Physical education (often abbreviated Phys. Ed. or P.E.) or gymnastics(gym or gym class) is a course taken during primary and secondary educationthat encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting.
Physical education trends have developed recently to incorporate a greater variety of activities. Introducing students to activities like bowling, walking/hiking, or Frisbee at an early age can help students develop good activity habits that will carry over into adulthood. Some teachers have even begun to incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as yoga and deep-breathing. Teaching non-traditional sports to students may also provide the necessary motivation for students to increase their activity, and can help students learn about different cultures. For example, while teaching a unit about lacrosse (in, say, Arizona, USA), students can also learn a little bit about the Native American cultures of the Northeast and Eastern Canada, where lacrosse originated. Teaching non-traditional (or non-native) sports provides a great opportunity to integrate academic concepts from other subjects as well (social studies from the example above), which may now be required of many P.E. teachers. The four aspects of P.E. are physical, mental, social, and emotional. Another trend is the incorporation of Health and Nutrition to the physical education curriculum. The Child Nutrition and WIC Re-authorization Act of 2004 required that all school districts with a federally funded school meal program develop wellness policies that address nutrition and physical activity. While teaching students sports and movement skills, P.E. teachers are now incorporating short health and nutrition lessons into the curriculum. This is more prevalent at the elementary school level, where students do not have a specific Health class. Recently most elementary schools have specific health classes for students as well as physical education class. With the recent outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, school districts are making it mandatory for students to learn about practicing good hygiene along with other health topics. Today many states require Physical Education teachers to be certified to teach Health courses. Many colleges and Universities offer both Physical Education and Health as one certification. This push towards health education is beginning in the intermediate level, including lessons on bullying, self-esteem and stress and anger management. In the USA, the physical education curriculum is designed to allow school pupils a full range of modern opportunities, dozens of sports and hundreds of carefully reviewed drills and exercises, including exposure to the education with the use of pedometer, GPS, and heart rate monitors, as well as state-of-the-art exercise machines in the upper grades. Some martial arts classes, like wrestling in the United States, and Pencak Silat in France, Indonesia and Malaysia, are taught to teach children self-defense and to feel good about themselves. The physical education curriculum is designed to allow students to experience at least a minimum exposure to the following categories of activities: aquatics, conditioning activities, gymnastics, individual/dual sports, team sports, rhythms, and dance. Students are encouraged to continue to explore those activities in which they have a primary interest by effectively managing their community resources. In these areas, a planned sequence of learning experiences is designed to support a progression of student development. This allows kids through 6th grade to be introduced to sports, fitness, and teamwork in order to be better prepared for the middle and high school age. In 1975, the United States House of Representatives voted to require school physical education classes include both genders. Some high school and some middle school PE classes are single-sex. Requiring individuals to participate in physical education activities, such as dodge ball,...
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