ago Robert deCastella stuck his neck out
and said something to the effect that one of the reasons why kids were
getting fatter was that a large proportion of primary school teachers
were reluctant to teach physical education because they too weren’t in
By sticking his neck out he also got a few
responses in the local rag suggesting how wrong he was and what a good a
job our teachers are doing. (You’d expect that wouldn’t you.)
However, the proof of the pudding is in
the eating. Below is a list of activities that I reckon a reasonable
well-trained teacher and a reasonably trained year 6 student ought to be
able to do.
Going by what most regular folks that I
see can do and how fit they are, I suspect Deek might be right and
herein lies a dilemma for education bureaucracies and schools.
Would you expect a primary school teacher
to be good at teaching arithmetic if they couldn’t add up, subtract,
multiply or divide? Would you expect them to be able to teach reading
and writing if they couldn’t read or write?
The questions are too absurd to be
deserving of a serious answer.
So, by analogy, how good an education do
you think school children are getting if those who teach them do not
have a good command of the basic physical skills, like, running,
jumping, throwing, catching, kicking, skipping, rolling, hanging,
climbing, swimming ...
How fit do you think children are likely to be if their teacher can't
reach the bonze level on the Platinum Challenge?
Below is a list of some of the key motor
skills that I reckon form a basic foundation of motor skill development
and physical fitness. They’re the sorts of activities that kids and
teachers alike can do, if they’re reasonably well trained.
Run your eye over the list of skills and
see how many of them you can still do. If you can make the grade, I’ll
take my hat off to you. If the teachers you know can make the grade I’ll
take my hat off to them as well.
If you’re still of work force age it
shouldn’t be too difficult to do most of the things on the list, after
all, you’ve had plenty of time to train up. You might even like to
volunteer for a job teaching phys ed in schools!
Juggle three balls
Skip with a rope
Do a good 30 seconds worth of double
Run 40, 20m laps in 5 minutes
Do 20 good situps
Do 20 good pressups
Sitting down, reach forward and get
your wrists past your toes
Sit down and stand up 10 times in 30
Keep a yo yo going up and down for 30
Throw a ball 20m
Hop 20m on one leg, and then the other
Catch a tennis ball from 10m
Throw a tennis ball up in the air and
clap 10 times before it comes down & catch it.
Put a bean bag between your heels and
kick it over your head
Swim 25 metres in less than a minute
Duck dive and swim 5 metres under
Dive into the water from a height of a
metre or more
from a horizontal bar for a minute
Swing on a horizontal bar
Swing across a monkey bar.
Put one leg over the horizontal bar
and swing up into a sitting position
Hang by your legs from a horizontal
Pat a tennis ball with your hand
Pat a ball with a wooden bat or tennis
racquet, flat on and also on the side.
Crab walk for 10 metres
Lie on your back and put your feet up
over your head and onto the floor behind you
Do a forward roll
Do a backward roll
Do a frog balance
Do a cartwheel
Do a 10 second handstand
Hit a ball against a wall for 30
seconds using a bat or tennis racquet – forehand and backhand from 5
Climb up a rope
Ride a bike ...
And there must be dozens more things that
kids ought to be able to do that suggest fitness and motor skill
proficiency. If you can think of some, send me an email.
If you reckon you can do all of them,
In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned.