Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Brief Overview of Developmental Physical Education

Children in this generation face many issues that previous generations did not have to encounter. Children these days have to deal with a rapid rise in obesity. Today’s children are less active and have poorer diets than their counterparts of just 10 years ago. In addition, the in-school and community violence among youth has been a growing problem and there is no reason for it to occur. Lastly, children are reaching puberty sooner that in turn has important psychosocial ramifications.

Physical Education aims to remedy some if not all of these problems. A physical educator seeks to teach skills necessary to perform a variety of activities and remain fit. In addition, a physically educated person, by NASPE standards, knows the implications and the benefits of involvement in physical activities. There are three factors that lead to the development of the whole child. Firstly, the biology of the individual, next is the conditions of the learning environment, and lastly the requirements of the movement task, or the task, learner and environment for short. Individual appropriateness is based on the central proposition that each child has his unique timing and pattern of growth and development. Thus, the movement activities children perform are geared to their stage of motor development. On the other hand, age-group appropriateness is based on both chronological age and grade level. The process of development moves from simple to complex and from general to specific as individuals strive to increase their competence in the motor, cognitive and affective domains of human behavior.

Fundamental skills, or basic movement skills, are developed when the student it young and is applied to specialized skills to a wide variety of games and to various sport, dance and recreational activities. For example, the fundamental skill of striking an object in an underhand, sidearm or over-arm pattern is progressively refined and later applied in sport and recreational pursuits such as golf, tennis and baseball. Patterns of stability can also be observed as axial, static and dynamic movements. An axial movement could be bending, stretching or twisting. While, on the other hand, static and dynamic movements could be rolling, starting, stopping or dodging.

Finally, physical fitness is defined as a combination of health-related and performance-related fitness. Health-related fitness is composed of muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, joint flexibility and body composition. However, performance-related fitness is made up of balance, coordination, agility, speed and power. These concepts can easily be achieved with the guidance and supervision of a physically educated teacher.

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