I Years understanding fitness

By Kelly Lupton, PE Manager, RMCC

First in a series of 4 articles

Physical Education Curriculum Updates in Response to the New Course Training Plan

The Physical Education (PE) Program at RMCC has made many modifications and adjustments over the years to deal with changes in College leadership expectations and changing interests in the CF and Canadian Demographic. However, no changes have been as succinctly made, with careful thought on the progression of an OCdts development, as the changes that have been made this year. These changes were in response to an update in the RMCC Qualification Standard and Course Training Plan currently in progress. Over the next few weeks e-Veritas will be reporting on the details of these changes in the PE Program, how they impact both what and how the Officer Cadets (OCdts) are learning in PE, and how the curriculum will assist them while at RMCC and in their futures as Officers in the CF.

Development Period 1 – Fit for Self, Fit to Lead

The First Year PE Program at RMCC is a full year course that covers topics related to personal fitness and health, knowing how to train, and being fit enough with the requisite skills and knowledge to lead others in a PT and Sport environment.

With collaboration between the RMCC PE Curriculum Coordinator Stephane Robert and his colleagues in the RMCC and CMRSJ PE Staffs, the strength and conditioning classes were developed. According to Stephane the main focus of the strength and conditioning portion of the curriculum is placed on “thoroughly learning the basic human movements along with simple and effective ways to incorporate them into a properly structured strength and conditioning program”. More specifically, OCdts will learn the keys to creating and delivering an effective warm up and cool down, learn key concept in energy systems and basic fitness program development, perfect basic movements (like deadlift, squat, military press, etc. and including functional strength requirements of traversing a 6 foot wall, and climbing a rope), and finish it all off with lessons in leadership techniques for PT and sport environments. For the first time, OCdts at RMCC will be completing a written comprehensive exam to confirm their understanding of the key concepts.

The way in which the strength and conditioning program is being delivered is also seeing a change. This year the OCdts are broken into group in which they have the same PE teacher throughout the entire 12 weeks of strength and conditioning classes (in the past they moved from teacher to teacher every four weeks to cover different topics). The PE teachers prefer this approach because, as Stephane puts it, “it allows us to really get to know each of the OCdts, cater to their individual needs, and also allows us to shift our lessons from week to week depending on how well certain topics are being understood”.

Overall, when Stephane was asked about his impressions of the change in direction of the first year PE curriculum he said, “I believe the OCdts will come out with a huge advantage in their understanding of fitness, specifically the practical side of strength and conditioning, over other Officers like those at Civi U, and at a level that even most Civilian University Kinesiology students may receive.”

The other significant change to the PE curriculum for First Years has to do with health education. With the focus on personal health and fitness there has been a shift to a more holistic approach to the health topics covered. Still focusing on the “self”, the health classes not only cover nutrition concepts as before, but they also branch out to cover topics dealing with a variety of determinants of health suggested by the World Health Organization. As Sharon Ash, Acting Health Promotion Director for CFB Kingston and health teacher, puts it, “this program allows OCdts to become more aware and educated on the aspects of health in which they have control to make better lifestyle choices.”

Health topics now include social wellness, and addiction free living in addition to nutritional aspects of wellness. HP staff also added a goal setting piece so that participants could learn to prioritize, set and potentially achieve realistic health improvements. When asked what topic seems to generate the most discussion and interest in this new curriculum Sharon said, “the addition of e-chug (a post-secondary quiz on alcohol consumption) which you can try yourself at http://everydrinkisachoice.com and “Don’t Be That Guy”, a campaign to inform students about alcohol related sexual consent has created the opportunity to engage OCdts in discussion around relevant, age appropriate issues.”

With a well thought out health and fitness curriculum, one which educates and provides tools for First Years to carry with them for the rest of their careers in the CF, the excitement for us in the Athletic Department is to begin seeing these First Year OCdts move on at RMCC and begin applying these skills and knowledge in a leadership role. Stay tuned to read the upcoming articles that will share with you how the Second Year curriculum looks to foster these skills.

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