What is Sport Education – Part 1

Sport Education makes the comparison with the teaching of sports and the effects it has on society as a whole, it also studies how it fits with the National Curriculum in the UK. In some corners it is widely held that Sports Education focuses on a wide range of sporting activities rather than acquiring certain skills. If this is true, then Sport Education provides wide ranges of opportunities for students of all physical abilities to participate in active and non-competitive sports. In this blog we try to find a closer definition of what Sports Education is all about and what it entails.

The Importance of Physical Activity

Today more than ever we know the health dangers associated with lack of physical activity. And such activity is vital to the overall development of young people, not just for the body but also for the mind as playing sports is most beneficial to social and emotional health.

What Exactly is Sport Education

The actual science of Sport Education is basically a curriculum that is formatted to provide authentic sports experiences for students that are participating in physical education programs.  The key factor in Sport Education is how sport affects the local community. The curriculum ideally should be designed so it combines direct one-to-one tuition, small group sessions and peer teaching. And the main goals of any Sport Education curriculum should be that the students become enthusiastic about sports and go on to play and possibly teach.

The History of Sport Education in the UK

The official Sport Education model was developed in the early 1980s by Sidentop. Its purpose was to shake up old traditional ways and methods of teaching sport in schools that had really proved ineffective up to that point. The old methods were fairy rigid and did not include student responsibility, and those methods concentrated only on students that were achieving and not the whole group.

The new Sidentop Sport Education program aim was to change these old Dickensian ways and thinking towards physical education by making the sessions more engaging for the students. This is partly achieved by the learning and understanding of sports, their tactics as well as the skills needed to play them. A way of achieving this is to ensure student participation and a responsibility for their actual learning, by setting goals for achievement and involving competitive elements into each session. By doing this it ensures participation by the whole group and not just a few select students.

The Benefits of the New Model

There are many benefits to the new Sport Education curriculum, which include:

  • The reduction of non-participation.
  • The increased interaction of students in sessions.
  • The greater inclusion of lesser ability students
  • The curriculum develops coaching as well as performance.
  • The development of tactics as well as skill.
  • The development of complete sessions, which include warm-ups, skill progression, implementation of tactics, and finally cool-down sessions.

In part two of this blog on what Sport Education is, we will be looking at some of the drawbacks of the Sport Education curriculum as well as how teachers actually format group sessions. We also look more at the benefits and opportunities that Sport Education provides.