My Role as an HPE Instructor
In my professional practice, I integrate practice and ethical standards to meet the requirements set by the Ontario College of Teachers and provide students with the most effective teaching. In my opinion, teachers should always strive to improve their professionalism to respond to modern social changes appropriately. With the growing challenges in the field of healthcare, which is largely caused by sedentary lifestyles and insufficient physical activity, the education of children becomes critical.
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I am highly committed to students and their learning and I treat them with respect and care (“Ethical Standards”). The professional practice standard is realized in my performance through proper evaluation and monitoring of students’ successes and failures. The dialogue created between me as a Health and Physical Education (HPE) instructor allows building communication by using inquiry and reflection. I am open to any questions regarding physical education (PE) and I willingly help kids with their difficulties.
The standard of leadership in a learning community is also implemented in my practice since I promote collaboration among students and teachers. In this connection, integrity is put at the core of the interaction with students, which is rather important for educating future citizens for the Canadian society who would contribute to its development and prosperity (“Standards of Practice”).
Most importantly, I consider that ongoing professional learning standard is the most significant standards as it empowers me as an instructor to enhance my knowledge and skills and adjust them to changing student needs. The continuous translation of theoretical data into practical instructions helps me to engage children in physical education, making it more exciting for them (“Professional Learning Framework”).
In my point of view, care and trust are also present in my professional practice, which is expressed in transparency, honesty, and sincere interest in developing student potential. Even though all the standards are reflected in my practice, I would like to improve leadership and ongoing professional learning to become a more competent instructor.
|Grade||Strand||Overall Expectation (Objectives)|
|1||Active living |
|Vigorous participation in various learning activities, physical fitness, safe behaviors |
Awareness of movement concepts and skills and the use of strategies to engage in activities
Knowing and using factors that promote healthy development, understanding the link between well-being and health
|2||Active living |
|Regular and active participation in activities, understanding of their importance, shoe personal responsibility for the safety |
Awareness of basic skills and components, appropriate implementation of movement strategies
Application of health knowledge, understanding how their behaviors impact others
|3||Active living |
|Demonstrate responsibility for others, practice regular activity and understand its value |
Understand and use body parts and locomotive movements, awareness of various moving skills
Nutritional value awareness, safe relationships
|4||Active living |
|Show the ability to improve their skills to interact with others |
Perform balances and combinations of locomotor movements
Identify nutrients and risks related to communications technology
|5||Active living |
|Engage in more complex physical activity and games |
Uses various balance means to control movements, understands components of physical activity
Identify people, aware of substance abuse, explains how to assess nutritional facts
|6||Active living |
|The participation in activities correspond to their capabilities |
Movements are varied, understanding of the basic components of activities
Human development and sexual health basics
|7||Active living |
|Identification of factors that impact personal engagement and health |
Phases and movement, categories of physical activity
Detailed understanding of health risks, healthy food choices, personal analysis concerning substance abuse
|8||Active living |
|Awareness of factors that motivate personal engagement in physical activity and their adjustment |
Understand how movements are integrated into activities
Personal safety is clear, evaluation of personal eating, identification of substance abuse signs
Table 1. Curricular strands by grades (“The Ontario Curriculum”).
The healthy living strand seems to be the most interesting as it includes a wide range of objectives that are relevant to modern life. The living skills strand involves personal, critical, creative thinking, and interpersonal skills, which are similar for all grades and develop as they are integrated into other strands. The differences may be noted in the expectations regarding movement competence that shows significant progress in how kids perceive, practice, and evaluate their physical activity.
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The layout of the Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education is clear and properly structured: it is easy for instructors to find the required strand and identify whether they meet them or not. Among the areas I am prepared to teach, there are active leaving and movement competence – I have sufficient knowledge and skills in explaining these topics. However, I need more resources to elaborate on the preparation of living skills and healthy living lessons. Namely, I need to learn more about substance abuse, risk assessment, and nutrition teaching, depending on a certain grade.
Challenges in the HPE Primary Classroom
Physical Education Status
One of the key challenges encountered by many instructors is that little attention is paid to PE, and it is perceived as a supplementary lesson only. In fact, in the context of the rapidly increasing child overweight and obesity, it is critical to consider PE as a part of the national initiative to combat these chronic conditions. It is important to improve awareness of teachers, students, and their parents regarding the role of PE in child development, especially in comparison to other subjects. With the improvement of the current situation, one may anticipate that children would be more engaged in various activities.
The schedule is another essential challenge that exists in many primary education settings. As a rule, in my school, PE lessons are allocated in the week 2-3 times. For 1-3 grades, it is usually insufficient since they have a lot of energy that should be spent so that they can concentrate on their other subjects. More to the point, the situation is complicated by the fact that PE lessons may be put between two subjects, which makes it difficult for kids to prepare for lessons on time. It would be better if PE were the last lesson since children may change their clothes and go home after activities.
Equity issues may be ignored by some teachers and children, and it is critical to take them into account while designing an HPE program. For example, gender and disability are two main points that may be associated with inclusion during PE lessons. Sometimes, boys state that they will not play with girls due to their gender, and girls may feel rejected. One more situation refers to children with a disability who may experience social repulsion and loneliness as their classmates prefer not to call them while performing one or another activity. Therefore, inclusion should be given a top priority so that all children regardless of their gender, abilities, and other factors may enjoy participation in PE and cooperation with others.
Commentary on a Colleague’s Post
Lauren, your post is thought-provoking as it presents rather important challenges that require public attention. Indeed, even though the media and the government propose an essential role in health education, curriculum challenges are still evident. One should agree with your argument that many parents behave as experts in PE, and it may be difficult to explain to them what is better for their child (“Individual Education Plans”). At the same time, time allocated to PE is not enough to realize the potential of children and correctly direct their energy. It seems that the problem of injuries is age-related, and it should be remembered while allocating time for PE lessons.
The Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA) provides a wide range of teaching tools, of which the following three seems to the most suitable for meeting expectations regarding active leaving strand: checklist, gallery walk, and participation assessment target (Appendices 1-3 provided as separate files). The first Recordable Assessment Tool is a teacher resource that includes success criteria and simple division between two categories: got it and still working on it (“Recordable Assessment Charts”).
This tool is useful to monitor student progress and pay more attention to those who have difficulties in mastering their skills. The recordable learning tool titled Gallery Walk is a student resource that offers the opportunity to track various situations and answer related questions. In its turn, Self and Peer Participation Assessment Target is beneficial for encouraging students to evaluate their performance and that of others. These tools are consistent with grades 4-6 expectations associated with the active leaving strand in promoting the active participation of children and the improvement of their capabilities to interact with peers.
Reflecting on Challenges
The review of the assignments completed in the course of the first module shows that teaching HPE may be a challenging task. Awareness of students, teachers, and parents of the significance of PE in developing children seems to be the most critical issue. Consistent with Lai et al., I consider that the area of PE in primary schools is not yet studied sufficiently, and further research should reveal any difficulties instructions face in their practice (77).
I anticipate that I would meet schedule challenges, health curriculum issues, and the attitudes of children towards engaging in physical education. Therefore, I should be prepared to address the identified difficulties through improving my knowledge, consulting with colleagues, and gaining more experience in working as a PHE instructor.
To meet the mentioned challenges, I will ensure that I develop professionally: for example, I will visit academic conferences and review recent articles. It is likely to help me in remaining aware of the latest trends in PHE teaching and adjusting my lessons towards new recommendations. Besides, I plan to learn from my own experience by observing children’s behaviors when they listen to and engage in activities.
I agree with Hills et al. who emphasize that PE instructors should act as behavior change and health literacy facilitators (370). We should encourage both parents and students to involve in school lessons of PE. Ultimately, school principals and official organizations should be reached to reconsider timetable and curriculum challenges.
“Ethical Standards.” Ontario College of Teachers, n.d. Web.
Hills, Andrew P., Donald R. Dengel, and David R. Lubans. “Supporting Public Health Priorities: Recommendations for Physical Education and Physical Activity Promotion in Schools.” Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, vol. 57, no. 4, 2015, pp. 368-374.
“Individual Education Plans.” OAFCCD, 2000. Web.
Lai, Samuel K., et al. “Do School-Based Interventions Focusing on Physical Activity, Fitness, or Fundamental Movement Skill Competency Produce a Sustained Impact in These Outcomes in Children and Adolescents? A Systematic Review of Follow-Up Studies.” Sports Medicine, vol. 44, no. 1, 2014, pp. 67-79.
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“The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education, 2015.” OAITH, 2015. Web.
“Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession.” Ontario College of Teachers. 2016. Web.
“Recordable Assessment Charts.” OPHEA, n.d. Web.
“Standards of Practice.” Ontario College of Teachers, n.d. Web.