Bluefield College Course Offers Service to Local Home-school Families
Each fall, Bluefield College students have an opportunity to enroll in a class titled, "Physical Education for the Young Child," which is designed to prepare future physical education (PE) teachers.
October 22, 2009
A by-product of the course is a means for the college to help fulfill its mission to be in service to the community, because the PE instruction offered by the BC students is made available to local home-schoolers, who otherwise might never have access to physical education.
"The class equips Bluefield College students in the art and science of teaching children health and physical education activities," said Dr. Scott Bryan, professor of exercise and sports science. "We believe the best way to learn to teach is by actually teaching children."
As part of the class, the BC students develop lesson plans and participate in peer teaching experiences with their fellow classmates.
"It's great fun to watch college students 'play' and teach children's games to one another," Dr. Bryan said. "They also get a great workout. In a typical class, each student actively participates in vigorous physical activity for up to 45 or 50 minutes."
Megan Clarkson of Princeton, West Virginia, participated in the class as a home-schooler for a number of years. Now, she's a student at Bluefield College, who enrolled in the PE course last year in order to teach other home-school children.
"I was a little nervous and intimidated, but I wanted to come and be with my friends and play games and sports," Clarkson said about her first day as a child coming to PE class on campus. "I remember the college students being very encouraging. I remember one student complimented me on a free-throw shot I made. I knew I was really cool then, because a college student said I had done well."
The PE course, she added, offers a tremendous service to home-school families in the area, "because it provides an educational environment for children that they don't experience at home. The children are taught about healthy habits and being active, and it provides a service to the moms, as well."
During Clarkson's first day as a student instructor in the class, she said she had a unique advantage because she knew what to expect. She added that she was excited that she might "spark another home-school student toward the same wonderful experience (she) had through her years as a child in the class."
"Dr. Bryan was great to work with, and everything I learned in the class is very relevant," Clarkson said. "What I learned in that class can be applied to other situations when working with children. The class is so different from many others I have taken. I would encourage any student, not just ESS majors, to take this class. It's a great experience."
Clarkson also had an advantage the class because she knew what games and activities worked for the children and what usually did not. The textbook for the class, she added, is "definitely worth the money" with lesson plans, games, and information on classroom management.
"When we began this endeavor 16 years ago, I never dreamed back then one of those 'little ones' would someday be instructing the class," Dr. Bryan said. "On the first day, Megan introduced herself to the children and explained to them that she had one day been a student in the class, just like they were. She encouraged them to study hard and obey their parents, and then she closed the class in a heartfelt prayer. As Megan prayed, I thanked God for her, her family, and for the impact Bluefield College had been allowed to have on this 'transformational leader.' It was a beautiful experience."