Thoughts on the New National Physical Education Standards


The Physical Education Standards have been revised and adopted by AAHPERD.  If you read them they aren’t a lot different than the standards we’ve been using (which is a good thing in my book because that means what we’ve been using was on target!).  I’ve listed the new Physical Education Standards below and encourage you to look at them and be prepared to start using them when school starts again in the fall. 

I want to draw your attention to one change that I believe we need to embrace and that is the change from using the term “physically educated” to “physically literate”.  After reading the explanation I think you will agree with me that this change in terms is an important one. 

“The term ‘physical literacy’ puts us more in line with other content areas, such as math and health education,” says Lynn Couturier, who chaired the NASPE Task Force on K – 12 Standards and Outcomes, which developed the standards. “The task force felt that we can better influence education decision-makers by using language that core subjects use, such as ‘physical literacy’ and ‘college- and career readiness.’ It’s important that we help these decision-makers understand the role of physical education in the schoolwide curriculum and in preparing students for college and career.”

I just read an article about a school district that voted to accept marching band and color guard as a physical education credit.  Like most of you, I have no problem with the fact that these activities provide a valuable benefit to the students who participate.  However, they cannot replace what takes place in a quality physical education program.  As physical educators, we must be prepared to educate policy makers about what makes our curriculum different than these other activities.  The key is to make certain that we are truly educating our students and not simply providing them with physical activity time.  If education is taking place and we can show we are teaching to these standards it should be easy to help decision makers understand the role we play in the school.  Making certain that our students are becoming “physically literate” and the benefits that provides to the students is an important message for all of us to be prepared to deliver. 

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