Design for Change
Introduction To Topic
My topic for the Design for Change assignment is going to be physical activity benefits in education. I have chosen this topic because I have read a book called SPARK by John Ratey and in the book, Ratey explores how exercises benefit students academically and more precisely how it affects their brains.
The topic matters to me personally as growing up in school, being physically active was not promoted or encouraged. My Physical Education class was basically just playing either basketball or soccer. We never learned how physical activity is important to our health or how it affects our brain and benefit our learning. I am also passionate about exercise and promoting active living and I believe each person should be able to engage in physical activity because of all the benefits that come with it.
This topic matters directly to students when it comes to the benefits they will have from engaging in physical activity, an activity can be tailored to each student including students with physical needs. It will also reduce the number of students who develop obesity due to lack of physical activity. When it comes to educators, teaching students who engage in physical activity is easier as students are energized and their minds are at their optimum levels for understanding. On the community and culture level, promotion and engaging in physical activity is linked to the reduction in cardiovascular-related diseased and obesity.
I Interviewed a university student who attended school in BC. The reason I interviewed her was to get insight about what a previous student experienced. She said that her school was not an advocate for physical activity, they only did the bare minimum mandated by the government during the assigned PHE class that was 2 or 3 times per week and lasted an hour or less. She wishes there was more physical activities that can be done more than once a day before classes.
I also Interviewed a grade 7 math teacher. The reason I interviewed him was to get insight from a regular class teacher about the current state of students. He thinks that physical activity helps students in math as it makes them concentrate more during his math class, especially on days where the class right before his is a Physical Education class and students actively did some kind of exercise. He suggest that having access to a resource that allows him to pick a few activities based on how long they are, to let the classroom perform before beginning his class would be useful and he would use it often.
My last interview was with a parent of two elementary kids. The reason I interviewed her was to get insight on what a parent thinks works best for their kids. She believes that physical activity is very important especially at the primary level. She moved to BC 5 years ago and have seen her kids academic performance decrease. For the first few months she thought it’s because of the move but then her kids joined kick boxing classes 4 times a week at a club that opened in their building and they started excelling academically, and became more interested in school. She wishes there could be a program implemented in school that introduces physical activity to her kids during the day more than 3 times a week as going to the club later in the evening takes away homework time.
I was not able to interview a current BC school students.
In BC, the government website lists a few website and refers to them as "staying active and learn about B.C.’s record of sports achievement" (Health and Physical Activity Tools for Teachers). I did not find a structured document or a simple resource that outlines some exercises/activities that students can do listing how much time they take to be completed.
Engaging in physical activity is mandatory for grade 10-12 and students need to record and document 150 minutes of exercise per week. However grade 9 and below are not required to do so and they do not have any mandatory physical activity to complete, but rather it is embedded in their Physical Education class.
A policy has been put into force/revised in BC in July 2017 which is great and outlines how schools should handle physical activity and that senior students need to record 150mins of physical activity per week as a graduation requirement. I believe that having students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 participate in 150mins of physical activity per week is important, but when students only start at grade 10 to participate in physical activity and record it could be a big change in their lifestyles and will not be favoured because of all the effort that needs to be put into the activity. But then students are brought up from as early as Kindergarten to engage in daily physical activity, then it becomes less of a burden and more of an enjoyable activity. Research has shown that short bouts of physical activity can help students with attention, memory and enhance their cognitive ability.
References can be found here
Rationale For Resource
What I believe is lacking from the current school system, is enforcing daily physical activity suitable for each year level
and also physical disabilities, students with disabilities can benefit from physical activity too if the activity is performed in a safe manner.
The resource is a list of activities that any class teacher can access and easily instruct the students to complete the activities before commencing with the class or at any point during class. Any teacher could use this, like a math teacher could instruct the class in doing an activity after they are introduced to a new concept, just before trying to solve a questions about it. Or an art teacher can choose an activity to be completed at the end of the class.
This resource contributes to my chosen topic, as it directly involves students performing the physical activities and benefiting from them. It also contributes to the ability of teachers and school officials to have access to a comprehensive list of activities in a single location, thus making it a seamless process and a way to encourage using it.
The target for this resource is mainly education officials and teachers.