Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Walking is ... GOOD for you?

Wait. Hold on. Hold the phone. This is some crazy results:

"With childhood obesity expanding to epidemic proportions in the United States, educators, researchers and health practitioners are actively seeking to identify effective means of addressing this public-health crisis."
Well, I had hoped that this was the case... However, what do to when people constantly cite the diminished level of formal phys. ed. in schools (along with arts). Apparently, members at a conference at the University of Illinois called for integrating exercise with learning, such as going on walks to different areas of a city to help teach art and design or conduct physical activity to learn about biological energy transfer.
Chodzko-Zajko said the concept of integrating topics across the curriculum is not necessarily a new pedagogical idea. ... "If you talk to the pedagogy people, they say two things: Kids need physical education, where they learn motor skills and activities that are going to set them up to develop the competencies they need to be physically active. But they also need to know how to be regularly physically active.
I agree with the idea that this isn't new: I learned many things through "ambulatory learning" - observations in the field - like Socrates and Aristotle in ancient times. Of course, this was done in undergraduate and graduate school work. However, there were class projects in highschool that asked students to walk through their neighborhoods to create written "maps" of the place; provide observations of parks and thoroughfares; etc. It wasn't teaching us the mechanics of how to exercise, but it did tie non-physical education with physical activity; the one cannot really fully happen without the other.

The article goes into greater topics, but this seems to me to be an easy way to think about how to integrate learning with physical activity. Of course, there is always going to be the type of teacher who doesn't see "ambulatory learning" as a "proper" method of learning the material. The only thing that this sort of idea gives is a contempt of alternative methods; a contempt of physical activity in the pursuit of mental knowledge; and a lack of desire to explore the outdoors.

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