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WSC ALTERS PHYSICAL EDUCATION PRIORITIES TO PLACE EMPHASIS ON LIFETIME WELLNESS

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When adults look back on the physical education classes of their school days, they conjure up images of bats and balls and the coaches' unbearable rhetoric on sports rules.

The philosophy behind it all was keeping students active and in good condition as they negotiated the rigors of education. There were, however, no allowances made for continued health beyond graduation, except perhaps the hope students would get permanently hooked on a sport.A new philosophy for physical education at Weber State College is the result of increasing public awareness about lifetime wellness, according to Myron Davis.

"We now have a core curriculum in the public school system that is emphasizing wellness," said Davis, professor of health and physical education.

Weber State has revamped its P.E. curriculum to reflect the philosophy of faculty members, who had long felt that there was some neglect of the fitness component of P.E. when restructuring of the program began 10 years ago, Davis said.

He said there are three other reasons why Weber has been reordering its priorities in physical education.

"One is the interest, whether it be by fad or based upon need, that the general public has in their wellness and their cosmetic appearance," Davis said.

The American Alliance, the parent association directing health, physical education, recreation and dance, has also greatly influenced the trend, he said.

Programs such as Physical Best, The Presidents Physical Fitness Program, the Basic Stuff Series and Jump Rope for Heart were generated and/or endorsed by the alliance, Davis said.

The third area was needs expressed by students themselves. Old practices, he said, often brought complaints from students.

The changes at Weber State College will have a direct impact on the physical education children receive in Utah and nationally, because Weber State has a nationally recognized education program, Davis said.

The emphasis for teaching majors has changed significantly, he said. Those who are pursuing P.E. teaching certification at WSC have been taking fewer classes in organized sports and receive more training in health and wellness, Davis said.

Also, scheduled for completion this summer is a new sports complex, which will reflect the college's commitment to teaching lifetime activity and wellness.

Because of the new complex, teaching majors as well as students in the new lifestyle management major, which takes the place of the non-teaching P.E. major, will have access to health and wellness classes Davis said embody the objective of Weber State's new philosophy.