Physical Literacy and Education

What is Physical Literacy?

International Physical Literacy Association defines Physical Literacy as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life”.

The approach is unique because it puts special emphasis on the role of motivation and enjoyment in making people value and engage in physical activity.

Why Physical Literacy?

A joint research by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have found that Indians have registered a 50% increase in the prevalence of ischemic heart disease and stroke over the period from 1990 to 2016, with the number of diabetes cases climbing from 26 million to 65 million. In the same period, the number of people ailing from chronic obstructive lung disease went up from 28 million to 55 million. Being overweight was found to be a major risk factor for diabetes doubled in every State of India from 1990 to 2016. These numbers depict a serious public health issue, with an enormous consequence for the Indian society.

Poor health and education are inextricably linked. Majority of the schools prioritise alphabetic literacy and numeracy, which leaves students without physical literacy which they need to lead a healthy life. Over the past years, most of the schools use all the Physical Education periods to complete their core subject syllabuses. This along with a technology-driven lifestyle, absence of play grounds, dearth of Physical Education teachers and a lack of awareness about the importance of Physical Education.

Additionally, sports classes/periods, inherently, operate on the principle of exclusion – focusing on the talented few. This often demotivates the other children. However, when Physical Literacy is incorporated in the Physical Education curriculum then the sports classes become inclusive, enjoyable and positive experience. And research proves that children who are physically literate are more confident to play games and participate in sports. Thus these skills give people the tools to engage in health-enhancing physical activity for life.

What’s ELMS Sports Foundation Doing?

To facilitate this process, ELMS Sports Foundation proposes a cohesive approach. Our approach supports every stakeholder with the necessary interventions to help adopt a physical literacy mindset. Towards achieving this, ELMS is working with school principals, school teachers, Physical Education teachers, government authorities and organisation as well as with private sector stakeholders.

ELMS conducts periodic training and development workshops for physical education and primary teachers. It also provides necessary resources for teachers and students in the form of structured class wise curriculum, lesson plans, assessments, and child activity books. These resources help teachers and students in implementing PL and adding to their body of knowledge along with their on-ground experience. ELMS team also provides support to teachers and educationists by on-field reviews and periodic assessments.

ELMS Sports Foundation has adapted a bottom-up approach which empowers PE teachers at the grassroots level with the knowledge, skills, and attitude required to help children develop Physical Literacy during PE or sports classes. ELMS uses a "train the trainer" model in which PE teachers are tutored to become Master Trainers who in turn train other PE teachers in their respective regions, giving a larger number of children access to quality Physical Education and an opportunity to being Physically Literate for life.