Improving Physical Literacy

April 23, 2024

By David Mills, NBCT – Owensboro, Kentucky

As a physical education teacher, I aim to develop physically literate students. A physically literate student possesses the knowledge, competence, confidence, and motivation to participate in various physical activities to improve their overall health and wellness. Physical literacy is about more than just fundamental motor skills. It also entails how students feel and their attitudes toward being active. Physical literacy shapes the foundation for building toward lifetime healthful activities and sets young children up on a path for being active into adolescence and ultimately throughout adulthood.

A high-quality physical education program is essential to produce physically literate students in our schools.  Effective physical education programs incorporate a wide array of learning experiences with planned supports to aid in the growth and development of student competencies.  For example, acquiring sport-specific skills, engaging in cooperative learning, and practicing yoga, pilates, and other mindfulness activities would be considered a breadth of content.  Accomplished instruction is delivered when the physical education teacher aligns worthwhile, age-appropriate learning targets, instructional strategies, and assessments that measure student performance.  In addition, a high-quality physical education instructor understands how to manage and monitor student learning.

Improving physical literacy is vital when teaching the whole child.  If we want our children to grow up to be healthy, productive adults, we must promote active living habits early and often.  Teachers must cultivate meaningful student engagement opportunities in physical education.  This will put students in a position to gain knowledge, build confidence, develop competence, and increase motivation to become physically literate.

David Mills, NBCT

David Mills is the physical education teacher at Burns Elementary School in Owensboro, KY. The 2023-2024 school year marks his 20th year as a teacher. He achieved National Board Certification in 2019 in the area of Early/Middle Childhood Physical Education. A proud graduate of Western Kentucky University, he serves as a mentor for undergraduate college students pursuing a teaching career in physical education.