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Ms. Black’s IB elective is a healthy choice

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This year marks the fifth year that physical education instructor Ms. Beth Black is teaching IB Sports/Exercise and Health Sciences (IB SEHS), one of the classes that she is most passionate about. This year, she plans on implementing new ideas of hers to further enhance the course, but also reflects on how her experience teaching IB SEHS has progressed in the last four years.

IB SEHS serves to some extent as a more rigorous extension of the health portion of the mandatory P.E. classes that students at the school have to take in their freshman and sophomore years. “The foundation of the course content is human anatomy/physiology and biomechanics,” Ms. Black said. “Students in IB SEHS will develop a conceptual framework for modern sport and exercise physiology to help them gain an appreciation of science as a process.”

It tends to be a popular choice in elective for those that found the health portion of P.E./Health engaging and want to be occupied in those topics in the future. “I wanted to take a class that related to health and medicine because I’m thinking of pursuing that in college,” junior Anne Zetculik. “When I saw SEHS on the list of options, I knew it was right for me.”

IB SEHS follows the mandated IB curriculum, so the content hasn’t changed very much since Ms. Black started teaching. However, the change in class atmosphere that Ms. Black has experienced is one that she is very pleased with. “The biggest difference is the amount of interest we now have in the class!” Ms. Black said. “I began the class with only eight students in one section of IB SEHS. Now, I have two sections of SEHS and 25 students enrolled in the class.”

Ms. Black values interest on the part of her students because she, herself, is very enthusiastic about this course and its its content. “Ms. Black sometimes mentioned [her IB class] in our 9th grade P.E. class,” sophomore Arantxa Bonifaz said. “I think that she really wanted to encourage us to take that class if we were interested in health and wanted to go deeper into some of these topics. She was definitely also very keen about the different units that we studied during the health semester and what we learned in P.E., but I could tell that IB SEHS is one of her biggest passions.”

Luckily, Ms. Black’s students do meet her expectations in terms of their involvement and attentiveness in IB SEHS. She believes that their level of engrossment in the class makes it more enjoyable on both ends. “My favorite thing about teaching this course is the level of engagement of the students,” Ms. Black said. “It is evident that those who sign up for my IB course want to be there and want to learn what is being taught, everyday. Because students elect or personally choose to take this class, effort and engagement in the material is a big difference from the other classes I teach. I also enjoy that the information I teach is very current and encourages me to keep up with the day to day of what’s new in exercise science.”

For most students in the class, interest in the content itself is the reason that they made the decision to take IB SEHS. Ms. Black’s inherent interest in the content only makes the it that much more gripping. “I’ve always been interested in the physical and psychological aspects of exercise and this class combines the two,” junior Eva Arnade said. “My favorite thing about [IB SEHS] is how relevant it is. Everything we learn about relates to our bodies and can be applied to everyday activities. As for Ms. Black’s teaching style, she does a great job of explaining things in ways that make sense and make the material come alive.”

Even students not in Ms. Black’s IB SEHS class felt that her genuine interest in the subjects allowed her to be a better teacher. “She taught using a lot of examples,” sophomore Mauricio Alarcon, who was in Health/P.E. I with Ms. Black, said. “They were not all just general examples. Many were really from her personal life and experiences, which helped me learn a lot.”

In fact, because of the way that Ms. Black fostered the interests of the students that she has had in her P.E./Health I class, many of them are looking into taking IB SEHS in the future. “I definitely think that taking IB SEHS sometime is a possibility,” Bonifaz said. “I like health, and I feel like I would be interested enough in that area to enjoy the class. Ms. Black helped me to fuel that interest last year when we touched on topics like nutrition over the duration of the semester. It was really fun for me. IB SEHS is an option that I’m planning to look into in to for junior or senior year.”

To make the course as interactive as possible, Ms. Black uses each year as a stepping stone to improve upon the next year. This is in hopes of adding something better to the course every time she teaches it.  “Last year we did not not get a chance to go to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia,” Ms. Black said. “This year, I plan to try and make that happen.”

There are many improvements and enhancements that Ms. Black has in store for IB SEHS in the future to engage students even more. “I am headed to training in February of 2018 to prepare myself to teach HL level content,” Ms. Black said. “We hope in the near future to be able to offer both SL and HL versions of IB SEHS. Also, take this class. You will not regret it.”

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Ms. Black’s IB elective is a healthy choice