From Command to Constructivism: Canadian Secondary School Physical Education Curriculum and Teaching Games for Understanding

Mar. 20, 2009

Source: Curriculum Inquiry, Volume 39 Issue 2, Pages 321 – 342. (March 2009)

Canadian physical educators have fought long and hard to be recognized as legitimate contributors to school curricula.
In claiming alliances with discourses of medicine and morality, science and psychology, proponents of physical education have sought to be recognized and validated within the educational milieu.
These claims have fundamentally influenced physical educators' conceptions of what knowledge is important in physical education.
Furthermore, these claims also contributed to a particular regime of "truth" that foregrounds content, performance and notions of "technocratic-rationality."

In this paper, the author investigates how cultural perspectives from the past have influenced the secondary physical education curricular offerings of today.
The author then examines how an approach to teaching concepts of team and individual game tactics and strategies, Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU), that relies ontologically and epistemologically upon pedagogically developed constructivist notions of teaching and learning for its existence and its knowledge base may challenge the dominant discourse of technocratic-rationality.
In this paper, a brief overview of significant historical elements affecting curriculum development in physical education will be examined.

Two forms of constructivism will be investigated, and TGfU as an alternative to traditional curricular and pedagogical approaches to games instruction, offering potentially appealing learning experiences for many students will be examined.

Updated: May. 25, 2009