Swedish physical education research questioned: Current situation and future directions
2008 (English)In: Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, ISSN 1740-8989, E-ISSN 1742-5786, Vol. 13, no 4, 381-398 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: Research on the school subject of physical education and health in Sweden has proliferated in the early part of the 21st century. Several large research programmes have been conducted that shed light on the history of physical education and health in this country and that provide a research-based description of the current situation in the subject, particularly with regard to teachers' and pupils' view of the subject and which activities dominate the lessons.
Purpose: to review the main results of two of these research programmes, highlight some of the practical challenges facing people working with the development of physical education and health as identified by the research, and point to some of the research challenges arising from how the reviewed research was actually conducted.
Findings: The reviewed research reveals an uncertainty about the subject’s educational purpose. Teachers maintain that the main purpose of physical activity is to 'have fun' and the majority of pupils report a positive attitude towards the subject. However, those favouring the subject, mostly boys, are also members of a sports club in their leisure time. Both teachers and pupils have difficulties in articulating what the pupils are supposed to learn in physical education and health. Some of the pupils report that they are supposed to learn the skills and rules of different kinds of sports. Observation studies also confirm that conventional sports activities, particularly ball games, tend to dominate the subject in terms of the use of language heavily loaded with competitive sport connotations.
Conclusions: The results of the research programmes highlight a number of practical challenges with regard to a physical education and health that according to the national syllabus is supposed to emphasise teaching and learning (for) health: what, more exactly, are pupils supposed to learn and what does a teaching that facilitates such learning look like, what does a teaching that is equitable for all pupils look like and what is the relation between physical education, sport and health? The results of the research also highlight a number of research challenges. Much of the research was carried out without an elaborated theoretical framework that emphasised the teaching processes and the relation between teaching and learning. In addition, most of the research was undertaken from a point of view considered alien to most physical education teachers. There seems to be a need for studies that aim to reduce the gap between theory/researchers and practice/practitioners. Finally, there seems to be a need for researchers to change focus from studying activities to studying learning outcomes.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 13, no 4, 381-398 p.
Idrott och hälsa, genus, heteronormativitet
Sport and Fitness Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-18875OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-18875DiVA: diva2:185398