WHY Physical Education? And why DID you want to teach it?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the BIG WHY of PE. What is our BIG WHY? Do we have one? More than one?

“Healthy Lifelong Movers” (HLM) is probably the most common WHY that I see presented. It isn’t the only one, but it seems to be the most widely accepted.

It’s a great WHY. Who wouldn’t want Healthy Lifelong Movers?

But is this WHY compelling enough? Does it go DEEP enough?

I’m not so sure.

First of all, WHY do we want this WHY? What is the WHY of our WHY? Why do we want Healthy Lifelong Movers? What is it about Healthy Lifelong Movers that is worth all of the time, money, and effort?

Second, is this the same WHY that made you “sign up” to teach PE?

Why am I even asking these questions? Does it even matter? Shouldn’t HLM be enough? What purpose does it serve to go even deeper?

I think it does matter. Compelling WHYs matter. It is important to know why you want something, otherwise, how do you know you really even want it? How do you know it’s what is “best?” How do you know it’s worth wanting, or at the very least, that there isn’t something better?

Some thoughts and questions:

· Why have so many (most of us?) accepted HLM as the BIG WHY of PE?

· Did we all decide this together? Or did we all INHERIT this?

· What is the consequence of not agreeing with this BIG WHY? What if I said, surrounded by my PE peers, that HLM was not a good reason for PE? Would I be accepted? Would I feel ashamed?

· What are the consequences of uncritically accepting a BIG WHY like HLM? What harm might come from a simple, passive acceptance of such a grand, noble vision?

· Is HLM our BIG WHY because we really care that much about people, even people we don’t know (or don’t know yet)? Are we that altruistic? We care so much about people’s health and future that we are willing to devote our time and energy into their present and future? If so, WHY? WHY would we want to do that? Are we really that kind and selfless?

· Could it be that we all agree on HLM because that’s what everybody else is doing?

· Again, WHY do we want HLM? What does that do for you? For them? For us?

WHY? WHY do we want HEALTHY LIFELONG MOVERS???? And did you really think about “producing” HEALTHY LIFELONG MOVERS before you entered the profession? Be honest. Probably not. If you did, great. But if you didn’t, what made you agree? Or maybe you haven’t agreed?

I would bet that quite a few of us now have different intentions than when we entered the profession, which is OK. But why is this?

So why ask these questions? They can help us to clarify a BIG WHY that we take serious ownership of. Not only that, it will be a BIG WHY that results in the provision of “Quality PhysEd” that is inclusive, just, democratic, and sustainable, and grounded in joy, meaning, and delight.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please respond in the comments section.