Can we imagine a future in which physical education in schools no longer exists?
In this controversial and powerful meditation on physical education, David Kirk argues that a number of different futures are possible. Kirk argues that multi-activity, sport-based forms of physical education have been dominant in schools since the mid-twentieth century and that they have been highly resistant to change. The practice of physical education has focused on the transmission of de-contextualised sport-techniques to large classes of children who possess a range of interests and abilities, where learning rarely moves beyond introductory levels. Meanwhile, the academicization of physical education teacher education since the 1970s has left teachers less well prepared to teach this programme than they were previously, suggesting that the futures of school physical education and physical education teacher education are intertwined.
Kirk explores three future scenarios for physical education, arguing that the most likely short-term future is ‘more of the same’. He makes an impassioned call for radical reform in the longer-term, arguing that without it physical education faces extinction. No other book makes such bold use of history to interrogate the present and future configurations of the discipline, nor offers such a wide-ranging critique of physical culture and school physical education. This book is essential reading for all serious students and scholars of physical education and the history and theory of education.