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Basic Concepts of Physical Education

Chapter Overview

The one experience common to almost all people in this country is attending school during childhood. Not all of us went to the same kind of school. Differences in some cases are substantial. Nevertheless, we have all been students, and most of us have taken classes in good old "fizz ed." That experience no doubt partially shaped what each of us believes physical education to be, or what we think it should be. As you read this chapter, and study the basic concepts related to physical education, keep your own fizz-ed experience in mind, and use it as a standard against which to evaluate the ideas described here.

The theories presented may differ dramatically from the reality you experienced. That is all right. Educational theories are typically idealized models of the way things could be rather than descriptions of the way things are. Nonetheless, remember that without visions of how things could be, it would be difficult to improve education.

Introducing basic concepts of physical education is somewhat different from introducing basic concepts of sport and fitness. We can define cardiovascular fitness clearly, and we know what type of program and activities we would have to employ to achieve it. It is not possible to achieve that level of specificity when discussing physical education. Table 11.1 shows the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) definition of a physically educated person. Table 11.2 shows the outcomes that demonstrate achievement of the qualities stated in the definition. Although the definition and the outcomes seem specific, there is little agreement within physical education about how to achieve them; thus, ideas about what physical education should be vary widely.

In this chapter, we present the major contemporary points of view about physical education with as little bias as possible so that you can decide which point of view seems most able to help children and youths become physically educated people. To understand these competing contemporary views, however, you should know some historical background, which is summarized in the box titled "Reminder.


Chapter Objectives

To discuss definitions of physical education
To analyze education-through-the-physical and multiactivity programs
To describe and discuss alternative curriculum influences
To describe the development of and issues in adapted physical education
To analyze the influences of liability and Title IX on physical education
To formulate your own view on the central meaning and preferred focus of physical education

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