Physical education

14th July 2000 at 01:00
BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION. By Anthony Laker. RoutledgeFalmer Press pound;15.99

A PE book that deals with educating young people for citizenship is particularly welcome as we anticipate the changes to the secondary national curriculum in September.

Anthony Laker presents an absorbing discussion of the potential role for PE andsport that will help educational planners to recognise the contribution that, so far, has frequently been overlooked. The physical educationistwill be familiar with the author's powerful arguments - it's the powers-that-be that need to read it.

Providing the theoretical base and a detailed account of relevant research, this is a valuable source book for trainee teachers at all levels. It challenges them to identify personal and social skills as major learning outcomes, rather than as hopeful by-products of physical skill learning. In presenting this challenge, it develops an impressively logical arguent, looking at the past, the present and the exciting possibilities for the future.

The historical review identifies a constantly changing set of aims and objectives for physical education and sport. The multi-disciplinary natureof a truly purposeful curriculum is put in the context of what constitutes effective teaching. This application of the theory is a welcome inclusion, revealing as it does what is really happening in lessons from both the teacher's and the pupil's points of view.

So, what of the future? Citizenship education is with us in a big way, and Anthony Laker makes clear how the individual's personal, social and moral development, alongside health and citizenship education, can be positively influenced. Healthy scepticism about political correctness doesn't detract from the attractiveness of all that is proposed. This is a book to be taken very seriously.

Colin Lee is an educational consultant and inspector

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