Trainer Spotlight: Heather Erwin
Her story: Heather is the Director of Graduate Studies and Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. In addition to conducting research on youth physical activity and teaching courses in physical education methods, she recently led a unique PYFP training event for Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) professionals. The training participants represented over 15 different institutions of higher education.
Q: In one sentence, how would you summarize the value of physical education for students today?
Physical education offers youth a learning experience in school that is like no other, as movement is crucial to the healthy development of the body and mind.
Q: You recently conducted a one-day training in Nashville for physical education professionals working at higher education institutions. What was your biggest takeaway from this unique opportunity?
In order to move the profession of physical education forward, higher education professionals must be on board with focusing on youth physical activity and must work together to train future physical educators appropriately.
Q: Are there things you heard from participants in the Nashville training that you have or will incorporate into your physical education methods class at the University of Kentucky?
I loved hearing feedback from the participants at the training! They brought lots of excellent ideas to the room to better train future physical education teachers. I plan to incorporate a number of the assignments and assessments into our methods courses, including the goal-setting personal fitness plan.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing new physical educators?
It's a big world out there, and situations from one school may differ so vastly from those at another school just down the street. Physical educators have to be prepared to teach students from a variety of different backgrounds, manage effectively and efficiently, teach to the standards, include all students, incorporate technology, conduct assessments, evaluate their program, and the list goes on...all while meeting the needs of each individual student. They will wear multiple hats and be spread thin on many occasions, all for the love of education. I hope they care deeply about the students, care deeply about the profession, promote physical activity, and most importantly, leave a positive impact on the lives of their students.
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