Sport education (SE) can be defined as ‘an instructional model which links the port taught in physical education to the wider sporting culture’ (Sidedness, 1994). It is also an activity involving physical exertion and skill, in which an individual or team competes against another or others while learning. The competitive element is the distinctive factor that sets it apart from physical education (PEE).
Performers will therefore have equal opportunities to take part in a variety of roles including playing, officiating, coaching, managing, etc. Sidedness (2002) later refers to SE as ‘a curriculum and instruction model designed to provide authentic, educationally rich sport experiences for girls and sys in the context of school physical education’. It does this by typically partaking in longer sessions or seasons rather than for a set time which would happen in a P. E lesson.
The goal of sport education is to help students become competent (knowledgeable game players), literate (can understand the value of sport and know the difference between good and bad sport practices), and enthusiastic (participate and behave in ways that preserve, protect and enhance sport cultures) sportsperson (Sidedness 2002). However, PEE is generally not as competitive even though games might be played in some sessions. A definition of PEE could be the education of physical literacy and everything related to sport and physical activity.
I has also been stated that PEE is concerned with developing students’ physical literacy or physical competence and confidence and it is part of the national curriculum. It is then suggested that the students will then be able to transfer these abilities and perform them over a range of activities (Bailey, 2006). PEE provides everyone with equal opportunities without the competitive edge. It has been stated by Winning (2011) that PEE should focus on making as any people as possible partake in physical activities to help improve the fitness of the population under 16.
This is because improvements in technology have led to an increased sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity without competition is argued in this book as the way to do this people it is easy for performers to hide in other roles such as managing or officiating in SE. Winning (2011) claims that drills are preferable as there is no choice for the performers to ‘bypass’ actual physical activity. What it means by this is that a class of students will all be told by their teacher to all partake in certain exercises or drills.
It has been suggested that PEE has very little competition because it is actually about the revitalization and recreation of students (She, 1998). It could therefore be argued that PEE is about developing performers as a whole person rather than a competitive athlete. The question then arises should sport and physical education be seen as different? It has been argued that distinguishing between the two can do more harm than good (Drew, 2000). Both SE and PEE are focused on the performers learning so therefore it could be argued that it doesn’t matter how the performers learn as long as they do actually learn.
However, a counter argument to this is that there has been multiple research done which suggests that the way in which PEE is generally taught means there is a rooftop the performers learning. This means that they can only go so far whereas, although research suggests that SE may take longer for performers to learn there is no roof to learning. PEE is generally taught with a behaviorist’s approach. Behaviorism has been defined by Rebel (1985) as an “approach to psychology which argues that the only appropriate subject matter for scientific psychological investigation is observable, measurable behavior.
Behaviorism is the view that ‘learning can be viewed as conditioned response to external stimuli’ (Sheffield, 2008). Another way of saying this is that if a stimulus presents itself and a performer has been positively reinforced when they have done a certain action they will do this action again if the same stimulus presents itself. This both has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages of behaviorism is clearly that it is easier for a coach to organize and teach a class if everyone is doing the same thing.
This is easy when being a behaviorism because the teacher/ coach will set the performers off all doing the same drill or task. This therefore means that it is easier for the coach to see if a performer is doing the drill or task incorrectly as everyone should look as if they are doing the same thing. It could therefore be argued that the performers that will need the most help will be spotted quicker and therefore receive the guidance that they require from their coach/ teacher. Behaviorism reduces confusion for participants taught as coaches can clearly inform and clarify the ideas that they have put across without the need for discussion.
Discussion is one of the main causes of participants becoming confused and therefore performing tasks incorrectly (Honey, 1982). The problem with this is that if the performers are all doing the same thing the elite athletes might not be learning anything and at the other end of the scale the beginners might be finding the task too hard. This would be less likely to happen with constructivism as it allows all the performers to move on at their own pace. Sport education is generally taught with a more constructivist approach.
Constructivism refers to the view that disagrees that learning is coach centered ND states that the learners have to find out their own way to solve problems and therefore construct the knowledge themselves. It has been suggested that constructivism is a more holistic approach to learning where students connect their experiences in the classroom to real life. This will then lead to social and individual growth for those involved (Azurite and Nines, 2003). Although this method of learning may take longer there is no theoretical ‘roof to learning.
This means that the learning process will never actually finish and performers will be continually learning. This differs from PEE as it has been suggested that there definitely is a roof to learning if taught in a behaviorist’s manner. P. E is has been traditionally taught with a very linear approach. Carter et al, (1998) writes that linear learning is when a performer will work through problems logically and in an ordered progression. It is also said that linear learners will start to sort out part of the problems before they understand the whole. This means that skills and tasks are broken down or De-coupled.
It has been argued that it is easier to learn a skill if you learn it in parts and then put all the parts back into one. This type of practice is also known as whole-part-whole. Fischer (1990) suggested that by breaking down certain practices it allows individuals, particularly those under the age of 10, to focus on developing a certain schema without overload. An example of this would be a tennis player learning to hit a forehand. First of all they might focus on the grip, once this has been learnt they would move onto the ball toss and so on until they have all the sub-routines mastered.
Then the learner would try and put all of these sub-routines into one to perform the skill. An advantage of breaking down practices for young athletes is that it may make complex tasks seem simpler and therefore more achievable. However, constructivist would then ask the question what’s the point of decoupling a skill when it has to be performed as one? Constructivist who teach SE believe that a non-linear approach to learning is preferable. Non-linear pedagogy is the philosophy that believes that athletes need to create meaning of their own knowledge through decision making.
The athletes will need to use goal setting as part of this process rather than being told what to do by the coach. The coach’s role is to create an environment which helps facilitate the performer into making the right decision and forming their own knowledge (Chow et al, 2008). This method of teaching is far more athlete centered as they are having to form their own answers to the questions being asked of them. This helps the performers long term player development as they have to set their own goals and therefore are more likely to remember the methods they used to problem solve, as they have constructed it themselves.
Instead of De-coupling a task to make it easier a instructions would teach SE by tightening or releasing the degrees of freedom. This could be done emotionally, cognitively or phonemically. In conclusion, given the evidence presented it can be argued that sporting education is a better approach for the education of young people. One of the main reasons for this is that when SE is taught with a constructivist approach it allows for the fact that all individuals are different. SE with constructivism then allows the performers to construct their own technique and method of solving a problem in a competitive sporting environment.
As the performers are constructing the knowledge themselves it is more likely that the learning taking place will be long term. SE has also been shown to be more enjoyable than PEE for younger people and this would hopefully mean less young people would drop out of physical activity before the age of 18. Currently 84% of state school students have dropped out of PEE before the age of 18 (Quick et al, 2010). This would then mean that the physical literacy of the country would be greatly improved, leading to health benefits such as a decline in obesity, diabetes and heart problems.