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The Nature and Values of Physical Education Essay

Physical educators have been recognized as contributors to school curriculum after a long and hard fight. Physical education proponents have claimed alliances with psychology, morality, science and medicine; these are the things that have validated physical education in the educational milieu (Singleton, 2009). These claims have influenced the conception of physical educators about the importance of knowledge in physical education.

Performance pedagogy is an education that is based on experience meaning that it does not related to one’s nature but is connected with what has already been experienced through performing.

It is characterized by technocratic rationality because it may be differentiated from discourses of science, psychology, and medicine, and when it is interpreted and translated to study of human development, it gives knowledge that was important to the early physical educators.

Limits of performance pedagogy are that the methods used in its measure are not valid; it is due to the fact that there is no model or theory used in its measure. Also, the selection criterion for the participants is only clear for the researcher.

Learning in constructivist theory is when individuals create understandings in their own new way basing on the interaction between what they know and what they believe, together with the knowledge and ideas they come across.

The theoretical assumptions of constructivist curriculum include the following: a learner actively constructs the meaning of something around a phenomenon, and whatever he or she constructs is idiosyncratic, or rather unique to an individual and these constructions are influenced by his or her prior experiences.

The current curriculum models of physical education that are informed by constructivist theories are sociological and psychological models. The sociological approach focuses on ways in which political, social and economic factors together with power affect the way a crowd of people create their understandings and form knowledge about their surroundings (Richardson, 2003).

On the other hand, psychological model revolves around ways used to create meaning in an individual’s mind and how the meaning that shared is developed in a group process. However, the two models focus on an individual in a social setting and focuses on him or her as a learner.

Richardson warns that constructivism that is psychologically focused shows how shared meaning is developed in a group process; however, there are some curricula which provide a possibility for students to choose activities. Also, there is no document for curriculum, which mentions students’ possibility of generating shared meanings because they are either decided by their instructors or themselves (Richardson, 2003).

He also warns that sociological model constructivism employ students in the production processes of knowledge, and at the same time examines the manner in which power works to give privileges to some people as it marginalizes others.

However, each curriculum of secondary physical education emphasizes the importance of having young people of different background, needs, abilities as well as interests. Marginalization does not encourage equity for girls and ethnic minorities in physical education, which creates an imbalance in both performance and participation.

In the past, physical education was considered to consist of only physical and practical activities, however, the recent research has justified that physical education can be included in the curriculum on the basis of scientific and intellectual merit. According to Laker (2001), justification of scientific and intellectual merit of physical education has eroded the role of physical education in schools.

In the recent years, research has developed theorized curriculum, which has led to a better understanding of the importance of physical education (McNamee, 2005). Constructivist theories have been used widely to develop programs that take students as active players in learning and teachers as facilitators (lee, 2003).

However, despite the progress, physical education is still considered as a component of leisure by some teachers rather than a contribution to the educational process (Kirk & Tinning, 1990).

The constructivist curricula implemented in physical education have enhanced students learning by developing their own understandings, as well as learning processes (Dyson, 2005). The curricula have also provided opportunities for students to challenge existing beliefs and understanding.

Reference List

Dyson, B. (2005). Integrating cooperative learning and tactical games models: Focusing on social interactions and decision making. London: Routledge.

Kirk, D., & Tinning, R. (1990). Introduction: Physical education, curriculum and culture. London: Falmer.

Laker, A. (2001). Developing personal, social and moral education through physical education. London: Routledge.

Lee, A. (2003). Student learning in physical education: Using research to enhance instruction. London: Routledge.

McNamee, M. (2005). The nature and values of physical education. London: Sage.

Richardson, V. (2003). Constructivist Pedagogy. Teach Coll Rec, 105(9), pp.1623-1637.

Singleton, E. (2009). From Command to Constructivism: Canadian Secondary School Physical Education Curriculum and Teaching Games for Understanding. London: University of Western Ontario.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Nature and Values of Physical Education." May 17, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/physical-education-essay/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Nature and Values of Physical Education'. 17 May.

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