The Importance of Physical Education Curriculum
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
When I use to hear the word curriculum my first thought was “boring.” My second thought was “useless department lingo” i.e. jargon. Maybe teacher old age has crept up on me and I myself am getting boring… or maybe I’m just getting wiser, but the first thing that comes to my mind now when I hear curriculum is engagement, opportunity and inclusivity. How does this all relate to Physical Education?
Curriculum development forms the basis of everything we do, every lesson we write, every assessment we create every standard we touch. In physical education, curriculum forms the basis of hopefully sending students to State/National/International competition. See pyramid below.
We all love hearing the stories of our students who go off to glory – they are the 1 percenters and their stories should be celebrated. The 100 percenters are every single student that comes through your gym door. They are the ones that might cry when getting tagged. They are the ones that might stomp off when not getting passed to. They might even be the ones who write their own “get of PE free cards.” You know the ones. 😉
In my experience, having a strong curriculum framework helps engage these students. It helps break down barriers and create an inclusive environment. Not every lesson should be competition based, because not all students like that. Not all games should be invasion – not all students like that. There needs to be variety. There needs to be consistency. Believe it or not, most students like that – consistency!
Any curriculum around the world unpacks what should be taught and where students need to be by a certain age. Start here. If you are planning on teaching a “kicking” unit to grade 2 students, know that by the end of that unit they should be able to kick the ball with the inside of their foot. They should be able to keep their eyes on the ball. They should be able to step into the ball when kicking and swing their arms in an opposite direction. All of these combine your assessment material. As a teacher, you need to think of how you are going to get your students to that point. What lessons are you going to sequence to make sure your students are kicking correctly? Having great curriculum knowledge will help you piece this together and create engaging, inclusive lessons. Put energy into this and you will see rewards.
An impactful curriculum will help inform you what skills must be taught at each grade level and ultimately prepare students to be physically literate. Understanding the big picture helps align the learning objectives for both teacher and student. An impactful curriculum outlines for students a sequence of tasks that must be successfully completed for them to understand their successes. Curriculum helps students understand they are on the right track to reaching their goals.
If you are reading this, you understand the importance of Physical Education and its role in our students lives. We are all trying to guide our students on a path towards physical literacy. P.E. helps develop teamwork, resilience, persistence and so much more. Developing a strong curriculum will lay the foundation of success in your classroom, helping create diversity and inclusivity. The jargon may seem boring, but the foundation of what you do will create amazing moments with students of all abilities in your classroom.