Each year, physical education students at Anderson University have the opportunity to attend the Indiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Convention in Indianapolis. Dr. Diana Jones, professor of physical education, selects a group of students each year to help present to other physical education professionals at the convention. Six students were chosen to present at the convention last fall.
“The annual state convention is an opportunity for everyone in the state of Indiana to come together — whether they are a health teacher, physical education teacher, or teach dance or fitness — and it is for elementary through college instructors,” said Jones.
Each group must submit a proposal to present at the convention, which is then screened by the association, and the groups are informed if they will be presenting. The conference lasts two days, with a large number of groups presenting each year.
AU’s presentation was called “If I Only Had a Brain ...” and was prepared by Jones before she selected the students to assist her. The activities featured in the presentation were designed to showcase the new developments in brain-based learning. Researchers are discovering that it is easier for children to learn and they may retain more if they are physically active.
The “If I Only Had a Brain ...” presentation highlighted games that utilize math, English, and other problem-solving skills through physical activity. Jennifer Williamson, a senior physical education major, presented a game called Flash Tag. In this game, two players essentially play rock, paper, scissors, but on the count of three hold out a number of fingers. The first person to add up the sum of both sets of fingers is the winner, and the other person must turn around in a circle and then briskly walk to tag the winner throughout the gymnasium. “You could also change it up and do subtraction, multiplication or division, or even use both hands,” said Williamson.
Many people attended AU’s presentation, and the audience had the opportunity to try out the activities that were being presented. “We were fortunate to get the large ballroom and were able to have almost everyone participate,” said Katie Mountsier, a senior physical education major.
The students who were chosen had “shown through coursework and relations with me that they are very capable of being professional and presenting,” said Jones. They had already learned the various games in class with Jones, so little preparation was necessary. The group met once their proposal had officially been chosen in order to select which game they would present, and then they met again just before the convention to review their games and discuss transitions between the games.
The rest of convention consisted of similar presentations, but with many different themes and in different disciplines, which the students and other attendees were able to choose from. “During the presentations, there is always an opportunity to participate and volunteer, since that is usually the best way for physical education professionals to get their point across,” said Kyle Markley, a senior general studies major with a concentration in physical education.
The convention offered AU students the opportunity to learn new techniques, games, strategies, and dances to teach their future students. “Since you could choose the presentations you went to, it felt like you were making good use of your time. It is kind of like continuing education,” said Jones, who has been attending state conventions for several years. During her second year at AU, she realized that the convention would be a good way for students to practice presenting professionally, and has been doing so ever since.
“The convention helped me to gain a better awareness of the possibilities that could take place in my physical education class one day,” said Mountsier. “I saw new teaching styles and learned about the importance of incorporating a variety of concepts in class such as health and fitness and coordination.”
— Marissa Phillips is a junior from Brookville, Ohio, majoring in communication arts. Phillips is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.