Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Character Education

Character Education programs are mandated in about forty of the states in the US. According to our textbook “Teachers, Schools, and Society”, these character education programs focus on teaching students the characteristics of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. I believe that physical education class is a perfect place for these morals to be taught to students.
            In a regular classroom setting, these values can be taught through discovery in literature or history. But teaching these values in a physical education setting is a little bit different. I believe that one of the best ways to teach character education in physical education is during project adventure and orienteering experiences. These units may involve the students doing high or low ropes course, rock wall climbing, trust falls, and group cooperation activities. The skills that are taught in character education programs are part of the affective domain. In my opinion many physical education programs do not touch enough up this domain and thus character education is a great way to integrate characteristics such as trustworthiness and respect into physical education.
            In PED 434, Statistics in Sports and Physical Education, we learned how to integrate the affective domain into physical education. In order to assess students on a characteristic such as respect, the teacher needs to be able to see and to hear respect. In other words, teachers need something objective to assess. For example, it is not good enough for a teacher to simply say that a student showed respect for participation points that day. They need to justify the fact that the student showed respect by saying the student worked cooperatively with a group in a project adventure activity and listened to what classmates had to say as well as offered his/her own ideas.
            I believe that character education is something that is developed throughout life. Most children are taught from young age to play fair and to show characteristics such as respect and kindness. As I have gone through my journey in life thus far, I know that it is easier to show these characteristics in certain situations more than in other situations. Life is a journey about truly finding out who you are and what your purpose is in life. I believe that character education really aids in this self-discovery.

Multicultural Education and Glee

Glee has been one of my favorite television shows since it first aired about 3 years ago. There are so many storylines that intermingle and deal with real-life issues that many teens face today. The characters in the show are growing up in a rural town in Ohio and this season had followed the students through their journey of their senior year of high school and choosing a path to take in life and where to go to college. The number of issues that arise in the television show is never ending, from LGBT issues, to teen pregnancy, to interracial dating to diabilities.
            One of the stars of Glee, Kurt, is gay. He is extremely lucky to have a father who cares so much about him and loves him exactly the way he is. Yet in school he is bullied quite a bit by one of the football players. The biggest irony of the situation is that the football player is actually gay as well, but has not come out yet and is covering up his own homosexuality by bullying Kurt. He uses both physical and verbal bullying towards Kurt, and even forces Kurt to transfer schools. Kurt portrays himself as a very put-together and confident individual at most times. He has a very unique sense of fashion and is not afraid to flaunt it. But there have also seen times that he has had complete break-downs on the show. For example, last season Kurt was voted as the Prom Queen by his entire school as a joke. But it was not really a joke and was a form of bullying. I would say that Kurt has found a group that he identifies with and feels comfortable around which is the Glee Club. When he is around his friends he acts like himself. Kurt is also fortunate enough that his teacher Mr. Shoe is so supportive of him and is always there for him.
            Another one of the major characters in the show Glee is Artie. Artie is paralyzed from the waist down and thus in a wheelchair. His greatest wish is to walk again one day, even though the probability of that ever happening is very slim. Glee is a club that choreographs different songs and dances into musical numbers. Because Artie is in a wheelchair, he is not able to dance. But this does not stop him from moving. He is always incorporated into the various musical numbers and does and amazing job moving in his wheelchair. He has one of the best voices of all of the males in the club and shines as an integral part of the team. In terms of bullying, Artie does face bullying for being in a wheelchair as well as for wearing glasses. But I really admire Artie because he does not seem to very phased by the acts of bullying by others towards the Glee club. I can only recall one instance in which Artie lost his temper, and it was not as a result of himself being bullied but rather because one of the other characters in the show Blaine was being bullied.
            Our textbook talked about James Banks and his approach to multicultural education. He believed that in order for groups of people to understand one another and have positive attitudes towards those who are different than themselves, that diverse groups need to be integrated with one another. This method of multicultural integration is very apparent in the Glee club as the club is composed on many different teens who all have their own issues. But the Glee club is like a family and I believe that the reason for this is that they all have a positive attitude towards one another. They are all there for each other in times of need and despite their differences, they can always count on another.

Bullying and The "It Gets Better" Campaign

According to recent statistics, every day many kids experience acts of bullying in schools. These aggressive behaviors often cause social rejection to others, as well as a plethora of different personal effects. The word bully can be defined as a person who is cruel to another, and the act of bullying may take many forms. In recent years, a term know as “cyber-bullying” has also become more common. While traditional bullying requires face-to face contact between the bully and the person being attacked, cyber- bullying uses technology rather than direct contact.
Cyber-bullying is a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly popular. This type of bullying is done entirely through the use of technology, whether it is through the computer or through the use of cell phones. When used improperly, technology has a negative effect on the youth today. Children and teens are saying very hurtful things to one another through technology and this is having very negative effects. Some of the negative effects that have been correlated to cyber-bullying include depression, anxiety, and even suicide in some extreme situations.
The website “It Gets Better” is full of videos posted by people across the country that address the issue of bullying towards people of the LGBT population. These videos are posted by normal every-day people, famous celebrities, and even big companies such as Disney, PIXAR, and Apple. But the messages that the videos send are very similar: no one should be bullied for who they are or who they chose to love. Every person deserves the same love and kindness, no matter their sexual orientation. The videos on this website offer anyone of this LGBT community a friend and also show people of this community that they are definitely not alone. For example, in one of the videos that I watched, a man of about middle-age told his story. He was originally married to a woman and had two children with this women. But he knew inside that he was living a lie and today he is divorced and has a male partner. He offers his personal email address during his video for anyone who just needs a friend. Each and every one of the videos that I watched was very heart-warming. Many of the videos were made after many teens took their own lives after being taunted and bullied for being LGBT. The videos give hope that “it gets better”. It is truly amazing how the LGBT community is so close net and they lean on one another for support.
 One day when I am a physical education teacher, I hope to be a person who my students will be able to confide in. I will have to get my students to realize that although I am their teacher, I am also a friend who is there to listen to them in times of need. I work at a summer camp with young children over the summer. Part of our staff summer training was a bullying seminar where we learned how to deal with bullying with our campers and I know that I will be able to use what I learned here as a physical education teacher. The issue of bullying is not one that can be ignored and it must be dealt with immediately. There need to be consequences for bullies and they must know that taunting and acts of hatred towards others will not be tolerated.

What does diversity mean to me?

Diversity is a broad term that encompasses a variety of meanings. I believe that diversity is important in many aspects of life, especially in education. One interpretation of diversity is ethnic. This involves the different cultures across the globe which are all unique and make the world a diverse place. Without diversity, our world would be a very boring place because everyone would be the same.
            Diversity can also be explained in the educational setting. It does not only include ones racial background and their heritage, but also includes ones learning style in the classroom. There are many different types of learners including visual, auditory, and bodily kinesthetic. Thus as a future physical educator it is important that I recognize all of the diverse styles of learning so I can reach out to my students and give them a worth-while experience in physical education. I think that this past semester working with the kindergartener through third graders at the Cortland Christian Academy showed me how diverse learning really is. It was easy to see that not all of the students learned the same way. I found out that visual aids are extremely important. Some students really liked the visual aids with cues on them, while others preferred to stand up and go through the steps of the skills as we were demonstrating. I think that a good physical educator is one that finds ways to reach out to all students.
            Physical activity and sports can be defined as the way a person expresses themselves physically and/or athletically. Artistic and performing arts are related to physical activity and sports because they are another way that one can express him/herself. One way that the arts are taught in physical education is through dance. There are many, many different forms of dance that range from the traditional folk dances from around the world to the use of exergaming technology for dance.
            Some teachers are fortunate enough to have exergames such as Dance Central, Just Dance and DDR in the schools they teach in. These games are an excellent way to work on fitness while having a blast at the same time. They are a great way to meet the needs of all diverse learners because the games include several different levels. Students get to decide individually how much they want to challenge themselves. I personally believe that students really take a lot out of their experience of using exergaming equipment. Every time that I have played wii dance or iDance I have such a great time and end up so sweaty without realizing how much physical activity I am actually doing. Thus I believe that using these different dance exergaming systems gives students an opportunity to express themselves artistically as well as get a great amount of MVPA in.