April 2019 Service-Learning Newsletter

“Moving for Life”

Ginny Steinkamp

Hannah Tichy, a sophomore Elementary Education student, understands the importance of promoting healthy habits in the classroom. This semester, in Professor Mary Flynn’s Elementary Physical Education Curriculum class, Tichy and her classmates are serving at Trinity Lutheran School (TLS) by planning and teaching physical education classes to elementary students.

Lisa Brookover, Principal of TLS, has appreciated the Benedictine College students’ work with her own students. “The teachers love it,” she stated. “I don’t have anyone who is certified in P.E., so, you know, that’s probably not one of their strengths compared to reading or math. So, they certainly appreciate having somebody come in that knows what kind of skills and wellness the students should be working on.” Benedictine students used the knowledge obtained in the classroom about healthy movement that promotes development to inform their planning and teaching of the physical education lessons.

Brookover also was thrilled to have students excited and engaged in the physical education instruction received from these Ravens. “When they hear that someone is coming to conduct the class other than their teachers, they get pretty excited too. Also, there’s really no behavior issues. Because they keep the kids so engaged, they aren’t having to worry about anybody not participating,” Brookover responded. The students and teachers of TLS have enjoyed partnering with Benedictine students and Professor Flynn because they have seen the physical education activities as a positive addition to the elementary students’ educational experience.

For the future educators in Professor Flynn’s class, this experience is invaluable. Tichy said, “I definitely learned more about myself in the sense that I learned more humility... It taught me more about having joy in doing the little thing like having a positive attitude for them.” Specifically, this has been an eye-opening experience about physical education rather than traditional academic instruction. “It does make a difference, because we are learning about the proper ways to gallop and learn and helping students learn the right way, so they don’t hurt their bodies. The kids can develop naturally. In that sense, we are helping them to be able to move for life,” Tichy commented. The Education students are required to write a paper that facilitates reflection on their experience in the classroom. Through reflection and service, service-learning is a key component in this course. Flynn says, “Developing empathy is a big part of understanding others we come in contact with. Service-learning humbles us and forces us to think of others’ needs instead of focusing on ourselves.”

The service-learning element was also found by students to bring a special weight to the class. Tichy stated, “You feel like you’re giving yourself more. So, it makes it more personal and more meaningful. You’re getting a chance to help other people, and even if the kids don’t remember anything, you’re getting to help out their teacher for 45 or 30 minutes, whatever that may be.” Benedictine students, TLS students, and TLS teachers all benefit from the physical education lessons provided by Professor Flynn’s Elementary Physical Education Curriculum class. Through this collaboration, Flynn says she hopes that her students will understand, “…the importance of teachers in the building of community.” With practice, the future educators studying at Benedictine College will have the skills and experience to be builders of community themselves.