Get Involved - Be a Force
Advocacy efforts that promote our profession and its disciplines of health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport will always be one of our professional responsibilities. The moment we become too comfortable and do not work to improve our programs, will be the same moment others notice that our programs are not up to date and could easily be replaced with something more innovative and current. We cannot assume that others are as passionate about what we have to offer in our programs. Our advocacy efforts need to focus on communicating the benefits of what we do in a different way than we have before. Others have heard our mission, to provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes to live a healthy active life and they may even agree that this is important and necessary. However, when push comes to shove for time, space, money and human resources, our mission becomes rhetorical, not a reality.
What can you do? What will you do?
Create new ways to communicate your program benefits and goals. Pay attention to TV commercials and Internet advertisements to see what they are doing to get their message across. How have they adopted their message to address the social concerns about the economy, going green, cultural diversity, or the political climate? Have you considered using social networking as a tool to reach others? What can you do that is low cost, effective, and allows your voice to be heard? Here are a few ideas that can jump start your advocacy efforts.
Be involved in community, school, or workplace Committees that may not be specifically focused on your discipline.
This is a way to find out what others are thinking and their priorities. You may find that what you know and can offer could lead to a solution and present another perspective. For example, if your school is focused on celebrating Read Across America, Poetry Month, Arts Month, or Black History Month, offer to create physical activities that integrate the theme of the event. Then inform your colleagues about National Physical Education and Sport Week, International Dance Week, or National Recreation Day and help them plan ways to celebrate in their classroom or school wide.
Create your own Stimulus Package.
Organize a health fair or physical activity event that emphasizes the importance of physically active lifestyles for people of all ages. Offer an in-service training to educate non-PE teachers on ways to build activity into their curricula. Keep administrators informed about the latest research on the benefits of physical activity. Share information in newsletters and on your website about the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Click on http://www.health.gov/paguidelines to find more information about this. The Federal Government recently issued the first ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. They describe the types and amounts of physical activity that offers substantial health benefits to Americans.
Know the Buzzwords.
Getting involved and being a team player means you need to know the buzzwords that are relevant to your workplace. Ever wondered what educators mean when they refer to "authentic assessment" or "Bloom's Taxonomy"? Education, like all professions, has a specialized vocabulary that parents and others may have a difficult time understanding. This online dictionary, A Lexicon of Learning, provides clear definitions of educational terms in everyday language: Lexicons of_Learning