First of all one would have to ask, what is the national curriculum? The National Curriculum sets out the Welsh Assembly Government's proposed changes to physical education in the national curriculum in Wales. There are three key stages in the national curriculum. Stage two teaches pupils aged seven to eleven, and this is year's three to six. Key stage three teaches pupils aged eleven to fourteen and this is year's seven to nine. Key stage four teaches pupils aged fourteen to sixteen and this is year's ten to eleven. Physical education represents an umbrella term for a wide range of purposeful physical pursuits that can enrich lives and improve the quality of living (Almond, L. 1997). Physical education meets the physical needs of the child and the need for movement experiences, challenges and play. It develops a desire for daily physical activity and encourages constructive use of free time and participation in physical activities in adult life. To fulfil these needs, physical education is built on the principles of variety and diversity, not of specialisation. Children develop a knowledge of their own body and its movement potential. (Trace, M. 2008). It provides a wide variety of movement activities appropriate to the level of development of the child.
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The next question one would ask is what are Mosston's 'Spectrum of teaching styles'?
Mosstons 'Spectrum of teaching styles are:
Style A Command - the teacher makes all decisions
Style B Practice - the Students carry out teacher-prescribed tasks
Style C Reciprocal - the Students work in pairs: one performs, the other provides feedback
Style D Self-check -the Students assess their own performance against criteria
Style E Inclusion - the Teacher planned. Student monitors own work.
Style F Guided Discovery - the Students solve teacher set movement problems with assistance
Style G Divergent -the Students solve problems without assistance from the teacher
Style H Individual -the Teacher determines content. Student plans the programme.
Style I Learner Initiated - the Student plans own programme. Teacher is advisor.
Style J Self Teaching -the Student takes full responsibility for the learning process.
The first five teaching styles focus particularly on reproducing what is known. The last five styles focus on discover learning. The use of appropriate teaching styles makes an important contribution to children's learning in physical education. (Bailey, R. 2000) All styles apart from the first two are useful in developing personal and social learning outcomes through increasing student ownership of the learning process. The last five styles of Mosston's spectrum provides opportunities for students to take ownership and responsibility for their learning, plan and implement the program and receive personal and specialized skill and behavioural learning program as the teacher becomes free from full class direct instruction.
There are so many aims for the teaching of physical education, some of them are to teach the benefits of regular exercise, Develop fine and gross motor skills, balance and agility, to learn about fitness training through stamina, strength, speed and flexibility exercises and that is just to name a few. "Health" what proves that Physical education helps with this? The amount of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and strokes has risen dramatically. 2.6 Million people in the UK have Diabetes, with 90% of which have type 2 (Henriksen, D. 2008) Obesity is a major factor in some of these diseases. A report published today, in obesity awareness week, indicates that obese people are up to 80 times more likely to develop diabetes than those who maintain a healthy weight. (Smallwood, D. 2010) Exercise training may help not only to maintain glycemic control but also to lower confronting atherosclerotic risk factors, enhance cardiovascular function, and improve muscular strength in these individuals Ekelund, ET. (1994). One of the aims in the curriculum is to engage in frequent physical activity. Physical educators teach kids about these aims but health can be developed without Physical education like healthy living, good diet and living a healthy life style. Children are not in school forever, what is to stop them from not continuing with sport. Children drop out of "games" when leaving school. Schools physical education department may want to consider changing the sports as adults can participate more. An example of this could be instead of gymnastics, one could do swimming, yoga and Pilate's just to name a few. Staying active as a lifelong process will reduce the risk of obesity. Being Physical active forms part of a healthy lifestyle, and physical education programs in schools should teach children the necessary skills and understanding to encourage and allow them to be active in their own time. (Harris J 2000)
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Creative Activities has been identified as one of the four areas in the curriculum which involve gymnastics and dance. Gymnastics activities support the individual child's learning in becoming more confident, more skilled, more controlled and more precise in their physical movement capabilities. (Price, L. 2008) Gymnastics in education is concerned with the use of movement in a creative way in response to set tasks, both individually and with others. Children explore movement on the floor and when negotiating a variety of equipment. Apart from this, children can be helped to enjoy and develop an appreciation of gymnastics while realising individual potential and limitations, while enhancing overall development. Creative Activities can help in other ways like improve kids self-discipline, perseverance and courage. In creative activities the outcome/performance is not as technical as other sports like take hockey for instance, it has a lot of technical skills but does not have much creative activity. Dance in education involves the child in creating, performing and appreciating movement as a means of expression and communication. Decisions made by teachers define their teaching behaviours and those made by learners define their Learning behaviours (Mosston's, 1986) Mosston's styles self-check and self teaching are strong teaching styles in this area as it lets the students access their own performance against criteria as well as the students takes full responsibility for the learning process.
Competitive activities in physical education are learned for the purpose of competition between an individual, group or team and others. (NCPE) Mosston's styles, Reciprocal practice and inclusion are used very much so in competitive activities. Pupils need to learn and understand different types of game strategies and different types of tactics that involve competing against each other. Pupils need to also understand why there is a need for rules in a competitive situation. In the competitive situation, however, children are sometimes grouped with little regard for discrepancies of size and strength, the size of the playing area, the length of the game or the equipment used. Unless competition is de-emphasised, those who compare less favourably will always be at risk of withdrawal and are likely to become inactive adults. During this time also the child learns to officiate at games and to develop respect for opponents, officials, rules and spectators. A balanced approach to competition can make a significant contribution to the child's development while at the same time providing fun, enjoyment and satisfaction.
Skill development is a major part in the national curriculum; pupils should develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of physical education through each of the four areas of experience (NCPE). Although it is important to choose activities that will develop skills for the future, it is important not to choose activities that are too physically demanding for the children. Intense physical activity at such a young age has the ability to impede further development. Young athletes who become involved in only one type of movement at an early age are denied the benefits of varied activity. Therefore correctly developing motor skills at an early age is essential for the progression of motor skills needed later in life. Perhaps to develop the skills properly, pupils should attend extracurricular activities. It can provide children with fun and enjoyment as well as opportunities to strengthen the relationship with teachers, parents and other children. The extracurricular programme, therefore, that involves the implementation of competitive activities, should always reflect the aims and objectives of the physical education curriculum.
In conclusion, Physical fitness is associated with lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors, reduces total and abdominal adiposity, improves mental and bone health, increases academic performance in young people and protects against all-cause mortality. (Dumith, S.2010). Physical education is distinguished from other curricular areas by its primary focus on the body and on physical experience and is an integral part of the educational process, without which the education of the child is incomplete. Through a diverse range of experiences providing regular, challenging physical activity, the balanced and harmonious development and general well-being of the child is fostered. Competition needs to be de-emphasised as some children may not be as competitive as other kids and this might put the child off physical education. Children should be encouraged more by parents and teachers to take extracurricular activities so they can develop their skills more. If Physical education wants to achieve a range of aims, it needs to consider all aspects of the spectrum not just the command and practice. Through physical education the child can experience the joy of physical exertion and the satisfaction of achievement while developing skills and positive attitudes that enhance self-esteem. Physical education, as an integral part of the total curriculum, provides vital opportunities for
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the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of the child.