Professional Development,  Research

Physical Literacy – continually evolving lifetime

Physical Literacy is a term that has bounced onto the scene but with so many other terms or focus points in our society – it can be challenging to decide what PL is and how we might define it within our communities and contexts. This article suggests that Physical Literacy has been adopted into the Physical Education curriculum under a Health-focus or policy bias. The different educational curriculum in different countries has used the term Physical Literacy to then create checklists that focus on fundamental movements, skills or activities but may then be excluding other criteria or discussion about how to create Physically Literate members of our community.

(Jurbala, 2015 sited in this article) maybe seen as a lifelong journey that “extends beyond formally organised competitive sports and physical education.” The lovely idea here is not that we have a checklist of skills or standards that each person needs to reach but that we continually evolve through/with/in movement over our lives – from young people through to older age.

As practitioners of PE (and coaches) there must be an end-goal in mind as we teach our students and then see them move onto the next year or season – what is it? This article suggests that we should be looking at the long-term goal – that we want our students to become self-regulated, that we want them to want to go and move without need for an external stimulus (coach, teacher) and to be motivated by the process of movement and learning through that movement. This process will be unique for each individual across their lifetime based on the constraints that they come across in their Physical Literacy journey.

Individual are unique – we have so many (physical, social, cognitive, environmental, finanical, perceptual, mental) constraints that change as we move through our lifetimes.

I ponder how we might consider our Physical Education curriculum in a way that ties closely to the place that our school/s are situated and the environments that we live within. If we live in a place that has seasonal opportunities, how might we include those in our curriculum to ensure that our students are able to be active throughout winter months? How might we use the community resources to help our PE programs? If we live near a body of water, how do we make sure that students have access to water and life-saving lessons and swimming? If we can ride our bicycles and this fits in with our community and culture – how might we leverage that in our spaces? How might we take our opportunities further than just the walls of our gymnasiums and promote movement activities beyond our programs? Who might we partner with to help foster this Physical Literacy as an evolving state? There is lot to ponder here.

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