How Could a Negative Experience Impact Their Lifestyle?
Simply put, if you enjoy doing something, chances are that you’ll do it again. That’s why it’s so important to create a positive PE class experience for your students. As physical educators, it’s our job to inspire youth to pursue healthy, active lifestyles—and that starts in our communities and schools. Take a look at some of the long-term effects that a negative physical education experience can have on a student, and reflect on your own classroom. Are your students benefiting from the curriculum, or are there areas for improvement?
1. Avoidance of Exercise
This is perhaps the biggest long-term effect of a negative physical education experience. If a student associates exercise with a negative emotion prompted by their PE class, then they are less likely to exercise as adolescents and adults. But, what exactly prompts these emotions in our students? If every student across all fitness levels are prescribed the same group exercise and expected to perform at the same level, there is bound to be trouble. For example, if a student who struggles with asthma, weight, or a heart issue completes a PACER test alongside an athletic student, they are more likely to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or less fit, leading them to avoid exercise in various other settings, including their personal life.
2. Poor Self-Esteem
Did you know that 34% of students in a Reuters Health research study reported feeling embarrassed by their childhood PE class? Often, students feel these negative emotions due to not being chosen first during a team activity or from being bullied by peers. In fact, the study found that not being chosen first during a physical education activity strongly correlated to the amount of time a student would spend sitting on weekdays and the weekend well into adulthood. When someone experiences embarrassment or bullying, it’s no secret that they are susceptible to having poor self-esteem which can lead to a variety of other long-term issues like anxiety, depression, or even substance abuse. That’s why it’s imperative to foster an engaging, welcoming PE class that carefully assigns activities and goals to the individual student, not the group at large.
3. Attendance Issues
If a student has a negative physical education experience due to bullying or feelings of insecurity, they’re at an increased risk of skipping PE class or school altogether. A decline in attendance can be a slippery slope to academic issues as well, leading to lower grades and academic achievement. On the flip side, if physical educators work to create a positive physical education experience, each student would benefit from it—after all, basic brain function and learning capabilities are directly correlated to enhanced physical activity and aerobic fitness.
So now that you’ve had a chance to reflect on your classroom, how do you think most of your students stack up? If you feel like your classroom and curriculum could be doing more harm than good, you might be right. The key is to make physical education personal.
The Heart Zones system provides the opportunity for objective assessment and personalized programs, leveling the playing field for all kids across the fitness spectrum. By using our patented heart rate and zone training methodology, you will have the tools to truly assess each student’s health and fitness, giving them a chance to cut the comparison game and focus on their own goals and achievements. Empowering students with data, transparency, and accountability is powerful and inspiring, advancing their life-long fitness journey well into adulthood. Need a solution for your virtual or hybrid classroom? Check out Heart Zones e-PE, or read our blog on the importance of physical education to learn about the Whole Child Approach to education.