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Michigan Elementary Classroom Teachers now Qualified to Teach Physical Education.

Updated on April 24, 2011

Say it isn't so!

Upon doing a little research in the area of Physical Education in public schools, mainly here in Michigan, I have come across something that I just cannot believe. Apparently, the state of Michigan has made it official that any elementary school teacher is now able to instruct in all areas in a K-5 setting. This will allow them to not only teach in the core areas or content areas in the classroom, but also teach Physical Education, Art, and Music. Please tell me someone is looking into this and making an argument that the Fine Arts, at any level in our public schools, needs to be taught by a certified instructor that has training in those specific areas and some kind of knowledge in that field. I guess I'm confused as to what "highly qualified" really means. The only way to really attack this issue is to ask some basic Physical Education questions to any elementary teacher out there who thinks they could, without any college level classes, instruct an elementary PE class. Now before I go any further I want to make this point very clear...elementary teachers have the hardest job in education. Far more hands-on instruction than any other level of teaching. They must teach in ALL core areas - Math, English, Science and Social Studies, have limited prep time, deal with children that in many cases have no concept of how to behave in a school setting, and in many cases become that child's parent. My point is - are they qualified enough to teach PE?

The Questions...

Question 1: What is the basic concepts that should be taught to early elementary students, let's say K-2?

Question 2: There are 3 types of Fundamental Motor Skills students need to learn - what are they?

Question 3: Can you define what a locative is?

Question 4: Can you list the 6 different directions that should be taught?

Question 5: Can you define what manipulatives are in regards to Physical Education.

If classroom elementary teachers can answer these questions then I guess they are truly capable of teaching elementary PE! The bad thing is some Physical Education Instructor's may not even be able to answer these questions.

The truth is most Physical Education curriculum's need to be completely revamped. The above questions all have answers to them that a majority of PE curriculum's do not include in their plans. Why would the government pass that elementary teacher's can teach PE, because most of the current PE curriculum's in Michigan show that anyone can teach that particular concept. It's time for a change! There are some significant skills a small child can learn through Physical Education and these skills need to be delivered by someone who is "highly qualified" to do so. Someone who has gone to college, done all the hard work to obtain that particular degree and received their certification. It shouldn't be given to someone just because the curriculum looks easy and anyone could do it....CHANGE THE CURRICULUM not the position!

Oh you may be saying...ok..ok..but what are the answers to the questions - LOL - Here they are:

Question 1: MOVEMENT CONCEPTS - Self Space, General Space, Directions, Pathways, Tempo, Force & Flow, and Fundamental Motor Skills. (Young children have not been taught these concepts at ages 4,5,6 and 7).

Question 2: (1) Non-Locomotor skills i.e. swing, push, sway, rock, balance, pull. (2,) Locomotor skills i.e. walk, run, hop, jump, leap, skip, slide, gallop. (3) Manipulatives - movements with equipment i.e. kick, strike, bounce, roll, throw, catch

Question 3: A locative is a location in space i.e. in, out, bottom, under, over, around, through, front, back, beside.

Question 4: Six different directions include, forwards, backwards, sidewards, diagonal, up and down.

Question 5: Manipulatives are movements that require the use of equipment. How to kick a ball, how to throw a ball, how to roll a ball, how to catch a ball.

One other point I want to mention, and it may be the most significant point in this article,when you deliver anything to any student at any level it needs to be delivered with the idea that the learner will have a high rate of success.  Think about it...anything you have done...if you were not successful at it chances are you quit.  Now with adults that's a little different due to the fact that you have learned to overcome adversity and constraints.  You believe in yourself (self-esteem) and know you can do anything (self-worth).  This is not the case yet with little kids - they haven't developed these skills yet.  What better place to start developing their self-esteem than in a setting where it may look difficult, but with the right instruction they are successful, therefore, raising their self-esteem.  This is why only educators with the appropriate education should teach Physical Education.


How did you do on the above questions about Physical Education

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Can I cite you?

    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Ruby! I have actually talked with numerous teachers on this issue and they state that the teacher representatives and the teacher union are fighting really hard to get this over-turned. So we will see!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      7 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Great article, great win on the contest, great questions, thanks for the answers. Lets find a way to get those good trained teachers in.

    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Stephanie and Thanks! You're exactly right about teachers being "spread so thin". Most of the elementary teachers I've talked to say they really don't want to teach in the fine arts areas due to their inexperience, plus they have enough on their plate with the core areas.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      7 years ago from USA

      Welcome to HubPages, Tshort, and congratulations on your win! I enjoyed reading your hub. Elementary teachers (any teachers!)have a tough enough job, and it concerns me that teachers are spread so thin that they are expected to teach things like art and phys ed without specific training.

    • Tamila Roberts profile image

      Tamila Roberts 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Yea, that is how I noticed your profile. Really though you either needed some grow taller help or your hub was about my topic :)

    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for your comments Tamila! Just looked at your profile and how ironic that your HUBS are based on "How to grow taller" with my user name being "TShort". LOL!

    • Tamila Roberts profile image

      Tamila Roberts 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the nice hub very interesting! I have to tried to do those exercises and my shape isn't what it used to be. Great tips about physical education.

    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      Hey K9

      Thanks for the comment & the welcome!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      7 years ago from Northern, California

      Interesting information tshort23. Congrats on your daily drawing win today! Oh, and of course welcome to HubPages!


    • tshort23 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Michigan

      WOW Thanks Simone! I've been a member of Hubpages for about 5 days now and I absolutely love it! Thanks for your comments on the article, and it means a lot to know that people are actually reading and appreciating my thoughts and ideas.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      It's true- I really think that specially trained PE teachers are ideal. Good Hub! And by the by, congrats! This Hub won the Daily Drawing prize for Day 21 of the So You Think You Can Write Online contest!


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