Physical Education or Physical Entertainment: where's the education in PE?

Sprake, Andrew orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5164-770X and Temple, Claire (2016) Physical Education or Physical Entertainment: where's the education in PE? Journal of Qualitative Research in Sports Studies, 10 (1). pp. 157-176.

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This paper discusses the educational value and supposed purpose of Physical Education within the National Curriculum. It is suggested from the outset that there is a significant lack of evidence to support the claims made for Physical Education being educational. The paper discusses some of the barriers to, and opportunities for, Physical Education achieving its recognised educational aims. In doing so, the National Curriculum for Physical Education (NCPE), the influence of the teacher and the health agenda for Physical Education are all explored in relation to their potential impact upon Physical Education achieving its educational capabilities. Teachers’ experiences of Physical Education, both as pupils and also of their Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programmes are considered, as well as current pupils’ perceptions of Physical Education experiences. Changes to the NCPE and PETE are suggested and it is recommended that more research be conducted involving pupils’ perceptions of the subject. The paper concludes that, in its current state, Physical Education is frequently reduced to physical entertainment, of which the claimed educational outcomes are seldom explored or evidenced. The holistic educational value of Physical Education has yet to be fully realised and it would seem that, in order to achieve its true educative potential, Physical Education is in need of a philosophical and pedagogical overhaul.

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