Athletics and PE: Experiential Learning

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By Len Carr '75

Physical education classes do more than teach skills: they allow students to do their best physically; relate to classmates in a positive, active, and engaged manner; and understand interpersonal dynamics. PE classes honor personal growth and promote a healthy competitive spirit, social presence, cooperative behavior, discipline, and responsibility. In this sense, PE shares the values of the entire school.

Active involvement in organized athletics is an essential part of experiential education, promoting students’ well-rounded development as they challenge their perceived limitations. Among the lessons students learn through athletics are developing confidence and leadership skills while learning the value of teamwork and fair play, and learning to accept differences in their peers’ ability levels and work with others to accomplish specific and well-defined goals.

The idea of community and the relationship between student and teacher is fostered daily through PE and athletics: coaches work with athletes outside their specific season, and PE teachers help kids with particular skills. Sometimes classroom teachers are the coaches, creating truly special bonds. Teachers at the school respect student athletes and understand the need for physical education and the connection between physically active bodies and alert, active, sharp minds.

Athletics provide a challenge--and pure fun--for these Middle School students
Len Carr '75 is director of athletics and physical education.