Curriculum Models in Physical Education

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  • 0:04 Importance of…
  • 0:52 Sport Education Model
  • 2:08 Fitness Education Model
  • 3:29 Movement Education Model
  • 4:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Not all gym classes are the same! In this lesson, we'll look at three different curriculum models used in physical education classes: sport education, fitness education, and movement education.

Importance of Curriculum Models

Most schools encourage physical education (PE or gym) during elementary, middle, and high school. Not all students like participating in gym class, but there's actually a lot of thought that goes into how each course is structured and designed, and not all gym classes are the same.

Believe it or not, there are seven accepted curriculum models used in physical education classes. A curriculum model is a framework used to decide how to select, structure, and sequence educational content, and a model is chosen based on how students learn, how a teacher wants to educate students, and what the school district wants to emphasize in its physical education courses.

Of these seven accepted curriculum models, we're going to take a closer look at three of them: the sport education model, the fitness education model, and the movement education model.

Sport Education Model

The sport education model is commonly used in middle and high school classes and simulates regular athletic teams and seasons, emphasizing skill development, rules of the game, strategies, and ethical principles related to each sport.

For example, sport modules will mirror actual seasons. This could mean football and tennis modules are covered in the fall, basketball is learned in the winter, and softball and soccer are learned in the spring, though this can vary based on geographic location and the specific sports the teacher wants to focus on. Specifically, the sport education model includes six core components:

  1. Seasons
  2. Team affiliation
  3. Formal competition
  4. Competitive events leading to a winner
  5. Importance of record keeping and sports statistics
  6. Joyous nature of team competition

The sport education model tends to increase both the tendency and ability of students to play sports, and it encourages the importance of discipline, skill mastery, and teamwork. One of it's limitations, however, is that not all students are interested in or capable of playing all sports a teacher may want to include. In that case, it may be necessary to modify a sport to enable more students to participate. This approach also requires that the teacher be well-versed in all of the sports he or she wishes to cover because, in essence, they are acting as a coach.

Fitness Education Model

The next curriculum model we'll look at is the fitness education model, which emphasizes improving and maintaining individual student health. In the fitness education model, students are taught the connections between physical activity and overall health, the skills required for different activities, and the importance of sticking to a structured fitness plan. Similar to the sport education model, the fitness education model is commonly used in middle and high schools.

The fitness education model is structured a little differently than the sport education model. Rather than adhering to the schedule of a sport season, the course is usually split up into lecture portions where students are taught specific health-related material, and then they have the ability to apply it in practice through portions of physical activity.

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