Sport (and Exercise) Pedagogy: Missing in action

Year: 2012

Author: Armour, Kathleen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This paper will report and theorise further the outcomes of an AIESEP Specialist Research Seminar held at the University of Birmingham, UK (29th-31st March, 2012).The seminar was entitled: 'Sport (& Exercise) Pedagogy': Defining the Field'. 36 participants from participants from 13 countries debated the following questions:

(i)                   What is 'Sport (& Exercise) Pedagogy'…or what could it be…and how does it articulate with its key intellectual communities?

(ii)                  How can Sport (& Exercise) Pedagogy be strengthened as a (sub) discipline at university level?

(iii)                 How can Sport (& Exercise) Pedagogy underpin the professionalism of teachers, coaches and other physical activity professionals?

(iv)                 What are the most pressing questions to be addressed by Sport (& Exercise) Pedagogy researchers over the next ten years?

The argument underpinning the seminar was that sport and exercise participants have not been served well by the disparate and fragmented professional structures that exist in teaching, coaching and exercise instruction. Fragmentation also exists in academia, where increasingly specialised knowledge in sport sciences tends to be grown in disciplinary silos. Sport Pedagogy (or Sport and Exercise Pedagogy) is, therefore, the place where new inter-disciplinary knowledge can be developed to support practitioners to better meet the needs of diverse learners in sport and physical activity through the life course.

The outcome of the seminar was a 'Position Statement' which will be presented during this session. The case is made for the development of a strong interdisciplinary theoretical foundation to inform (and be informed by) policy and practice, and to dissolve some of the traditional boundaries between teaching, coaching and exercise instruction. Drawing on the work of, among others, Hodkinson et al (2008); Kirk, Macdonald, and O'Sullivan (2006); Lee (2010); Shulman (2000); Tinning (2010); and Wathne, (2011) this paper will present a case for Sport & Exercise Pedagogy to take its place in departments of Sport Sciences, Physical Education, Kinesiology and Human Movement Studies. It will be argued that developing distinctive theories, methodologies and channels of communication with practitioners is the next task to be undertaken to establish this sub-discipline. The development of 'pedagogical cases' will be proposed as one example.