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Physical Education Teacher Education program earns another recognition

Anthony Rodriguez
March 20, 2018

If you ask Phil Ward who the 2018 SHAPE Scholar Award honors, he won’t say it’s him.

Instead, the professor of kinesiology would rather commend the people with whom he collaborates on his work.

Nonetheless, Ward will be recognized this week with the 2018 Scholar Award from the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America).

“He’s done high-quality research for many, many years,” said Hans Van der Mars, a professor at Arizona State University who nominated Ward. “Some of the work he has been doing to improve content knowledge of teachers is groundbreaking. It’s important.”

Phil Ward

The research Ward has led during the last six years is based in helping physical education teachers understand teaching progressions they can use to best affect children’s learning.

The work to improve the way teachers instruct children and improve their own learning has informed teaching standards in the United States.

In addition to recognizing his work, Ward will deliver a lecture March 21 at the SHAPE America National Convention on why he believes the state of physical education teacher education in higher education is misunderstood.

“There’s a tremendous need for physical education teachers,” he said. “The job market is very strong. For example, this year, the New York City Department of Education is looking to hire 200 physical education teachers. The challenge for the short term is we don’t have enough people entering teaching in general and physical education teaching specifically, but this is temporary. There are policy changes coming that will impact the teaching profession in the coming five years and one of those impacts will be an increase in admissions.”

The Scholar Award is one of several honors the faculty in Ohio State’s physical education teacher education have received from SHAPE in four years. In 2016, Samuel Hodge, professor of kinesiology, accepted the Scholar Award. And in 2014, the entire physical education teacher education faculty was given SHAPE’s Honor Award, the first time an entire faculty has received the award. Also, in 2014, Ward received the SHAPE America Curriculum and Instruction Honor Award.

“It’s a great honor,” Ward said of his recognition. “The people who have won this award are significant scholars; they are leaders. It’s incredible to be in that company. But this recognition really belongs to all the people who have been involved in this work.”