What Should the Field of Physical Activity Education Promote in the 21st Century?

(Publisher’s Note: In the following essay, Dr. Earle Zeigler shares with PHE America readers his thoughts on the status of physical education today and what he thinks the profession should do to advance. Now aged 98, Dr. Zeigler has for many years been one of the profession’s most prolific, respected, and influential scholars (check out his Biography here). Earle tells me this will likely be one of his final professional contributions. Enjoy, reflect on Earle’s ideas, and please share with colleagues. I know that Earle would enjoy reading your own thoughts if you post them in the comments section below the essay~Steve)


What should the field of physical (activity) education promote in the 21st Century? Knowing that unpredictable social forces will bring unanticipated change, what can we as professionals do in the years immediately ahead to ensure that our field along with educational sport is fully recognized in educational circles throughout the world? I believe that the positive steps we choose should consist of actions that will result in purposeful accomplishments by the men and women who are concerned about the future of developmental physical activity as a valuable component of human life from “womb to tomb.”

The following recommended actions are based on where I believe the profession is today and what needs to be done. We should seek worldwide consensus on these recommendations and agreement on what it’s going to take to achieve them. Then, as dedicated professional educators at all levels, we should take as rapid and strong action as we can muster working closely with our professional associations.

Join PHE America in Supporting SHAPE America’s 50 Million Strong by 2029 Commitment

What are you doing to support 50 Million Strong? PHE America has published many essays illustrating what 50MS is and what some teachers are doing to support it. Just type "50 Million Strong" in the Search box to get a listing. But how about YOU? What are you doing? PHE America will continue to share insights and opinions about 50MS but we can't succeed alone. As others have said, "It depends on US" to advance this vision of transforming the physical activity and health habits of the nation's 50 million students by 2029. Join the team and let us know what you are doing so we can share ideas with colleagues around the country. Success will only happen if each one of us takes responsibility for changing the activity and health habits of the students we teach. Added together that's how to reach 50 million lives!