Beyond “Fun”: The Real Need in Physical Education
Keywords:engagement, physical activity
As obesity rates and physical inactivity levels continue to rise among American youth, the need for quality physical education programs is more important than ever. However, to many observers, physical education is a hindrance to academic time and a subject that does not bring value to the educational system. It is imperative for physical educators to advocate for and substantiate the true importance of the discipline. Children of today’s generation have limited experiences being in a physically demanding environment, but have many opportunities, especially through technology, to be in a “fun” environment; thus, there is a push for physical education and physical activity overall to be fun. However, children who are not physically challenged do not develop the mental fortitude to persevere and succeed in physically demanding activities and many other aspects of life in general. The physical education classroom is an ideal setting to foster a challenging and engaging environment that can help develop the skills, knowledge, fitness, mental resiliency, and self-confidence to succeed and continue in physical activity and fitness enhancement. Maintaining a sole focus of fun in physical education will not bring on the behavioral change desired for lifetime activity and fitness, because the skills needed for such endeavors will not be thoroughly established. The purpose of this article is to jump-start a crucial conversation among academicians about the importance of presenting challenging and engaging educational environments that align with the educational groundwork that has shaped the physical education field. Through a demanding and rigorous physical education curriculum, students will better develop the required skills and confidence to continue in lifetime activity and fitness, and fun will be a lasting by-product.
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