I’ve just read about the concept of “kaizen” in Angela Maier’s “White Paper on Student Engagement.” Here’s what she has to say:
“Kaizen: Kaizen is the Japanese term for “continuous improvement”, a concept we should take to heart if we want students to achieve their personal and professional best. Small changes, if done every day,can make a big impact over time.” Angela Maiers
I’ve thought about this recently because our Physical Education classes have been in reading about the Presidential Fitness standards. I talked to their teacher, and he said that he is going to have them learn about the standards, then they will take the assessments to see where they are physically on those standards, then over the course of 12 weeks, they will also research what they can do to incrementally improve toward meeting those standards.
Now, when I was in Middle School taking the Presidential Fitness assessments, I was basically told. “Oh, you have no upper body strength.” Period. The point was that I didn’t meet the standard and there was no use in trying to improve. My 12-year-old interpretation? – I couldn’t be “perfect,” so why try? It simply never occurred to me that although I might not meet or exceed the standards, I could at least work to be better than I was that day. And that this would be good for my health, confidence, and personal well-being.
I love that our school’s Physical Education Department is so different from what I grew up with, and that they are giving our students the gift of experiencing Kaizen. You may not be a top athlete, but you can certainly spend each day improving a little more toward your own personal wellness goals. Physical Education is so important in fostering this resilience not only in health, but in life attitudes as well. We can always be a little better than we are today. Kudos to School Athletics!