||Volume 24, Number 7, May/June 2012
Physical education PSA
By Sue MacDonald
(PE BC) has been a part of the PSA council since it began 40 years ago. In fact, the Physical Education council was formed before PSAC came into being!
Over the years there have been both highs and lows in our field and specifically in our specialist council. The name of the group has changed and the faces have changed but the focus remains the same. We keep our members up to date on best practices, current trends and provide support to those who need it via phone, email and through our website and a bi-monthly newsletter. Many of us present workshops in a variety of areas specific to Physical Education. We attend the Council of Provinces meetings twice a year across Canada and bring back information to our members and help them implement national initiatives. We plan conferences and professional development opportunities for our members.
Our conference is currently a joint partnership with Douglas College but has been in a variety of locations over the years from Kelowna to Parksville and from Surrey to Courtney. Our PSA has been challenged over the years, not just in conference statistics but in maintaining credibility within the profession of education. Despite the healthcare crisis we are in where the current youth are predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, and the rise in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other life threatening diseases physical education is not given the attention it deserves. The budget cuts across the province, the reduction in specialist teachers and the general ignoring of the benefits of learning about healthy lifestyle choices and movement skills all mean that the number of Physical Education specialists and district coordinators in BC is lower than ever. In our PSA, the core group of organizers and executive do what they can with limited funding and resources.
There are positives however. In October 2011, a celebration was held to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Douglas College Conference, in conjunction with the fall Provincial Pro-D day. It was a huge success with a keynote panel, a paddlewheel cruise, numerous workshops, and a chance to network and share experiences with many of those who have been involved over the years.
Our PSA is currently nearing the completion of our History of Physical Education project which has been a very valuable experience for those directly involved as well as providing a reference for current and future physical educators in our province. It will be made public soon and we hope future physical educators will add to it over the years.
The future of Physical Education’s place in our ever changing, challenging education system is uncertain. We continue to be hopeful that things will again take an upward swing and the benefits will move back to the forefront where we firmly believe they belong.
Sue MacDonald, president, PE-BC, bctf.ca/pebc