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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

VIRTUS Training and Child Abuse Scandals

I was very impressed, surprised, and informed, from the VIRTUS training, but would like to start with the fact that I could not have been more impressed with Sister Harriet.  For a woman that age to be that with it and still command the attention from a room of college students shows what a great principle she must have been during her time at St. Mary's.  I loved how she incorporated her own stories to the already chilling ones portrayed on the video.  The fact that she had stories to back up everything was very telling on how real and important the issue of abuse is in the school system.

As far as the training itself, it really opened my eyes to several topics, some I knew basic information and some that was completely new to me.  As far as spotting child molesters it was great to see what signs I should be looking for and what predators tendencies do.  It was also great that Sister Harriet gave us advice on what to do in these situation when we have suspicion of abuse.  Instead of calling police it would be more beneficial to you to just call the child abuse hot line where you can keep your identity anonymous in case you are wrong.

Another great thing I learned from the training are things to avoid while teaching that could get me in trouble when it is undeserved.  Never going somewhere alone with a child is something obvious that never crossed my mind when thinking of teaching PE.  Not picking up students or tapping them on the head are two more pieces of strong advice that we were given and this is simply to avoid injury that may result in a lawsuit that is ever so popular in today's world.

Besides getting certified in order to work with the children of St Mary's, it is important to discuss the topic of child abuse.  With scandals coming out in large universities such as Penn State University and Syracuse University, it is a growing problem since those abused often do not tell anyone until later in life.  As PE teachers and educators in general we have a duty to protect all children from an earth shattering and life altering situation that could be easily avoided with a keen eye.  It is safe to say that the world is not perfect, and there are people out there that will attempt to hurt kids.  If we can stop them before it happens it may save many more lives than we realize.  On behalf of the class I want to thank Sister Harriet for her time and a great presentation.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lab 1: A "Special" Reflection

My first lab caught me a bit off guard.  For one, none of my fellow group members could make it, so it was just me and our lab assistant Matt.  I was then expecting to work in some way with the kids right away, however, this was not the case.  Matt and I were assigned to the "Special Projects" group of the lab in which we were assigned the task of creating a video, as well as a step by step word document with pictures, on how to properly hook up and disassemble the music equipment.  Usually the special projects group also performs the closing song with all the kids, but it being the first day we were told that that was already being done by someone else.  Instead, took pictures of my fellow classmates working and interacting with the students for the rest of the class.  At first I was kid of bummed I would not be gaining any teacher experience first hand, but I quickly came to the realization that this can be just as important.  

A malfunction in the classroom can go a long way in disrupting and losing your class.  While the class sits and waits for you to figure out what is wrong with the music that is essential to your lesson plan, they become anxious, less obedient, and often quite rambunctious.  This has happened many a time while I have been a student and its not as thought the children are being restless and loud to be deviant, they simply are bursting with energy and want a chance to run around for what is likely the only time throughout the day. So doing things such as having step by step directions or an instructional video ready and available to fellow classmates, or colleagues in the future is a great way to assure things run quickly and smoothly so the fun can begin for your class. 

While taking pictures of my classmates working with the students it gave me a good idea of what works and does not work when trying to instruct students.  Seeing others succeed, or fail at first and adapt to the students was very beneficial and offered me a lot of information on how to be successful when it is my turn to teach.  It was clear to see that the younger the students are, the shorter their attention span is so short, concise instructions are key when explaining games.  It was also clear that pre-K students can not handle a full version of the cotton-eyed-Joe dance, but a simpler version would be very fun for them.

All in all it was a great first experience to lab.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Affective Growth

Through the concept of, "learning through the physical," children can develop cognitively and experience affective growth through effective physical education.  Affective growth is learning that increases the ability of children to act, interact, and react effectively with other people as well as with themselves.  Many things can impact a child's affective growth both in and out of school.  Parents, culture, and the school itself are major contributors in whether a child develops well or not.  Affective growth also has a lot to do with self-esteem, and the ability in the child to say "I can" vs "I can't."  If the physical education setting is set up so the child can progress in skills and develop confidence in the activity, they are likely to carry this confidence and use it as motivation in other aspects of their life.  Self-esteem is a huge part of children's lives and development with positive social interaction with other students raise their self esteem, again allowing confidence to pour over in different aspects of the child's life.  Affective growth through physical education and physical activity allows the student to have a positive self concept about themselves, where as some might not get it anywhere else.  Being on a team or doing something productive allows the student to feel worthiness and gives them a sense of belonging.  Positive socialization is also an important part in affective growth in that participation in physical education and/or sports implement a sense of pride and responsibility in oneself and the team.  Sports and physical education also provide the valuable lesson of character education in respecting rules, teammates, officials and themselves.

Learning through the Physical

When the term "learning through the physical," is used, or, "learning through movement," the basis behind the two are the same.  They both indicate that physical education does not just positively effect you muscles and rest of your body.  While physical education and physical activity obviously are advantageous to keeping fit and staying healthy, the purpose of physical education is based on the fact if it is used effectively, it can influence both the cognitive and social-emotional development in children.  This is something that many use to argue for daily physical education in schools, and one that is very hard to argue with.  With giving kids a chance to run around for even just a half hour or so a day, it stimulates aspects of the brain that will help them in a more rigid class setting such as math or social studies, when their mind might otherwise wander.  Phys-ed also gives them a chance to interact with others, both classmates and teachers, building friendships and teaching them how respect in relationships work with other people at a young age, continuing this throughout their schooling.  Learning these values at a young age and growing as a person and intellectually without even realizing it is one of the best things about the concept, "learning through the physical."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First Class

Our first class was pretty basic.  Dr. Yang walked us though our syllabus and gave us the breakdown on what we should expect moving forward.  With a very much technology based class it is important to go into it with an open mind, not with a "I am horrible" at technology attitude.  In regards to helping out at St. Mary's Dr Yang let us know what he expects of us as well as rules to follow for the first few days an in general.  After this he explained what we will be doing next week. 

So far I think blogging is pretty exciting.  I like being able to publish my thoughts in a setting suitable for others to view at their leisure and inquiry.  As a future educator I could not be more exited.  To change the life of a child or young adult for the better simply by interacting and being a role model is a dream.  Many PE teachers I have had have done just that, so it would be great to pay it forward.  It is also exciting to think that it is professionals like me that can help combat the obesity epidemic across our country.  Many people diminish the PE profession but those educated in what PE is really all about know the truth: we are the future, and we are very important.

How I Became Better Over Break

Up until now I have never blogged before.  I am a huge sports fan so I have read many, from famous columnists and what not, but have never had the reason to write one myself.  I'm excited to do so, however, because blogs are a great informal way to convey information to friends, family, and peers. 

Over break I did a few things to better myself as a PE teacher.  One was working with kids in the middle school in the basketball setting.  I am getting more and more comfortable in this age group as I coach the same ages in baseball in the summer.  While I did not coach this break, I had a chance to observe the coaching of a friend of the same kids I had my hands full within baseball. I picked up on many tips to be more effective and I am excited for the baseball season to come.