You’re Not Fully Literate Until You Are Physically Literate

I love this blog prompt! As you can see from my title, this topic is allowing me to relate this course to my comfort zone – Physical Education. Let’s be real, Phys. Ed. gets a bum rap from most teachers. However, we take pride in our area and one of our favorite catch phrases is:

You NEED this shirt! | Arizona Health and Physical Education

Yes, we even put it on shirts!!!

Being physically literate is one form of literacy that many probably forget about. Physical Literacy describes it as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” It is understanding and knowing how to use your body, not just for sport, but in order to live an active lifestyle. Being physically literate allows one to navigate through life being healthy and safe.

Another important type of literacy, more pertinent to our current discussions is informational literacy. Common Sense Information describes it as the ability to identify, find, evaluate, and use information effectively. As Cymone, Holly and I discussed in this week’s presentation, we are living in a time when informational literacy is becoming critically important. Unfortunately, our skills and our student’s skills might not be where they need to be. I referenced an article that blames the fake news epidemic as an information literacy problem. Many in society don’t know how to interpret or research the accuracy of the information they are reading and therefore believe things that are not true. Furthermore, in our technological world, many go on to share and re-distribute incorrect information.

Information Literacy Month | Facts From the Stacks

Just as physical literacy is important for the health and safety of our bodies, informational literacy is important for our health and safety in an online environment. It is impossible to be a good digital citizen without being informationally literate.

12 thoughts on “You’re Not Fully Literate Until You Are Physically Literate

  1. I appreciated your focus on health and safety. I talk often with my students about overall holistic health and how, using the medicine wheel, all domains interact together. When our interactions on media are affecting our emotional, social, and mental well-being, we are going to feel those effects in our bodies as well. Health is taking care of all parts and living in balance. Thank you for inspiring some thoughts.

  2. I love your ideas here! There are so many positives to physical education and you are right, it is overlooked by many teachers. We recently hired a new bartender at my side-hustle job and he comes from a sports background. He knows literally nothing about bartending but the skills, habits, work ethic, and discipline comes from sport and physical smarts. When we look at a holistic approach to education, the physical is paramount to the success of the rest! Well done!

  3. Great post! Before becoming good friends with one of the Phys-Ed teachers many moons ago at my previous school, I didn’t think of physical literacy very much. Because most physical movements and tasks used to come second nature to me growing up, I didn’t put a lot of time into understanding why. I used to think that the Phys-Ed teacher’s role was easy and that the biggest thing they had to put up with is lack of participation. However, as I taught for more years and saw her doing what she loves, it was inspiring. A lot of the values that I still hold today come from playing and engaging in sport. I unconsciously carry physical literacy with me in my practices, yet don’t spend enough time understanding the importance of it. Thanks for the reminders!

  4. I taught Wellness 9 to 48 Grade 9 boys once many years ago (eventually they provided another teacher and we team taught). It was honestly one of the most challenging courses I have ever taught, to keep students engaged, learning, and provide meaningful evaluation. So you have my full respect as a Phys-Ed teacher. I too believe literacy in all realms is vital to a well rounded individual and digital literacy will affect your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical self. Great post.

  5. Thanks for the post Chris. Being informationally literate really does come down to our health and safety, and that of the students we teach. Being illiterate in anything can have detrimental effects on our health and well-being. I like the idea of pairing physical and informational literacy. Perhaps a good podcast while I’m out for a walk?

  6. I also wrote this exact quote in my blog post this week! I am trained in Phys. Ed and Health with a Kin degree as well at the U of R, however, I haven’t even taught Phys. ed since my internship 5 years ago since getting my first contract. Physical literacy was a main point of conversation for so long during my undergrad that it is something that I still incorporate in my classroom. Even though I don’t teach my own phys. ed, I still love to do activities with my students such as canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing, curling, skating, tobogganing and so many others just to name a few that we have done this year.

  7. I am amazed at how many classmates made connections between physical literacy and digital literacy. Your description of physical literacy made a great tie in to digital literacy. I particularly liked your statement: “Just as physical literacy is important for the health and safety of our bodies, informational literacy is important for our health and safety in an online environment.” This would be such a great connection for students to make as well.

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