A Philosophy On Fitness Essay, Research Paper
Webster’s Dictionary defines physical as “concerned or preoccupied with the body and its’ needs” and defines activity as “the state or quality of producing or involving movement.” I agree with Mr. Webster’s definitions. I see physical activity as doing some kind of movement in order to assist in improving or maintaining a body’s level of health. By maintaining or improving that level of health, physical activity also plays a big role in a person’s “quality of life”. How happy or complete a person feels many times depends upon, how their body looks, how they are feeling inside, or how fit they feel. This is where I see the physical educator stepping into the picture. As a physical education teacher, you need to be able to instill the meaning and importance of being physically active. In her book, Lumpkin defines physical education as “a process through which an individual obtains optimal physical, mental, and social skills and fitness through physical activity”. Not only do teachers need to impress upon the students the effects activity can have on their lives physically, but also mentally, and socially.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been physically active in some way, shape, or form. When I was five I was enrolled in dance classes, both ballet, tap and eventually jazz/modern dance. It grew to be something I loved to do. I was also beginning to develop a love for softball, which I played competitively until I graduated from high school. At the age of ten, I became captivated with basketball. I played on the school teams until the ninth grade, but I still enjoy playing for fun. Field hockey became the greatest sport known to me when I reached ninth grade, and I still think it is the best sport to this day. All these sporting activities, plus the walks and bike rides in the woods I love to take when I am at home, helped to develop my love and passion for physical education. Without realizing it, physical education had become the biggest part of my life. I think the positive experiences that I had in the past are the biggest reason I am pursuing a career in physical education.
When I began thinking about starting college and choosing a career, I wanted to find a field that uses the abilities that I possess. At first I thought mainly about the classes I got the best grades in during high school. I had myself convinced that I would love to enter the chemistry field since I was one of the few in my class who were able to understand what was being taught. After my first semester here, I realized I had made a big mistake and I began doing a lot of soul searching. I dropped my chemistry major because I did not find it enjoyable. I tried to think of something that I had a passion for and had the ability to do. Then someone asked if I had ever considered being a teacher. That is when it clicked. I loved to teach! I had the most fun teaching my brother and sister how to play basketball and field hockey, so why not make a career out of it. I feel that I have enough skill to teach others, and the athletic ability may not be on a grand scale, but it is enough to be a good physical education teacher. Physical education doesn’t just involve the activities and sports, but it also involves the science of movement and the makeup of the human body. I remember my high school health class always being one of my favorite and most interesting, so I know that teaching could be just the same.
Another reason I choose the physical education field was because of the role models I have been surrounded by in my life. My father, for one, had an amazing love for sports and he passed his love down to me. We would spend many nights watching baseball games or football games on the television together. He was always willing to answer the endless number of questions I had. He also encouraged me in every way to participate in the sports and activities that I loved, as long as they were fun for me. As I got older, and the competition became more serious for me in field hockey, he became my number one fan. Before every game he would say these words to me, “Good luck, play hard, and have fun”. With just that simple phrase, I knew that he and my mother were my supporters, my encouragers, and my biggest fans. My elementary and high school gym teachers, Mrs. Cline and Mr. Cutchall, were amazing individuals who, when I look back now, lived for teaching their students the importance of physical activity and how to push themselves to be their best. Their examples and the impressions they made on me as my teachers, definitely had an influence on my decision to study physical education. Even now the professors I have make it obvious to me that their main goal is to make their students better people; physically, mentally, and socially. Seeing their work makes me crave to be able to do the same for my students.
I also chose a career in physical education because it is easy to see the benefits and outcomes of what you teach your students. As a teacher, not only can you see the results of your work through what the students do while they are playing, but also in their actions elsewhere. Children learn so much just from playing a simple game of softball. Lumpkin discusses these benefits or outcomes in her book, where she calls them objectives. She looks at three main objectives: Affective, Cognitive, and Psychomotor. I will also discuss a physical objective. These objectives are what we should see our students learning from our teachings as an educator.
I think that the four developmental objectives are all very important, but if I have to place an order to them, the affective would be listed as number one. As a teacher, I think one big part of our job is to motivate the students and to encourage them. Being able to be the encourager while a student is up to bat or running the bases in a softball game, is a simple thing to do. Those simple attempts to raise a student’s self-esteem, is probably one of the most satisfying for the teacher and the most beneficial for the student. Not only will they carry their motivation and high self-esteem in the gym class, but also in the other things they do throughout their life.
Secondly, I would list the cognitive objective. I think that cognitive development is a must. If the student is not able to have an understanding of what the activity is that they are performing, then why should they bother? What good is it if the student is made to run, but they don’t know the benefits they are getting at the same time? In sports, the game can be overall pointless to a student if they don’t understand the rules and the strategies that are involved and make the sport what it is. As an educator, we need to be able to make clear to students, the “what” and “why” for each activity they do.
The psychomotor objective is probably next in importance. If basic locomotor, manipulative, and perceptual-motor-skills are learned early, they provide the foundation for lifelong enjoyment for physical activity (Lumpkin, 1998, p.13). I think that having the ability to learn a motion or movement correctly, such as swinging the softball bat, is more important and better than just going out and trying whatever works. I would prefer, as a teacher, that my students be able, and find it easier, to learn and perform a variety of specific skills, rather than just making them run laps every class.
Even though I placed this objective last on the list, I still place a great deal of importance on it. The physical development of a person is definitely important when living in the lazy work that we live in today. Physical fitness includes cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition (Lumpkin, 1998, p.14). It also includes becoming agile, coordinated, speedy and powerful. The benefits for being physically fit, such as the lowering of health risks and stress, and better academic performance, need to be learned so that the students want to continue living a healthy lifestyle for their entire life.
In determining which objectives I want my students to learn, I begin to form my own philosophy. Lumpkin says that, “Developing a personal philosophy can improve teaching effectiveness, influence your behavior, provide direction in program development, contribute to society’s awareness of the value of physical activity, and encourage a feeling of commonality among co-workers” (p. 28). In looking at the different philosophies, I believe that I am more of a realist, with a few idealist beliefs added in.
The characteristics that I like about a realist’s view, are that they focus on preparing students for the rest of their lives. They put an emphasis on the whole individual, so all of the objectives of physical education are important to the individual. A realist likes to use drills and lectures as teaching methods. As a means of evaluating students, they give tests, which are based on factual information that the students have learned.
The thing I like most about idealism, is that the teachers are viewed as the role model and not just the lecturer, or instructor. Idealists also put more emphasis on the mind and encourage the use of reasoning as a means of finding truths. The one thing I don’t like about idealists is that they are often resistant to change.
As a realist-idealist, my teaching would be affected in many ways. As in idealism, I would strive to set a good example and be a good role model for my students. This may mean being in good shape myself or maybe even participating in some of the activities that they are doing. As a realist, I would definitely incorporate the use of drills into my class, but I would also try to do them in a way that they are not so repetitive and boring. In assessing what the students have learned, I think that definite testing is needed, whether it be a paper and pencil test, or a fitness test. In a gym class, I am an advocate for fitness testing for different reasons. One is that it shows me as a teacher the capabilities of the students. It gives me some facts about each student’s fitness level. Fitness tests can also be used as a way to show the students their improvements from the beginning of the year to the end, or even from year to year. In a classroom setting, testing students on their knowledge of the facts that they have been taught is again, an easy way to see what they are learning.
From a Christian perspective, the most important thing is to be a good example to my students. Portraying to them what I believe as right and wrong in the rules that I set for the class is one way. I hope to have rules that require fair play and kindness to other students, or that emphasize being respectful to not only fellow students, but also their teachers.
In being a realist-idealist, I will focus on developing the whole individual. As a health teacher, I think it will be important that students know different diseases and health issues, but they also need to know why it could be harmful to them. As a Christian, Paul teaches us that our bodies are like a temple, “… your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, … you are not your own” (The Inspirational Study Bible. 1 Corn. 6.19). I hope that I can portray this belief to my students in the ways that I teach.
International Study Bible. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1995.
Lumpkin, A. (1998). Physical Education and Sport (4th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Co.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (1997). Springfield: Merriam-Webster Inc.