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St. Bonaventure students make presentations at physical education and sport studies state conference

Nov 30, 2022

IN PHOTO: Members of St. Bonaventure’s men's and women's rugby teams demonstrate to conference attendees how to adapt basic rugby drills to physical education programs for all ages so as to build teamwork, decision-making and communication skills.

Rugby presentationStudents at St. Bonaventure University presented at the 84th annual conference of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, held Nov. 18 at the Turning Stone Convention Center in Verona, New York.
The association is the governing organization for the physical education and sport studies programs at St. Bonaventure.
Two presentations were made by two groups of students. 
Members of SBU’s men’s and women’s rugby teams, led by women’s Head Coach Meredith Pyke and team captain Kaylee Vincent, a senior education major and president of the university’s Physical Activity Club (PAC), presented “Soar with the Aspirations of St. Bonaventure’s National Championship Rugby Team.”
Other presenters included Josh Brill, a senior physical education major and PAC secretary; Luke Ishman, a junior sport studies major and PAC treasurer; senior education majors Kaylee Middaugh, Macy Beardsley and Taylor Biata; Nicholas Codd, a sophomore health science major; and three students who are part of the university’s Military Aligned Program: Alexis Switzer, a junior business major; Rocco Arnold, a senior physical education major; and Kole McClain, a freshman history major.
Also part of the presentation was Dr. Paula Scraba, O.S.F., associate professor of physical education and the faculty adviser for PAC and other organizations.
Scraba accepted a special Department Major of the Year Award for Griffin Witte, a senior physical education major, PAC vice president, and captain of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team. Witte was attending an invitational swim meet and was not present to accept the honor.
The second presentation, “Educating the Whole Person through Humanities-Oriented Physical Education,” was led by Dr. Daekyun Oh, assistant professor of physical education, and five senior physical education majors: Joey Gombatto, Joe T. Magro, Kevin Pease, Ray Werner and Rocco Arnold. 
Throughout the fall semester, the students conducted a project with Oh in which they learned about the humanities-oriented approach to physical education and implemented it in their student-teaching experiences. This approach emphasizes providing students with not only sport skill development, but also exposing them to humanities-based aspects of sport. For instance, a physical education teacher might create a basketball class with various stations, one in which you practice dribbling, another where you read a basketball book, a third where you watch an NBA game, and so on, so that students experience a wide range of activities related to basketball.
This holistic approach to physical education instruction is popular in South Korea, Oh’s native country, but not in the United States. The project, supported by a Keenan Grant from St. Bonaventure, showed the possibility of implementing this alternative approach in the U.S., Oh said. It believed to be the first practical implementation of humanities-oriented physical education instruction in the country.
All of the St. Bonaventure students also participated in the conference’s “Future Professionals Program,” during which students honed their interview skills and were helped to prepare for New York state teacher licensing assessments.
“One thing I learned from the conference is that the way your classes are organized can truly impact your students’ abilities to learn effectively,” said Ishman, one of the students who gave the rugby presentation. “It also taught me that it’s important to realize that your actions as a teacher strongly impact your students, as well as the importance of networking with other professionals around you.”
Scraba called the conference “a wonderful opportunity” for the professional development of St. Bonaventure students. “I’m grateful for the support from the various programs at the university that make this possible every year,” she said.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.