Afternoon everyone, I plan on writing a bit about an article I read today and then asking you some questions, of which I am looking forward to hearing your opinions.
Today I read a very interesting article by Ken Hardman (2008), the purpose of his research was to identify the current state of physical education in Europe. Now obviously lots of things have changed since 2008, the British PE curriculum, just to mention one. However, when reading through the article a number of things jumped out at me that are still present today, in 2015.
Hardman suggests that “across Europe, there was a gradual erosion of school PE time allocation throughout the 20th century”, countries such as Denmark, Sweden, France and Greece all lost allocated time dedicated to PE. This was put down to the significance of PE as a subject, schools tended to prioritize subjects that had more educational/academic value. Although the time allocation problem seems to have stayed the same, PE as a subject still seems to be less of a priority in comparison to other academic subjects.
Particularly in my current school, a large majority of pupils’ parents place no importance on PE as a subject and are more concerned about target grades and attainment in Maths and Science. I think this is predominantly down to a lack of, or misunderstanding of what PE actually is. Culturally, a substantial amount of our parents want their children to become doctors or engineers, which is completely fair. However, they seem to not acknowledge the fact their children need to learn about healthy, active lifestyles and making correct decisions throughout their time in school and for the rest of their lives.
So the struggle in this particular example is in fact ‘promoting PE’, educating parents and pupils what PE is as a subject, what our main aims and objectives are. Our so called ‘promises’. This is an example from outside Europe within a completely different culture.
In Europe comparatively, knowledge of the subject and its objectives is, in general, much higher. PE is well regarded within Germany, Spain, Finland and Sweden, just to mention a few. However, Hardman suggests that the promises of PE curriculum aren’t actually being kept in reality.
Over the last few years PE practitioners have been imagining, innovating and developing some great initiatives that could be used to help reach these ‘promises’, but as Dr Ashley Casey and Dr Vicky Goodyear have previously stated, many of these initiatives never actually make it past the ‘honeymoon phase’.
In order for the reputation of PE to increase we need to ensure that we are meeting the ‘promises’ that our subject sets out to achieve.
The questions I am somewhat ‘long-winded-ly’ trying to get around to posing to you are these;
How do we increase the reputation and priority of PE as a subject?
How can we make our subject as important, if not more important, than other academic subjects?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.