Let’s pretend that you are my student. The plan is for you be fit healthy and active for life. As your teacher I’m supposed to give you the knowledge, skills & tools to be able to be fit, healthy, and active for life. However, every student does not succeed at this. How can I assess them to help them become successful? I can assess your motor skills, social skills, and record your fitness measurements. I might even be progressive enough to test your cognitive knowledge of health, fitness and nutrition. But how far did I help you climb up Bloom’s Pyramid of Taxonomy? How deep is your knowledge? Can you remember and understand applications of the present topic in order to analyze the information? Can you do this while evaluating the new knowledge you have accessed in order to reach the pinnacle of the pyramid, thereby blooming like a flower with pedals for creation?
If you can, I have to trust that those habits will continue to grow stronger.
We, as teachers, need to have a plan to move your depth of knowledge toward creating. We need to have an overarching objective for our class that is based off of National and State standards, aligned with grade level outcomes. Once we have that, we can create essential questions to guide the learning process towards our overarching objective. If we can create a plan that has a destination we are more likely to see the results that we are striving toward.
Similarly, our students need a plan…a fitness plan. We cannot push our ideas on them. We need to ask them why being healthy is important in their lives, pulling their voice into the conversation so they can take ownership of their plan. That intrinsic motivation is more likely to stick with them long-term. It is our job to move from push to pull.
My job (as a teacher) is not to tell a student the answer. It is my job to help that student discover the concept for themselves. If I can do that, the student can allow personal ownership to take over, creating a well-rounded understanding of the concept.
Now we have to ask, why are the students setting goals? Why are the students attempting to show growth? Could it be that they were born with a love of fitness, health, and a desire to improve? For some of the students, this is absolutely the case. What about the other students? Maybe they are setting goals and attempting to reach those goals only because I told them to. So in reality, the majority of my students are just doing what I told them to do, for an outcome I’m expecting. This cannot suffice.
I’m not convinced they’re going to meet up with buddies and run the Pacer at a park after leaving my class. In part because they don’t have an understanding of why they were completing the tests in the first place.
So, it’s my job to help them create a fitness plan where they voiced their personal reason for wanting to be healthy. And then we create goals to assist in reaching the healthy destination (whatever that looks like to the individual). The fitness tests are simply vehicles to help measure progress, they are not the destination. If I convey this idea to my students, then why are they performing the fitness measurements in the first place…and so the depth of knowledge deepens.
Watch this 40 second video for a visual description of student voice in relation to fitness planning. You’ll see a student can enter a fitness plan and SMART goals that align with and give meaning to their fitness measurements, using WELNET® Software (A product by Focused Fitness). It’s putting the ownership and accountability on the student so they can have a rhyme and reason for why they are planning their fitness.
Give a student a workout, give them health for a day, teach a student to plan their workouts, and give them health for a lifetime.
About the author:
Alex O’Brien (@alexobrien) is the Director of Film & Social Media as well as a Trainer for Focused Fitness. His background is Physical Education. He has his Master’s in Education and his research focused on academic content integrated into physical movement, comparing how they can affect short & long term retention. As a PE teacher he was instrumental in incorporating technology, social media, and video into PE, district wide. He has presented to educators from coast to coast speaking at the state and national level. He believes in living a healthy and active lifestyle with a smile on.