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A teacher teaching in today's schools and imparting learning for the 21st century has a different role to play compared to teachers of previous generations. Education is under rapid evolution in today’s knowledge, intensive and learning society (Akker, Branch, Gustafson, Nieveen, & Plomp, 2012). Schooling has moved to a very important place in today’s society, and education receives the attention and scrutiny of everyone, the government, parents and future employers and many stakeholders in society. Twenty-first-century learning is different from learning in other decades for the following reasons – students are supposed to receive all the skills that are necessary for living the rest of their lives from schooling and every aspect of a child’s school experience – the curriculum, content matter, educational activities and projects, the educational approach to be taken – child-centred, teacher-centred, subject centred or assessment centred is under scrutiny and research.
The aims of a 21st-century education are well expressed in the UK national curriculum goals – the aim of school education is to promote the physical, mental, moral and cultural developments of both the students and as a result cause these developments in society, school, therefore, prepares students for opportunities, responsibilities and experiences later on in life (Dept for Education, 2016).
I will be taking up the use of Physical Education as a cross-curricular resource that can be used to teach across a variety of subjects in this essay. I chose this method from my experience as a primary school teacher dealing with young children bouncing with energy and sometimes restless in the classroom. I have observed that Physical Education is one of the favourite classes for my students and would like to try and incorporate it in the teaching of other subjects like history, language and science to my students. This is in keeping with the experiential learning theories that have been developed from Dewey's classic 'learning by doing' theory in education (Roberts, 2012).
My choice of using Physical Education for cross-curricular work is well supported by research in this area. Research among primary teachers has recorded that using movement prepares children to learn academic concepts using spatial awareness, builds their confidence and social skills and promotes teacher-child relationships (Gehris, Gooze, & Whitaker, 2016). The learning experience is seen to be richer because it engages all the senses of a child and promotes social interaction as well (Gehris, Gooze, & Whitaker, 2016). Regular Physical Education is very important for students of all ages but quite critical for students at the primary school level as it leads to healthy growth at a formative stage in life and prevents the setting of chronic diseases at a very early age (Hills, Dengel, & Lubans, 2014). Using physical education as a cross-curricular resource, therefore, means looking forward to increased academic performances as well as health and happiness benefits for students involved in this intervention.