Finding their Swish!
I’ve been reflecting since the SHAPE America Convention on a speech I did at the Majors of the Year ceremony. I emphasized the role of the teacher in the success of every student in Physical Education. I also made a very bold statement. I said “No one ever said that PE had to look like Athletics”. Our standards don’t read “Kid will learn basketball. Kid will play soccer.” We have standards that affirm for students that they BELONG in PE regardless of confidence or skill. How does that look? If a student is struggling to serve over the net- move them up, lower the net or change out the object they are striking. We want students to internalize the joy of physical activity and to do that they must feel a level of personal success.
I call this: Finding their SWISH. When I was in high school, I loved basketball. I loved to shoot the basket and hear nothing but the sound the net made when the ball went through it. The SWISH. It wasn’t that I was scoring a point; it was about what was happening inside of me. I felt like the MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE!!! I felt proud. I felt excited. I felt a level of accomplishment! I felt motivated. It’s like what a golfer says after a frustrating round. “There’s always that one shot that keeps you coming back.”
I want every student in physical education to experience these feelings. They deserve a positive, supportive and affirming environment. An environment where their teacher and their peers lift them up in every way regardless of their skill level. Incorporating personal and social responsibility as part of a comprehensive approach to physical education is essential in setting children up for age-appropriate success. Every child deserves to find their SWISH.
When I was a Supervisor, I had the fortune of working with my staff on 2 grant projects. After securing $2.74 million dollars (thank you, thank you), we pondered important questions about the direction we wanted to take physical education. So, we did what any thoughtful set of caring adults would do: we asked our students. I polled 1,600 students at the high school level for 5 straight years in a row. What do you most want to do? What do you hate? The same activities came to the top of the list each year and the same dropped to the bottom.
We want badminton, table tennis and Project Adventure. We don’t want softball, soccer or football.
Why? “Because the object is slower, it’s more social, I can play with friends, I can do this at home”.
Why not softball, soccer or football? “I don’t want to be responsible for my team losing, I don’t want to embarrass myself, I don’t want to make a mistake in front of my peers”
If we ask our students- they will take us exactly where they need us to go. Amplify their voice and help them find their SWISH.
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Pair this blog post with the following:
Meeting Them (Almost) Where They’re At by Michelle Ireland
Opening My Eyes by Megaera Regan
How Legends Are Made by Heather Burd
Have you read the latest Book of the Month recommendation?
6 thoughts on “Finding Their Swish”
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