Tue | Aug 22, 2017

The nature and meaning of physical education

Published:Tuesday | September 15, 2015 | 9:00 AM

To define physical education, we need to say that it is an educational process that aims to improve human development and performance through physical activity. It tends to take place at school through formal lessons, but it also includes informal activity such as play.

Physical education is a process of learning, the context being mainly physical. The purpose of this process is to develop specific knowledge, skills, and understanding and to promote physical competence.

Different sporting activities can and do contribute to this learning process, and the learning process enables participation in sports. The focus, however, is on the child and his or her development of physical competence rather than the activity.

Physical education has a holistic view within a societal context that identifies the interdependence of personal health with societal health and environmental health.

On an individual level, physical education is an agent for health and wellness that can promote personal responsibility and control for active lifestyles. However, equally as important, physical education focuses students' attention on understanding the problems of the social environment that may inhibit them and others from pursuing active lifestyles.

Physical education contributes to individual wellness through the innate 'experience of the moment' and is reinforced on a daily basis through the knowledge, skills, and feelings of enhanced self-esteem and wellness that develop over time.

Physical education is an area in which physical activity is valued and integrated into daily living. It is anchored in three fundamental axioms that lead to these guiding principles:

Individual: It recognises that people are active for all sorts of reasons - work, play, challenge and achievement, health and personal development, contemplation and relaxation, creative and cultural expression, and social interaction.

Social: It focuses on the individual, but it also recognises that social norms and values, available resources, influential learners, and other factors affect our choices and opportunities for participation. Our choices, in turn, affect these factors.

Inclusive: It provides essential ways to express who we are as individuals or groups. It is a right of all, regardless of ability, age, gender, race, ethnic background, religion, socio-economic status, or educational achievement.

Importance of

physical education

The importance of physical education and physical activity in our society is encouraged by a number of guiding principles entrenched in active living such as:

1. Promotes a way of life in which physical activity is

valued, enjoyed, and integrated into daily life.

2. Promotes the principle of individual choice by responding to learners' individual needs, interests, and circumstances.

3. Provides a unique contribution to lifelong development of all learners, enhancing their physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

4. Facilitates learning processes, which encourage critical thinking, thereby affecting the learners'

personal wellness and the well-being of society.

5. Nurtures individual self-reflection and consciousness, which preserves human rights and the development of supportive and sustainable environments.

Physical education on a daily basis establishes the foundations for active living by providing experiences, which enhance the learner's knowledge, attitudes, and skills towards a wellness lifestyle. Physical education as a medium for active living in a school setting engages the whole person in the following ways:

Physically - through high-level participation in appropriately selected activities.

Mentally - through concentration and intensity while learning new concepts and skills.

Emotionally - through the confidence that comes from enjoying established skills.

Socially - through associating with others.

Spiritually - through satisfaction, contentment, and a sense of inner peace.

NEXT WEEKS' TOPIC: The nature and meaning of sports.

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