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What is PE? Sport, education and society
Coulter, Maura; Ní Chróinín, Déirdre
Physical education is a socially constructed activity that forms one component of a wider physical culture that includes sport and health/physical activity (Kirk, 1999, Lake, 2001a: 69, Penney, 1998). The terms sport and physical education are often used interchangeably in school contexts, where sport and health continue to shape what is understood by the term physical education (Capel & Blair, 2007). This study explores discourses shaping pre-service primary teachers’ understandings of the nature and purposes of physical education within an Irish context and the relationship between these understandings. A ten minute writing task (Pike, 2006) prompted by the question ‘what is physical education?’ was completed by a sample of pre-service teachers (n=544, age range 18-46, 8.8% male) from two colleges of education, prior to the physical education component of their teacher education programme. Content analysis involved an initial text frequency search to create categories which were collapsed into three broad areas of students’ understandings of physical education – sport, health and physical education. The research design allowed access to preservice teachers’ understandings of physical education. Participants’ understandings reflected their own school experiences and were framed within health and sport ideologies of physical education. Although acknowledged as an important part of school life physical education was perceived as a break from academic subjects where the purpose of learning was to learn sports and activities to stay fit and healthy. While the overwhelmingly positive nature of participants’ experiences and the changing discourses around competition and team games are encouraging the dominant discourses of physical education continue to reflect the dominant aspects of wider physical culture in Ireland. The capacity of physical education to move beyond reproducing dominant sport and health ideologies provides a significant challenge to teacher education contexts, to challenge dominant discourses and recreate understandings of physical education for future action.
Keyword(s): Education; Health; Sport; Physical education; Culture; Physical Activity; Initial Teacher Education
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): Coulter, Maura and Ní Chróinín, Déirdre (2011) What is PE? Sport, education and society. Sport, Education and Society, 18 (6). pp. 825-841. ISSN 1470-1243
Publisher(s): Taylor and Francis
File Format(s): application/pdf
Related Link(s):,
First Indexed: 2016-12-03 06:03:36 Last Updated: 2019-02-09 06:16:33