Some would argue that it hasn’t while others would say that it has changed fundamentally. I guess it depends ‘from which angle you look.’ Pedagogical (and anecdotally) the answers would be it doesn’t appear to have changed noticeably. Indeed many of my own observations and those of colleagues who visit schools would suggest that the teacher is firm ensconced at the heart of the classroom and deliberately misquote John Dewey he or she is the sun around which the machinations of education revolve. The teacher/instructor led class who are trained from an early age to stand in queues and do only what hey are told (much in the same way as Pavlov Dogs) seems to be a feature of the current day (and I deliberately avoid the use of the word modern in that sentence). 

However, what is done in the name of physical education has changed considerably. The military drill of the late 19th century has been replaced in turn by gymnastics and then games. Yet the focus on games hasn’t notably changed for 50 years or more. So perhaps we are closer the 19th century that the 21st century? If so where did all the good teachers go? Well they are still here. When I talk to my students about their school physical education experiences they wax lyrical about the wonderful jobs that their teachers did and how they inspired them to be involved in sport for the foreseeable future. Yet the voices we don’t hear are perhaps the ones we need t hear. What about those who don’t follow a career in sport or aspire to be physical education teachers or coaches? We need to hear from them. So what does/did physical education mean to them? A quick search on twitter for “physical education” will bring up a lot of advocacy (from teachers) and lot of advertising (of books and jobs) and a lot of unhappy people (it makes sober reading).

This means, for me, that we need to take back the gyms and the play fields for the kids and ensure, above all, that we help create in them a love of moving. This means giving them a choice and ripping up the ‘rulebook’ when it comes to physical education. We need to recapture the term and make it mean something special to everyone (or a close to everyone as we can manage).

Let me know your thoughts.


(Blog 4 in my 30-day blogging challenge)