Academic journal article
By McGehee, Richard V.; Reekie, Shirley H. M.
JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance , Vol. 70, No. 6
In response to the need to recognize and appreciate diversity, K-12 schools should strive to internationalize their curricula. As international cultural and economic interactions continue to increase, an appreciation of other cultures, political and social systems, religions, and languages can help promote international understanding and peace and improve the business and social relationships between people of different nations. Recognizing these facts, Tye and Tye (1992) predict that "global awareness will become the first new basic skill of the twenty-first century, as computer literacy has so rapidly become a basic skill in the final decades of the twentieth century" (pp. 6-7).
Children love to play, and most have some interest in sport. Studying international sport in physical education classes can tap this interest and thereby offer an opportunity to foster an understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures of other nations. In addition, a study of international sport in physical education can provide a useful vehicle for critical thinking. Questions such as the role of sport in socialist and free-enterprise societies, concepts of fair play in different cultures, and rationales underlying standard strategies in a variety of games offer interesting challenges that can be adapted to different grade levels. Many international examples could be used to test the soundness of widely (and uncritically) accepted ideas.
This article aims to help physical educators internationalize their K-12 curricula through sport-related class work and/or physical participation. The subject matter of international sport can be used in many ways at all school levels. Using the medium of physical activity, students can add to their understanding of other nations and cultures. Sport information and activities from around the world can be incorporated into elementary and secondary physical education programs by adding international units, or at least specific sport units, to existing courses. Additionally, high schools could offer elective courses devoted exclusively to international sport. It is possible to internationalize not only by establishing a new course or a unit within an existing course, but also by infusing internationalism into the entire curriculum.
Class Activities in International Sport
In elementary school, physical education lends itself well to an integrated approach across the curriculum. Young children generally love to move, and they might first learn simple dances and games from other countries and then extend their study to the music, flags, and customs of those nations. In school districts with diverse ethnicities and nations of origin, it is exciting to encourage children's relatives to visit the class and teach an activity of their homeland. This helps families feel involved in their children's education, and also makes the child proud that an activity of his or her heritage is important enough to be taught in school.
The middle elementary grades can continue to develop international themes, with a more detailed look at the climate, products, food, and other aspects of the countries of origin of the games and sports under study For example, sepak takraw, a traditional game of southeast Asia, is played with the feet using a ball woven from reeds. Students can investigate why this type of ball construction is used by considering climate and its effect on vegetation and how such factors have, in turn, affected games and sports. In the U.S., sepak takraw balls made of plastic are now mass-produced. A comparison of the pros and cons of each material would involve playing the game, and some elementary grasp of scientific experimentation. This could lead to a historical examination of how sports equipment has changed over the years, and thus give a practical application of the effects of industrialization. An ideal example of group work might come from investigation of a country, and - among many other aspects examined - sports might well provide an interesting angle for some students. …