Harnessing the Power of 'Game' in Physical Education: towards the CARE Curriculum

Palmer, Clive Alan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9925-2811, Sprake, Andrew orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5164-770X and Grecic, David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1487-8327 (2024) Harnessing the Power of 'Game' in Physical Education: towards the CARE Curriculum. In: Game in Physical Education, Physical Activities and Sport of Children and Youth: Researches-Best Practices-Situation. Motor Activities, Physical Education and Sport . Federation Internationale D'Education Physique et Sportive (FIEPS). ISBN 9791255680956 (In Press)

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This chapter reveals ‘game’ as a contested concept, a concept which has direct genealogy to the use of games as codified sports or field games, such as rugby, football, hockey, netball etc. that Western Education systems commonly promote. The interesting tension between the concept of ‘game’ and the pursuit of physical games in sport, is the claim for their useful educational impacts on two counts: i. concerning moral and ethical [character] development of good citizens through the playing of field games, and ii, the preparing of children and youth to get on in life through the use of strategy and competition. The second point has become particularly powerful, almost dominating in a society driven by a Utilitarian ethic and Capitalism. For example, as a product of learning through ‘game’ (and sporting field games) doing well in life seemingly equates to maximising profits or gain (winning) to achieve the greatest good. Therefore, we see that Physical Education has a pivotal and influential stake in the grand educational plan of preparing young people for life, where a concept of ‘game’ is intrinsically connected to field games in PE. To explore this tension, a tactic in our chapter is to travel back and forth in time to see how the values and motives for games and ‘game’ have been promoted, shared, developed and contested. We discovered that while there has been much evolution and learning about sports culture and the impact of games and ‘game’ in our society over the last 150 years, the reasons, values and interests to include field games in curricula and extracurricula activities has not changed over this period. This coincides with a period of evolution in formal State Education plans and policies, where ‘game’ and games have been imported, given that notions of strategy and competition in business and sporting pastimes through games existed long before this period. However, the status of Physical Education, with its key role and responsibility for nurturing an understanding of ‘game’ through the practice of games has diminished at the present time, become stuck in a cave, compared to the status of other subjects on the National Curriculum in the UK, almost to the point of non-existence in the Primary sector. Leading PE out of the cave and into the light is the CARE Curriculum, which is a new perspective on how to facilitate practical games experiences for learners, but placing the learner at the centre of operations for personal growth. Learners do not become subservient to ‘game’, having to adapt and keep up with the race, - or be at risk of dropping out completely. CARE is a more inclusive curricula for becoming physically educated through games, rather than merely honing survival skills where only the fittest can win or benefit. This is achieved by concentrating entirely upon Cognitive, Active, Relational and Emotional aspects of development through games and physical activity. CARE is a new lens of operating with the ‘game’ concept, utilising physical games for personal development that can enable Physical Education to assert its true status as the leading core subject in the grand educational plan for children and youth.

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