed sports much, but even I thought that made sense. In my area now, though, middle and high school students get PE for only part of the year, and not even every year. This is at most "PE appreciation" not actual PE. Second, making PE an ordinary period of the school day, usuall 45-50 minutes long, artificially constrains the activity especially for older students who change and shower each period. Better at least for them to have PE last period of the day, and perhaps a slightly longer period, to make logistics easier. When I was in Germany on a student exchange, this is what they did. In fact, the students went home at lunchtime, and returned only if they had PE (Sport) that day.

    Third, there needs to be some sanity in the PE requirement. Students already playing a sport should not be required to attend PE in those quarters/semesters. Intramural leagues for common sports should serve as an alternative (or even a primary?) PE opportunity. As always, students with disabilities should have PE programs adjusted for their needs, just as happens in other classes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    The same reason you have Brexit. The same reason we have Trump.
    "This is why we cant have nice things" eh?

    I've been thinking about that a lot lately, there's truth in that saying, wisdom nearly but its something that needs to get transcended or broken through or surpassed some how.

    The internet has something to do with it, although its other pre-existing cultures and issues which contaminated it. I remember reading some guys analysis of the genocide during the second world war and he focused on the technological aspect, there'd always been atrocities all throughout human history, although there'd never been the technology to upscale and mass produce them. He said that the new tech had made the old prejudices untenable. I think there's something like it going on with the internet.

    The think about it is that I've read A LOT of pretty self-regarding conservative analysis of it all which is a kind of "told you so" about democracy, I'm not sure what the democratic solution is to the breakdown of democracy by populists but it needs to be found I think.

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