Versatility and pedagogical models in physical education

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Background: In this paper, we contribute to the discussion of models-based practice (MbP) in physical education (PE). While versatility is a global ideal for PE, the common pedagogical approach to PE has been criticized for being biased towards activity-based instruction and mastering discipline-specific skills. To address this problem, Kirk, Metzler, and Haerens et al. suggest PE based on pedagogical models (a MbP) to meet the ideal of versatility for PE. However, a MbP does not automatically fulfil the versatile ideal of PE, and it is thus important that a MbP is embedded in and informed by broader theoretical perspectives on PE’s educational purpose. In this paper, we will broaden the perspective on the ideal of versatility by including the purpose of PE, and the discussion of the purpose of PE draws on Gert Biesta’s perspective on education and its purpose as qualification, socialization and subjectification. Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to investigate how Biesta’s three educational domains of qualification, socialization and subjectification can qualify a versatile MbP in PE. Method: To examine how we can understand versatility as an ideal for PE, the paper presents Biesta’s perspective on education and how we can apply this understanding to craft a MbP in PE (Biesta 2013; Friesen 2020). Findings: Drawing on Biesta’s(2020) perspective on education, we argue that a versatile MbP in PE should account for all three domains of the educational purpose: qualification, socialization and subjectification. Even though the three domains are inseparable in practice, the crux of any pedagogical model will tend to focus more explicitly on one domain of the educational purpose over the others. From the perspective of education as a human science pedagogy, the present paper offers some theoretical reflections on the purpose of PE and makes a case for a MbP using three pedagogical models: Direct Instruction (Metzler 2017), Sport Education (Kirk 2013; Siedentop 1994) and Movement literacy (Standal 2015). Conclusion: Using Biesta’s(2020, 2022) three educational domains of the educational purpose, this paper offers some theoretical reflections that can qualify a versatile MbP in PE from the perspective of education as a human science pedagogy.
Translated title of the contributionAlsidighed og idrætsdidaktiske modeller
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • sports
  • school
  • general education


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