Structured Academic Controversies in the Professional Physical Education Classroom

By Overby, Lynnette Young; Colon, Geffrey et al. | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, October 1996 | Go to article overview

Structured Academic Controversies in the Professional Physical Education Classroom


Overby, Lynnette Young, Colon, Geffrey, Espinoza, Doreen, Kinnunen, David, Shapiro, Deborah, Learman, Jerome, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Controversies exist when one student's ideas, information, conclusions, theories and opinions are incompatible with those of another, and the two seek to reach an agreement. (Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1991, p. 73)

Structured academic controversy is a cooperative learning strategy that can be used to promote learning in theoretical physical education classes at the college/university level. This teaching strategy can be used in classes such as motor learning, motor development, biomechanics, and exercise physiology. In this article, we will explain how the structured academic controversy is conducted and provide some examples of topics.

History

The concept of cooperative learning, according to Johnson et al. (1991), can be traced to the ancient Roman philosophy of qui docet discet, which translates into "when you teach, you learn twice." The popularity of cooperative learning continued from the 1500s to the early part of the 20th century. A turning point in the focus of learning occurred in the late 1930s, when competition began to surface in the academic arena (Pepitone, 1980, as cited in Johnson et al., 1991). This was the dawn of the standard academic competition among scholars that prevails in institutions of learning, from elementary schools to universities, all over the world.

In the 1960s, Johnson et al. began to work on cooperative learning with an empirical basis. As a result of their work, the Cooperative Learning Center at the University of Minnesota was formed. Through the center's efforts, the body of knowledge regarding cooperative learning has been augmented and several exercises have been developed for use within the classroom to emphasize cooperative learning.

Forming Groups

Cooperative learning can be accomplished in informal learning groups, base groups, or formal learning groups.

Informal learning groups are generally short-term with little structure. A simultaneous explanation pair is an example of an informal cooperative learning group. During a lecture, after a question is posed, students are asked to select the person nearest to them as a partner. Each student individually formulates his or her answer to the question in writing. The students then share their answers with their partners. The partners listen carefully to each other and develop a new answer by building on each other's thoughts.

Base groups are long-term groups which are guided by peer support and long-term accountability. In a physical education class, students are divided into base groups of five members according to career interest (e.g., physical therapy, teaching, corporate fitness, athletic training). These groups remain together and provide support throughout the semester.

The formal learning group is directed by a more structured and cohesive unit. This group stays together until the task is completed. A structured academic controversy used within a formal learning group is the focus of this article.

Application of a Structured Academic Controversy

Structured academic controversy requires students to use high-level reasoning and critical thinking. The many critical thinking skills used in the process of controversy are depicted in figure 1 (Johnson et al., 1991, p. 7). In any structured academic controversy, topics must be structured so that there are at least two well-documented positions.

Gathering resources. First, instructional materials should be given to all students. These materials must include a description of the position to be advocated and resource materials for support of this position. A trip to the library or an interview with experts is appropriate for a structured controversy session that lasts for more than one class period, while providing the students with articles and summaries is more appropriate for a one-period structured controversy.

Preparing positions. Teachers divide students into even-numbered small groups.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Structured Academic Controversies in the Professional Physical Education Classroom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.