The educational value of Sport Education: a critical response to Kirk (2013).


Image result for sport education

No one teacher will deliver the same physical education class. Every teacher has their own style, methods, beliefs of what is important and students who change from class to class. As a result of this I question whether there is styles or approaches to delivering a physical education lesson that are better than others.

From reading Kirk’s article on curriculum models, I feel that they can be beneficial to a class as each model has different targeted outcomes which develop many aspects and not just the skills needed to play the sport. In the article he mentions a ‘one size fits all’ limitation in the philosophy of physical education where emphasise is placed on physical education as a sport.  Curriculum models address this issue by developing students beyond this. I personally believe that the style a teacher decides to deliver a class should match the needs of the students. The teaching methods need to be decided and modified to achieve an overall goal which develops the students beyond that of skill ability. As each class will be different lessons will change and therefor not every aspect of a curriculum model may be needed.

In kirk’s reading he talks about a specific model; Sport education. I feel that this educational model enriches the learning of a student as it provides a more authentic sporting experience. The model moves away from the limitation multi-sport approach described above.  Sport education matures the student as a whole. Not only will they have the skills and knowledge to play a sport but also will understand the rules and value of roles. It has been argued that social practices are defined by three characteristics; standards of excellence, internal and external ‘goods’ which are a result of this and virtues such as honesty and justice. (MacIntyre, 1985). Through sport education students learn to respect opponents, etiquette, the value of fair play, responsibility through taking on roles etc. developing the student as a member of society. I believe this gives sport education an importance and value within the physical education curriculum.

Sport education gives students the time to develop. It moves away from a six-week block plan of learning skills of a sport to a twelve-week plan where students broaden knowledge beyond the skills of the game. Teaching methods vary across the season moving towards a student-centred and guided discovery approach as students become familiar with the model. This is inline with my own beliefs of the physical education teacher acting as a facilitator rather than a dictator and therefor for me further deepens the value of the model.

While on school placement I used the sport education model with a class. This class was extremely competitive and did not work well in teams. I wanted students to learn to value every member in the class regardless of skill ability. I was amazed at the difference in the class from the beginning to the end. Students learnt to work in teams, to encourage, learn from each other and ultimately how to give respect. However as valuable as I found sport education I do feel that it will not always work for everyone. This returns to my starting point that not all students are the same and won’t respond the same. Therefore, the teacher should adapt models to suit the needs of the class.

Overall, I feel that curriculum models and in particular Sport education are valuable. They emphasise that physical education provides many learning outcomes across a wide variety of domains highlighting the importance of the subject.  They provide students with a more meaningful experience. When implementing these models, I personally will keep the needs of the students at the forefront and hope that this will help develop a more rounded student.


  • MacIntyre, A. (1985). After virtue: A study in moral theory (2nd ed.). London: Duckworth.
  • David Kirk (2013) Educational Value and Models-Based Practice in Physical Education, Educational Philosophy and Theory: Incorporating ACCESS, 45:9, 973-986


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s