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Vol 57 No. 15 : July 29, 2005
Vol 57 No. 15 | July 29, 2005
Program Helps Teach P.E. Educators to Be Better

Photo of first class graduating

Grant Hill (l) with members of the first graduating class from Master of Arts in Kinesiology option.

Grant Hill is very excited these days. On Tuesday, July 19, the professor in CSULB’s Kinesiology Department witnessed the first graduating class of the Master of Arts in Kinesiology with the Pedagogy option.

The 24-month program is run through University College and Extension Services (UCES) and in conjunction with the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD). It consists of a series of three-credit courses – eight required courses and four group electives, for a total of 36 credits. The first graduating class had 10 students.

"We began the program though UCES," said Hill. "I contacted Joan Van Bloom (Physical Education Curriculum Leader for LBUSD) who became a program co-director and an instructor in the program, and we created a board together and designed a program for people who are already teaching physical education and want a master’s degree. This program addresses issues physical education teachers face daily at their schools and many of the assignments require them to observe their students and implement changes to improve their programs.

"One of our primary goals is that our graduates will become leaders in their schools and districts in regards to physical education and in athletics at the K-12 level," he continued. The LBUSD has nearly 100,000 students.

A side benefit of going through the program is the research papers students do, which can provide some insightful and useful information about the environment they actually work in on a daily basis.

"In conjunction with various classes, students conduct research at their schools and it gives us access to lot of great information," said Hill.  For example, they might collect fitness scores or calculate the percentage of students who are active during various units they teach. Also, they can measure student interest in specific activities and adjust curriculum to better meet the needs of males and females. Eventually, each student in our program is assigned an advisor and designs a research project that must be presented and defended in a public forum.

"We are hoping that by requiring students to successfully complete this process, they will develop the skills that will allow them to continue to ask significant questions and engage in meaningful, valid research," said Hill. 

Another unique feature of the program is the preparation of students to apply for National Board Teaching Certification. This is a master teacher status and normally results in a significant pay increase.

"Once a person gets that 'master status,' many school districts give a 10-15 percent bonus on top of your salary," said Hill. "Teachers get more money for additional years of service and for graduate education. On top of that, it’s really nice to have National Board Teaching Certification – that is one of the selling points for our program."  

Hill came to CSULB in 2001 after serving as the chair of the Department of Physical Education at Seattle Pacific from 1989-2001, where he ran a similar program.

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