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Competing agendas: an ecological analysis of jointly constructed task systems in physical education and sport education

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posted on 12.01.2011, 10:02 by Toni M. O'Donovan
This thesis addresses how teachers and pupils jointly constructed a physical education classroom ecology in one case study school. Taking into account the persuasive influences facing young people in contemporary society, this research addresses the complexity of young people's agendas in physical education from a socio-cultural perspective. Situating this study in a physical education class meant that I needed to explore, not only how young people's agendas influenced the classroom ecology, but also how the classroom structure influenced the agendas the young people pursued and how these were manifested during the lesson. This study is concerned primarily with describing and explaining a case of pupil engagement in physical education and to generate at a substantive level (Glaser and Strauss, 1978) theory which can make sense of the events in the one case study school. The aim is to provide some insights into why things happened the way they did and attempt to explain these happenings. The data presented in this study endorse to some extent the values claimed for the implementation of Sport Education. However, the implementation of Sport Education did not lead to all its' advocates claim for it and, although its implementation highlighted that it is possible to modify some of the agendas young people pursue during physical education lessons, I became particularly interested in the circumstances where sport education failed to hold the many benefits it purports to. Having presented these key findings, this thesis concludes with a discussion of the implications for those working with and for young people, and for the design and implementation of policies and practice in relation to physical education. Although I outline the implications of the issues emerging from this study for future practice which, at the very least, we need to consider, this study has made particularly clear the complexities of introducing change in schools.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Toni M. O'Donovan

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Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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