Creating a Vision for Meaningful Development: Why Do We Need One?

Hello everyone! Today we will be kicking off the first post in a series of posts designed to help you create a vision and mission for your department that will bring purpose and meaning into every lesson and unit that you explore. But let’s answer a question that you all are thinking, why do I need one? Well, let’s just jump right into it shall we?

The 21st Century Physical Educator

Gone are the days of running laps, fitness as punishment and matching tracksuits (but they are snazzy).

Education is an ever evolving profession. Every year there is new research and technology that can completely revolutionize our profession. Remember how 2020 completely changed education, maybe for the better? Just like natural selection, every educator had to evolve their practice to survive the challenges the global pandemic threw at us. For Health and Physical Education, it really emphasised how “teacher-centric” our profession can be.

If it wasn’t for students having Health and PE classes with their teachers, there would not have been much movement and activity in a students day, and that was before the pandemic. Now it has been made clear how much our students need to move and understand how it can connect to a larger picture of health and wellness. Joe Wick made some serious bank catering to the “old school” view of Physical Education being a fitness class and trust me, there will be issues with that down the road…

I am going to assume positive intent and say that every educator wants what is best for their students, no matter the situation or the course. But that might mean challenging some traditional thoughts and stereotypes and changing our point of view as Physical Educators. I believe that every Physical Educator wants to creates students who can be healthy and well for life once they leave their class. This cannot be done by only exploring fitness and traditional sports but only by creating the opportunity for students to create a lasting personal connection to health and wellness.

The question is, how do we do that…

Physical, Sport, Health and Wellness Literacy in Physical Education

The Physical Education Matrix

The 2000’s was a great year for research into Physical Literacy, Sport Literacy, Health and Wellness Literacy and the science behind Domain Based Learning. It has done alot to bring value back into our profession, but many of us are still not too sure what it is and we can apply it.

It took me a LONG time to become comfortable with these concepts before I could introduce them into my lessons and classes. Together, these concepts have the power to create a program that is enduring, values and creates the opportunity for students to make personal connections that they will take with them once they leave your class. I have previously wrote a post on the Physical Education Matrix and how it can promote promising practice in our profession, but for now let’s just establish some definitions so that we can start implementing them into our profession.

So, how do we bring 21st Century Education into our profession? We start by becoming familiar with the research that is promoting quality practices in developing students who can be healthy and well for life. We start by bringing a balanced approach to our programs that allow students to explore a wide range of experiences that allows them to create their own personal connection and value.

Sounds like a great idea right? Sounds simple…right?

What Does a Vision for Meaningful Development Look Like?

A while ago, I sat down and did a podcast with Nathan Horn and and discussed what a 30 000 foot view of quality Physical Education would look like. In the past, I have sat down with teams to discuss this very topic, what does a 30 000 foot view of your program look like, how can your community be involved and most importantly how can your students be a larger part of the process. Most of these conversations came down to creating a vision that established a clear purpose for their program, clear guidelines on how they would be developing this purpose through pedagogical practices and assessment practices, and what experiences would they be designing that offered the ability to develop an understanding that connected to their purpose.

Three parts that when put together would look something like this…

I know what you are thinking, “how did you create this”? I was once told that if you want to go somewhere fast, travel alone. If you want to go somewhere far, travel together. Sitting down with a group of passionate professionals and creating a vision was not an easy task, but it was worth it! This is something that you will need to sit down with your team and create together!

What Am I Missing Out On?

Don’t be left out, be valued!

So, what are you missing out on by not having a vision for your program? It’s easy, value! People (both educators, students and the community) are drawn towards things that have value. Mobile devices are just pieces of metal, but they bring the value of communication, entertainment and efficiency (if used properly) and that is why they are so popular and in high demand. Pokemon cards are just pieces of printed paper but they bring the value of a competitive edge and fun. If you bring value to your program you will hopefully see a few things change which will help you develop students who have the capacities to be healthy and well for life!

  • Resources
    • Why do core subjects like Math and the Sciences get resources? Because they are valued by the community and they are important. Why are they valued? Because they have a clear purpose and outcome that can easily connect to the community.
  • Support
    • Administration and other professionals will always support what is valued. They often value things that they understand has a purpose and a clear direction on how that purpose is met. When was the last time you fully supported a new initiative that lacked purpose or direction?
  • Engagement
    • Remember that one time you taught a new sport or game but didn’t really establish a clear objective or way of being successful? How was the level of engagement from your students? Probably pretty low. Same goes for a program. You want the school community to be engaged, create a vision they can support and build with you. Build it and they will come…
  • Respect
    • I am not sure about you, but the “Oh you just teach Phys Ed” mentality is frustrating/ infuriating. As professionals we have shown respect to other courses and usually get little in return. By creating something that has a purpose and value, people can begin to respect it.

Your Call to Action

If you have made it to this point in my post, it means that you find value in the points and reasons behind creating a vision for a meaningful Physical Education program. If that is so, then you are in luck! In the coming weeks I will be creating posts that will break down the process of creating your own vision for meaningful development. You could have the skills and understanding to take this back to your team and start crafting this vision for your program!

You might also be interested in having a one-on-one chat about this process and supports you could have in creating your own program vision. You can always contact me and we can see how you can help grow this project with your team!

Until next time, happy teaching!

2 thoughts on “Creating a Vision for Meaningful Development: Why Do We Need One?

  1. Pingback: Creating a Vision for Meaningful Development: Creating a Purpose | Tin Can Physical Education

  2. Pingback: Creating a Vision for Meaningful Development: Feedback and Practice | Tin Can Physical Education

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