Loughborough University
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Models-based practice: great white hope or white elephant?

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-11-19, 15:57 authored by Ashley CaseyAshley Casey
Background: Many critical curriculum theorists in physical education have advocated a model- or models-based approach to teaching in the subject. This paper explores the literature base around models-based practice (MBP) and asks if this multi-models approach to curriculum planning has the potential to be the great white hope of pedagogical change or, if in fact, it is a white elephant that should be reconsidered or abandoned.Purpose: To review the literature around pedagogical and curricular change in physical education that relates to teachers experience of models-based practice. This review of research on teachers' perceptions and use of MBP was undertaken in an effort to ascertain the ways in which practitioners' interpreted this type of change in practice.Data collection: Papers were selected by searching EBSCO databases with the identifiers "Instructional Models", "Sport Education", "Teaching Games for Understanding" and their hybrids, "Cooperative learning", "Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility", "Personalised System of Instruction" "Peer Teaching Model" and "Inquiry Teaching." These were chosen as they match the seven innovative models in Metzler's (2010) compendium of instructional models. Further articles were obtained through the citations and references in the original documents.Data analysis: Analysis of the 45 papers followed a systematic process of inductive analysis and constant comparison. The categories, which emerged from the analysis, were based upon the researcher's perceptions of findings and revealed five key findings/themes; (i) change for teachers, (ii) difficultly and time, (iii) diversification in the teacher's role, (iv) evidence of effectiveness and (iv) university/teacher collaboration.Findings: While changes in attitude, positive feelings, efficacy, enthusiasm and vigour were reported by teachers, there was also an acknowledgement that they lacked experience in using MBP which made them feel like they were 'beginning teachers' again. For some the conceptual shift was too much and they deliberately returned to their old pedagogies. For others, the change occurred slowly but gradually over the course of the intervention. When professional learning was part of the relationship between the teachers and researchers, then these returns to old practices was not reported. However, it was acknowledged that to engage with MBP required greater effort on behalf of the teacher and that to feel comfortable could take upwards of two years. Change was a difficult undertaking, but when 'evidence' of success was used to support the teachers' learning then they felt more confident in their decisions. The biggest factor in engendering change was the sustained support offered through collaborative partnerships between schools and universities. These supportive relationships allowed the teachers to continually reconsider their practice with the help of experienced colleagues.Conclusions: While MBP has begun to help practitioners to change and develop their pedagogies and curriculum, we are still a way away from understanding the impact of changing to a models-based approach. Research needs to be focused beyond the initial use of the model(s) and one needs to explore the longitudinal impact of adopting a multi-model curriculum. Furthermore, advocates of MBP need to explore the pedagogical and curricular ramifications on teachers of the long-term adoption of a models-based approach. © 2012 Association for Physical Education.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy






18 - 34


CASEY, A., 2014. Models-based practice: great white hope or white elephant? Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 19 (1), pp. 18 - 34.


Taylor and Francis / © Association for Physical Education


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy on 1st October 2012, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17408989.2012.726977






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