Test II: Health Education, Physical Education, and the Arts Study Guide for the GACE
Questions on the Health Education, Physical Education, and the Arts section of the GACE take up about 17% of the Elementary Education Test II (002). The questions are mainly typical multiple-choice, but you may also see some fill-in-the-blank and/or multiple-answer multiple-choice questions.
Your understanding of all the concepts in these fields of study is expected, but even heavier emphasis is placed on being able to identify appropriate strategies to teach them to students in elementary school. Be sure to accompany your review of the content taught with the identification of teaching strategies for each concept. You can use your memory for this and also consult class materials you’ve accumulated over your years of the study of education.
Health and Physical Education
Health and physical education cover a wide variety of topics associated with an overall healthy lifestyle. The topics covered below will give you a general overview of these topics as well as some strategies for teaching them to elementary school children.
There are eight health standards for elementary school. These range from eating habits to cultural influences, disease prevention, and more. Some of the major themes apparent throughout the curriculum framework are covered in this document but it is recommended that you review all of the standards to become more familiar with them.
Promoting Good Health
Promoting good health includes teaching children about healthy eating, talking with adults about feelings (mental and emotional health), and educating about personal hygiene, general safety, tobacco products and their use, and violence prevention. These main tenets should be introduced to children at a young age to foster good health and habits for themselves and across society. Conversations should be had about these topics by asking questions like, “How do we brush our teeth?” and “Why is it important to wash our hands?”
Enhancing Good Health
Enhancing good health is the next step in helping students understand the basic principles of health education. These skills often require students to identify a problem or barrier to healthy living and devise a plan for overcoming it. For example, students may be asked to devise a plan for achieving a health goal. This requires knowledge of healthy living and strategies for achieving a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to review all the standards to familiarize yourself with all the ways students may be asked about enhancing good health.
Preventing disease is the last main theme found throughout the health standards. It largely focuses on communication skills and the ability of students to seek help from adults when needed, identify healthy and unhealthy food choices, explain the benefits of healthy choices, assess risks associated with unhealthy choices (like smoking), and more. These skills and understandings should be connected with long-term benefits of preventing disease.
Influences on Health Behaviors
There are many things that influence health behaviors and these influences can be positive or negative. Children need to have an understanding of what might influence their own health behaviors and they should assess what they need to do personally to achieve a healthy lifestyle and prevent disease.
One of the most powerful influencers of health behaviors on children is the family. The decisions that parents make in terms of diet, lifestyle, tobacco and alcohol use, etc., have major influences on a child. Children are likely to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Teaching this to children in school and providing them with knowledge and understanding of healthy habits can help them live a healthy lifestyle regardless of their family influence.
Peers are another powerful influencer of health behavior. A good health teacher will discuss the pros and cons of peer pressure and how to discern the best course of action when faced with difficult health decisions. For example, if students understand the risks of smoking and the importance of not smoking in preventing disease, then they might be able to stand up to negative peer pressure to smoke. Their decision to abstain from smoking may in turn act as a positive influence on their peers to prevent/stop them from smoking too.
Culture is yet another influencer of health behavior and one that should be discussed with students. The culture of an area, or even the United States as a whole, can influence health decisions. For example, the cultural standard for body image can be a positive or negative influence on a child or adolescent. Teachers and schools should work to create a positive culture where students feel safe and confident in who they are and how they treat others.
The media can influence health decisions through advertisements, movies, TV shows, and more. Students should be taught how to discern what is a good health decision concerning these influences by evaluating media and applying their knowledge of good health. For example, there have been many programs that stress the negative impacts of smoking and the positive impacts of healthy eating.
Technology impacts health and wellness in many ways from television advertisements, accessibility of information online, and quick access to emergency services via telephone. Technology consistently provides us with access to the latest research and an understanding of healthy habits. Furthermore, students should understand the benefits of limiting screen time and making time to be active daily.
Aside from these main influencers, there may be other factors that influence health behaviors. As questions arise for students, be sure to listen to their concerns and work to find good solutions for a healthy lifestyle.
Advocating for Health on Various Levels
Another foundational element in health education is health advocacy. Students will learn how to advocate for health on a personal level, family level, and community level.
Advocating for personal health may range from children asking for help when needed, reaching out to talk about their feelings, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, making healthy eating choices, and more. Students should be asked to provide examples of how they can improve their personal health in a variety of ways.
Students have an opportunity to advocate for family health by requesting healthy meal and snack options, explaining the risks of tobacco use, supporting family members who are trying to improve healthy practices, demonstrating safety practices at home, and more. Students can practice what they learn about their health by sharing their knowledge with their families.
Advocating for community health can occur through promoting hand-washing, objecting to teasing peers, standing up against bullying, supporting others with disabilities, promoting a tobacco-free environment, and advocating for a respectful environment. Among many other ways, a teacher could have students create posters that advocate for a healthy school community and then hang those posters around the school.
Students in physical education classes need to demonstrate competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns. These basic motor skills and movement patterns are needed to perform a variety of activities like running, jumping, throwing, etc.
Basic Motor Skills
Basic locomotor skills range from the ability to walk, run, skip, hop, and jump to more advanced abilities of object manipulation like dribbling a ball, striking a ball with an object (such as a bat or racket), volleying, and kicking. The basic motor skills learned in younger grades are built upon throughout elementary school until students can put these skills together to be competitive in sports and games.
Movement patterns refer to the ability to manipulate direction, speed, force, etc. At younger grade levels students can practice moving fast and slow or changing direction by zig-zagging. Throughout the grade levels, student skills and abilities increase as they practice these skills in spaces and within the confines of games or sports.
Promoting Productive Behaviors
Another main goal of physical education is to promote productive and healthy behaviors through physical fitness, responsible behavior, and respect for self and others. These principles can be learned and practiced through physical activity in the physical education setting.
Students should be able to identify and demonstrate knowledge and skills that promote a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and fitness. This knowledge includes recognizing that moving at a fast pace increases the heart rate and breathing, understanding of the benefits of physical activity, explaining the importance of hydration, and finding ways to engage in physical activity independently and in groups.
Students will be able to demonstrate responsible behavior when engaging in physical activity through respecting others as well as themselves. These skills and abilities can be organized into the two categories of personal and social behavior.
Personal responsible behavior includes following personal safety protocols, exhibiting self-control, accepting corrective feedback, and participating willingly in all class activities.
Socially responsible behavior includes listening to others, respecting others and their space, interacting positively with others, accepting differences in abilities within a group, and applying safety principles within a group.
Respect for Self and Others
Finally, a major principle of physical education is respect for self and others. Students can demonstrate respect for self by following the rules and safety protocols for all physical activities and games in the physical education environment. Students should also learn respect for peers and superiors by accepting corrective feedback and enjoying a physical challenge with a positive attitude.
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