Physical Education Budget Cuts

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Physical activity has shown a decline in the education system starting from elementary school through high school affecting recess, physical education, and after school sports. Not only are the children affected likely to have an increased amount of health problems, but the learning process resulting from the children's inactivity is also being affected. Accompanying the lowered levels of physical activity children are involved in, the pressure of the academic acceleration expectations by their peers has compounded the pressures our children face. This decrease in physical activity is inhibiting the physical outlet necessary for the overall learning process to include learning skills and teamwork capabilities. Research has shown that physical activity is a necessary component in a child's development. In fact, physical activity is a young child's preferred mode of learning (Pica, 2004). Children best understand concepts when they are physically experienced. For example, children need to get high and low, small and large, wide and narrow shapes to truly understand these quantitative concepts. They need to act out simple computation problems, such as demonstrating the nursery rhyme Three Little Monkeys to discover three minus one equals two, to comprehend subtraction. Children have to take on the straight and curving lines of the letters of the alphabet to fully grasp the way in which the letters should be printed (Pica, 2004). Scientists label this kind of hands-on learning implicit, like learning to ride a bike. At the opposite end of the spectrum is explicit learning, like being told the capital of Peru. If one hadn't ridden a bike in five years, would he or she still be able to do it? And if one hadn't heard the capital of Peru for five years, would he or she still remember what it was? Extrinsic learning may be quicker than learning through exploration and discovery, but the latter has greater meaning for children and stays with them longer. There are plenty of reasons for this, but one of them just may be that intrinsic learning creates more neural networks in the brain (Jensen, 2001). Along with intrinsic and extrinsic learning, children's behavior and social skills are a big part of their growth and development. Grade level physical education classes and sports are strong influences in children's lives. Sports and physical fitness can help maintain balance in children's behavior. There are several types of behavior that children can display as they mature throughout the years. Behaviors are influenced by several different areas such as culture, family, religion, media, peers, teachers, and coaches. An example of the influence on behavior from physical activities can be found in the study by Joel M. Hektner (2003) who observed 61 boys and 57 girls ranging in age from 8 to 9 years of age. Hektner found that, "the aggressiveness of a child's immediate playmate (whether friends or not) predicted the degree of inappropriate behavior shown by the child during any given playground interaction" (Hektner, 2003,para. #1). Moderately aggressive children are more likely to adapt their behavior to conform to their social surround and thus become less aggressive with a non-aggressive child. The non-aggressive child, in turn, adapts to whatever level of aggressiveness is shown by the playmate by responding in kind. (Hektner, 2003,para. #1) It is stated that the children who are acquainted are likely to adjust their behavior as they react to each other, eventually finding a stable equilibrium. Working with something called the "buddy system", a study was implemented with children from both aggressive and non-aggressive behaviors while engaged in a foosball game. The specific hypotheses concerned are as follows: 1.When aggressive and non-aggressive children are not buddies, each will influence the other. 2.When aggressive and non-aggressive children are paired in buddy dyads, there will be unidirectional influence from the...
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