On the final afternoon of my family’s recent trip toScotland I had the opportunity to reflect on how much of a success it had beenand how many ‘firsts’ we have achieved. The first time the kids flew, the firsttime the kids and I rode a horse, the first time my son and I built dams on thebeach, the first time my daughter went down a waterslide, the first time my sonclimbed a ten metre climbing wall, and many more. Despite these firsts I’m surethere will be seconds and thirds of most if not all of these activities…butwhy? Because they enjoyed each of them so much! Yet teachers have been ridiculedfor making ‘fun’ and outcome of their lessons. “They [the kids]” we have beentold “are not here [at school] to have fun instead they are here to learn.” Yetare we missing an important trick? Isn’tfun a catalyst for kids doing it again and again? Are the first experiences wegive kids in physical education as memorable and ‘new’ as the experiences mykids had in Scotland? Isn’t that what physical education should be about? Kids wanting to do it again…
Fun in physical education is defiantly important. Fun needs to be targeted to all students in a lesson, creating ways to engage those who don't always enjoy physical education or physical activity. I have certainly found that if the activity/task or method of instruction is something students can relate to or it is something they enjoy, they participate in the lesson, they are engaged and actually learn more when they perceive it as fun. I think the challenge is to keeping lessons fun and engaging. If an activity or task is repeated over and over again the fun element may disappear. I think sites like twitter and this are great to learn new things from other educators that we can try in our lessons. To keep physical education fun I think we need to tap into the students interests, within each individual class, and understand how physical education is relevant to them. What do they enjoy doing? How do they like to learn? and subsequently design lessons which are meaningful and relevant to them.
Challenge + Success = Fun. I think it comes down to planning and making sure that each activity in your lesson has been thought out with progressions that ensure that each student is being challenged to a degree that is appropriate for their skill level.
"Yet teachers have been ridiculed for making ‘fun’ and outcome of their lessons. “They [the kids]” we have been told “are not here [at school] to have fun instead they are here to learn.” A comment we hear often but that when we think about it there is quite a contradiction in there: when you look at most curriculum documents, a broad aim/outcome/objective is to develop skills and ATTITUDES to engage in lifelong participation (or something generally along those lines). To develop a positive attitude, fun/enjoyment (affect) is a critical element (just read some of the attitude lit, especially Silverman & Subramaniam, 1999), so we can justifiably argue that kids ARE there to have fun and enjoy what they are doing. I guess it is how/what we teach to create a sense of fun/enjoyment that is the part in question. Did that make any sense at all?
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