Charlie's Legacy

Charlie's Legacy  
Charles A Bucher left a huge legacy. Not only to me but to 1000's of students around the globe. This is a call to arms with long overdue thanks to Charlie.

Nearly 30 years ago when I started my physical education degree with 60 other first year students, I leaned heavily on a core text by Charles A. Bucher called "Foundations of Physical Education". Hardly an assignment was submitted without some quote or slab of work taken from Charles's book, because at the time this was seen to be the bible of the course.

Over 600 pages devoted to analyzing such issues as the nature, scope and philosophy of physical education, physiological and sociological interpretations of physical education, Skinners operant conditioning theory, Hull's reinforcement theory, Thorndike's laws of learning and so on and so forth ad nauseum..........the book was a literal treasure trove of academic concepts that made an 18 year old country boy’s head spin!

I saw a picture of Charlie once. A profile shot, black glasses on an academics face, like one you might see in a 60's yearbook. Looked a bit like Clark Kent, the original superman. I must say that through most of my time at College I didn't really connect with Charlie. All except for one line that I found one night and that has stuck with me through my career. “Education of and through the physical”.

For me this little pearl is the cornerstone, the essence. You see, Charlie the academic knew all about Homer (not from the Simpson's!) but the blind Greek bard who 3000 years ago wrote the Odyssey and Iliad and about their heroes Achilles (the man of Action) and Odysseus (the man of wisdom) with mind and muscle being the perfect components for education. Charlie knew that the only way to develop sound physical education practices was to instil in physical educators and the kids they touched the concept of educating through doing activity and educating about the benefits of being physically active. A balance of knowing and not just doing is the key.

It seems to me that we are losing this balance rapidly. It seems the doing part is more important than the knowing. Physical education being dropped as a core school subject and being replaced by after school sports programs is ludicrous. So too is throwing millions of dollars at obesity campaigns led in clinic like fashion by high profile stars and teenagers in after school positions of responsibility. Increased involvement in formalized sport is surely not the answer. Children need to be equipped with generalized, transferable skills on a regular basis by a qualified individual, in a formalized setting. They need to be educated on correct techniques and know why it is important to their long-term health that they stay active.

No other program can replace this simple fact. No amount of money, athlete involvement or television ad campaign can do what sound, school based physical education can. Forget trying to reinvent the wheel. Let's get back to basics. Put the education back into physical education and not try and replace it with some trumped up, short sighted, political campaign.

As Charlie would say it’s time to put action man and wisdom man together again.    


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