The contemporary approach can be integrated into pedagogy and focuses more on the individual learner than the traditional approach (Bruner, 1996). Bruner proposed that the learners are more like ‘candles to be lit rather than ‘vessels to be filled’. A more democratic style of teaching is utilised towards this approach and benefits the learner as it encourages them to solve problems themselves and leads them to be more pro-active (Penney and Waring, 2000).
As this approach encourages the individual to learn it could have a negative impact on the participants with no self-interest or willingness to participate in PE (Light, 2002). The importance of a democratic style of pedagogy is highlighted by Cassady and Clarke (2004), they state that it is vital in order to maximise inclusion amongst young people and to allow equality within Physical Education. A number of initiatives have been devised to promote innovative ways to enhance the learning of young people within the curriculum.
Penney and Waring (2000) state that there is currently an ‘absent agenda’ in PE within traditional performance pedagogy. A key initiative was devised by Bunker and Thorpe called the ‘Teaching Games for Understanding’ programme in the 1980’s (Light, 2002) with the intention of restructuring the way games were taught in the curriculum and is defined as: ‘Teaching games for understanding (TGfU) is understood as problem-based approach to games teaching where the play of a game is taught to situated skill development.
‘ (Hopper and Kruisselbrink, 2002:1) The main concern for the modification of the national curriculum gained recognition when the TGfU was implemented in an Australian teacher education programme to study the differences between TGfU and the traditional approaches to learning. Griffin et al. (1997) comment that the TGfU focuses upon teaching students tactical understanding before dealing with the performance of skills, as such the TGfU offers a tactical approach to games teaching, emphasizing game performance before skill performance.
Criticism has been highlighted in that the approach by the TGfU is the discerning between technique and tactics based approaches (Rink et al, 1996). This concern is dismissed by Hopper and Kruisselbrink (2002) by stating that effective games teaching should incorporate a combination of tactical understanding with skill development also, rather than focussing on one aspect or another. It has been found that through feedback from students that TGfU was to the majority an enjoyable experience and is a key factor as to why this holistic teaching style is being implemented (Light, 2002).
According to O’Reilly et al (2001) maintaining a level of enjoyment for participants during PE lessons is paramount which could suggest that authors of research literature are in favour of implementing this pedagogical approach within the National Curriculum. Today, teachers are encouraged to adopt a more rationalised frame of mind towards their chosen profession. This, in practice, encompasses the wide range of social and cultural differences that shape society (Horne et al, 1999). Many social and environmental factors must be taken into consideration when teaching Physical Education according to Fernandez-Balboa (1996).
Further to this, Penney and Chandler (2000) associate the notion of citizenship through a physical education medium; they suggest we are seeking to direct curricula and pedagogical practices towards the development of critically informed citizens. For example Eley and Kirk (2002) suggest that pupils who have left school can become involved in sport as volunteers, thus contributing their own personal skills and also providing the opportunity for young people to improve their skills outside of school.
They continue to suggest that volunteering in this way helps community spirit and leads to a sense of citizenship, something which according to Heath (2000) the government has become ever more concerned with; ‘In order to address this concern, citizenship education is legislated to become part of the school curriculum in 2002. ‘(Department for Education and Skills, 2001, p151). Teachers are supported by various initiatives set up to help them understand the extra responsibilities their job title entails such as instilling the values of citizenship into students, one of these schemes is The Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE).
Fernandez-Balboa (1996) reviews PETE as an initiative that has been created to help educate PE teachers about morals, ethics and values not just curriculum based, but in society as a whole. The PETE initiative enables teachers to adapt to changes in society and through the application of critical pedagogy; both students and teachers can develop further knowledge of the profession and gain a clearer understanding of the roles they play in the wider community (Penney and Waring, 2000)
Within the teaching profession the role of the mentor is important in the development of teachers and coaches alike. Their advice in one on one situation’s whilst offering their opinions and feedback to coaches is invaluable. The importance of mentoring is becoming increasingly more recognised, Kerry and Shelton-Mayes (1995) claim that mentoring is now a key feature of initial training for public service professions such as teaching. A mentor can prove beneficial to a teacher in both critical and traditional pedagogy.
A mentor can help develop knowledge, understanding and skills whilst also challenging ever changing existing beliefs and methods (Watkins and Mortimore, 1999). A Physical Education pedagogue has an opportunity to develop their students in a way that other subjects are unable. Capel (2000) states that PE plays a crucial role within the curriculum as it provides a unique style of learning for a student which differs from other subjects.
PE helps provide a sound knowledge base of the effects of exercise on the body, health benefits and the use of physical activity in recreation. It is still seen today that some schools still deliver PE under the same written discourses of twenty years ago and indicates that the PE curriculum needs updating to ensure pupils are receiving the benefits from PE (Watkins and Mortimore, 1999). Penney and Waring (2000) state that there has been little encouragement to modify the traditional pedagogical methods still used in the delivery of PE today.
Armour and Duncombe (2004) suggest that continued professional development (CPD) of teachers can help provide a solution to the problem facing PE teachers as it can help them become more knowledgeable and consequently effective within the school environment. Furthermore, it has become apparent there are also social and equitable factors that need to be considered when analysing the current curriculum. Penney and Waring (2000) argue that teaching and learning should be centred on the learner and their positive participation as a citizen within society.
Capel (2000) claims that if this approach could be applied practically then it would allow all pupils to reach a level of self-efficacy in their own chosen physical activity. This would in turn help create a wider spread positive attitude towards physical activity and then potentially a more physically active nation. Anderssen et al (1992) proposes that it is important to instil positive exercise behaviours from an early age as these behaviours will carry on from youth into adulthood.
To incorporate this practical approach within the curriculum, alterations would need to be made to its structure to enable the teaching and learning to be successful (Penney and Waring 1999: Capel 2000). The inclusion of pupils in the decision making process could also ensure higher participation and enthusiasm rates amongst pupils. This could be achieved through the manipulating what is available in terms of activities and sports within the current National Curriculum. For the pedagogical process to be employed by coaches and teachers, a clearer understanding of the term must be recognised.
According to Tinning and Glasby (2002) pedagogy on the whole establishes a level of regulation in the learning relationship. With the recognition of two forms of pedagogy; traditional and contemporary it can be said that the teaching profession over the years has seen a level of development. It is important that programmes and initiatives such as PETE and sport governing body courses ensure that their students are taught the practices of pedagogy. Indeed, Humphies et al (2002) summarise by stating that physical education would be more effective and beneficial to pupils if facilitators applied the pedagogical process to their sessions