Olympism Education:Teaching and learning Olympism in a New Zealand secondary physical education programme
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
As a physical education teacher educator and Olympic educator I have become conscious that many physical education teachers have heard of Olympism, but are confused about what it encompasses. Furthermore they are challenged to understand how to teach Olympism in their physical education programmes. The potential of the educative and social value of Olympism is, as yet, unfulfilled. My study is about the content knowledge teachers require for teaching Olympism, the successful pedagogies they use, and the meanings that students derive from putting Olympism into action within, and outside of, the gymnasium. My qualitative case study uses teacher and student interviews, and observations to gather data as it follows the teaching and learning of Olympism in the Year 9 physical education programme of a New Zealand secondary school. In my attempt to understand what teachers need to know and do to make Olympism a reality in physical education programmes I have drawn on aspects of Shulman‟s (1987) seminal framework of teacher knowledge, to understand the content knowledge needed for teaching Olympism, the pedagogical content knowledge required, and the knowledge of students and their characteristics as they learn about Olympism. My findings reveal that teachers require various forms of content knowledge to teach Olympism, such as knowledge of students and their needs, a clear definition of Olympism for the setting, Olympism as a personal life-stance, ethical situations in games, and a holistic physical education curriculum. Pedagogies that the teachers used were found to be the transformation of Olympism into manageable concepts for teaching, the use of experiential and social teaching models in games contexts, and the extensive use of questioning and discussion strategies to develop critical thinking. Evidence shows the range of the students‟ learning, and the development of deeper meanings of Olympism. The students regarded the teacher as a role model of Olympism, and varied in their ability to transfer Olympism understandings into their wider lives. My detailed account of how teachers understand and teach Olympism, and the extent to which students apply their knowledge in class and beyond, offers a practical example of what Olympic education can look like when it has Olympism at its core. Such teaching I have named Olympism education.
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