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Physical Education programs are used to seeing their budgets cut in favor of academic programs in this day and age. Schools pressed to meet their needs will cut from physical education not always seeing the link it can have too children’s physical and academic health. North Carolina PE Teacher of the Year Joe Weaver aims to change this.
For Weaver, physical education is a full extension of what happens in every other classroom, and not just a time for kids to get their jitters out and heart rates pumping. While healthy physical activity is still central to PE, Weaver has found creative ways of incorporating other subjects into the gym.
Weaver does this because he believes there are certain kinds of learners who do not easily grasp concepts in a traditional classroom setting. Educational researchers have classified students based on learning styles and discovered that there is a classification that connects learning with locomotion. Students that fall within this classification are known as kinesthetic learners. Kinesthetic learners learn best by actively engaging with a subject through things like field trips and hands on science projects.
Weaver does things a little differently. He pairs subjects like math and science with physical activity, engaging kinesthetic learners who prefer to stay more physically active while also teaching them about subjects that they might not otherwise have paid attention to. By putting the information in a different environment, Weaver is not only helping kinesthetic learners, but also helping to show that physical education is a vital and necessary part of childhood education.
Weaver will receive his award at a conference this October. There he will experience more than just the accolades of his peers. Weaver will also be presenting a seminar entitled, “PE is Integral” on the importance of incorporating general education into the gymnasium. Hopefully, Weaver’s efforts will make an impact on physical education programs and on children everywhere.