PETE Faculty Present Innovative Work at National Conference
Every three years, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education sponsors a conference considered the “premiere professional development and networking event for university [physical education teacher education] faculty.” At the 2009 conference MSE faculty delivered three presentations highlighting some of BYU’s most innovative work in the field.
Program director Carol Wilkinson, with professors Todd Pennington and Keven Prusak, gave a presentation on two new classes in BYU’s PETE program. These classes, K-12 Healthy & Active Lifestyle Management and Advocacy in Physical Education, educate teacher candidates about promoting healthy lifestyles.
In the lifestyle management class taught by Prusak, students learn how to measure their own health based on what they eat and how much they exercise. Then they learn how to determine what more they need to do in order to fully enjoy the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. Finally they learn the pedagogy appropriate for the ages they will one day teach. Advocacy teacher Todd Pennington explained that by learning to incorporate these skills into their own life first, students will be more understanding and empathetic teachers.
Assignments in the advocacy class are designed to instruct teacher candidates how to be effective advocates for healthy lifestyles in their schools and communities. For example, Pennington asks his students to create a 60-second public service announcement and tailor it to six different audiences, such as teachers or parents. He also asks them to develop a 10-minute “sales pitch” they could deliver to parents at a parent-teacher conference. “A parent-teacher conference is a teacher’s chance to take advantage of a captive audience and create support for what the teacher is doing; in this case, trying to persuade students to live a healthy lifestyle,” Pennington said.
Traditional PE classes have predominantly focused on teaching motor skills, which has not resulted in a healthy and active adult population. With obesity now one of the nation’s top health concerns, scholars have talked about using PE classes to change students’ lifestyle behavior. However, despite all the research and discussion, Wilkinson said there is little that has been done to help students develop the behavioral skills that lead to healthy and active lifestyles. Pennington added, “As far as we know, we have the only class like this in the nation.”
Wilkinson noted that the presentation was well received by their audience. “Maybe this is an area BYU can be experts in,” she expressed. “Maybe BYU can be known for blending the wellness focus into K-12 physical education.”
Other MSE faculty members also presented. Maria Zanandrea’s presentation, A Practical Approach to Infusing Disability Issues Into Physiology of Exercise, Athletic Training, and Motor Learning for PETE Majors, supported integrating knowledge about disabilities throughout PETE curriculum. A group presentation headed by Keven Prusak, Restructuring a Master’s Degree to Prepare Future PETE Doctoral Candidates, discussed BYU’s new two-year program to prepare undergraduate and master’s students to earn doctoral degrees in PETE.
1 March 2010