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Exploring ‘what’ to learn in physical education
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Education in Arts and Professions. Dalarna University, Sweden.
2014 (English)In: Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, ISSN 1740-8989, E-ISSN 1742-5786, Vol. 19, no 2, 123-135 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The aim of this article is to show a need for explicating ‘what’ there is to learn in physical education (PE) with a particular focus on learning to move with the meaning potential seen as integral to moving. Further, the aim is to provide an example of exploring ‘bodily knowing’ from the perspective of practical epistemology as outlined by researchers such as Michael Polanyi, Allan Janik and Gilbert Ryle.

Background : Learning has been a prominent issue within the PE research for quite some time. Overviews of research show that the object of learning, the ‘what-aspect’ within the didactic triangle, has been taken into account, though the obvious focus is the ‘how-aspect’, as in how learning occurs. In PE, the ‘what-aspect’, according to teachers as well as pupils, is vague, and the aim of the subject is expressed in terms of ‘fun-aspects’ rather than ‘what-aspects’. Taking a standpoint from research concerning aims, content and important knowledge in PE in Sweden, with reference to international research, this article will shed light upon physical activity as a takenfor-granted content, conceptualized either as an instrument for fulfilling the demands of the contemporary health-discourse or an instrument for performing well in sports. In doing this, the article will argue for the urgent need of explicating what capabilities students are supposed to develop in PE.

Key concepts: The concept of knowledge in relation to PE will be discussed. Drawing on Janik’s discussion of the epistemological structure of practical professional knowledge, emphasizing the importance of making the base of knowledge explicit, capability to move will be regarded as an object of learning, a possible ‘what-aspect’, in PE. To overcome the boundaries between practical and theoretical knowledge, Polanyi’s concept knowing will be used. Conceiving knowings as embracing several aspects of knowledge as well as comprising both mental and physical processes, knowings in human movement will be elaborated.

Conclusion: As our initial overview of research about ways of reasoning about knowledge and learning in PE suggested, there is an imminent need to systematically develop a language for learning in PE where what to learn, the specific knowings that PE is nurturing, is paramount, and where this ‘what’ is not reduced to superficial knowledge about health issues or physical skills. We believe that exploring the ‘knowing how’ aspect of learning will highlight potential ‘knowings’ in human movement. Following the concept ‘knowing’ as in line with Ryle’s ‘knowing how’, not separating mental and physical skills, can serve as an analytical tool and a starting point for articulating examples of ‘knowings’ as objects of learning and thus providing opportunities to conceptualize human movement in terms of knowing and learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 19, no 2, 123-135 p.
Keyword [en]
physical education, learning, movement, knowledge, knowing how
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Sciences in Arts and Professions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-84506DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2012.726982ISI: 000332197400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-84506DiVA: diva2:580695
Note

AuthorCount: 2;

Available from: 2012-12-25 Created: 2012-12-25 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ways of knowing in ways of moving: A study of the meaning of capability to move
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ways of knowing in ways of moving: A study of the meaning of capability to move
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis has been to investigate the meaning of the capability to move in order to identify and describe this capability from the perspective of the one who moves in relation to specific movements. It has been my ambition to develop ways to explicate, and thereby open up for discussion, what might form an educational goal in the context of movements and movement activities in the school subject of physical education and health (PEH).

In this study I have used a practical epistemological perspective on capability to move, a perspective that challenges the traditional distinction between mental and physical skills as well as between theoretical and practical knowledge. Movement actions, or ways of moving, are seen as expressions of knowing.

In order to explore an understanding of the knowing involved in specific ways of moving, observations of  actors’ ways of moving and their own experiences of moving were brought together. Informants from three different arenas took part: from PEH in upper secondary school, from athletics and from free-skiing.

The results of the analyses suggest it is possible to describe practitioners’ developed knowing as a number of specific ways of knowing that are in turn related to specific ways of moving. Examples of such specific ways of moving may be discerning and modifying one’s own rotational velocity and navigating one’s (bodily) awareness. Additionally, exploring learners’ pre-knowing of a movement ‘as something’ may be fruitful when planning the teaching and learning of capability to move. I have suggested that these specific ways of knowing might be regarded as educational goals in PEH.

In conducting this study, I have also had the ambition to contribute to the ongoing discussion of what ‘ability’ in the PEH context might mean. In considering specific ways of knowing in moving, the implicit and taken-for-granted meaning of ‘standards of excellence’ and ‘sports ability’can be discussed, and challenged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Stockholm Univeristy, 2014. 159 p.
Keyword
Physical Education, capability to move, ways of knowing, knowing how, tacit knowing, Ryle, Polanyi, Schön
National Category
Learning
Research subject
Educational Sciences in Arts and Professions
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102527 (URN)978-91-7447-843-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-09, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: In press. Paper 4: Epub ahead of print. 

Available from: 2014-04-14 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2015-02-26Bibliographically approved

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