Sport Education and Multiple Intelligences: A Path to Student Success

Article excerpt


One of the unique challenges associated with teaching is learning how to develop lessons and curricula that meet the needs of all students. In physical education, teachers must consider a number of student characteristics when planning and implementing curricula including ability level, special needs, gender, and past experiences in physical education and sport (Mitchell & Kernodle, 2004). Designing lessons that are developmentally appropriate and engaging is essential to ensure that middle and high school students enjoy their physical education experience and remain physically active into adulthood. Yet past research has shown than many students are not excited about participating in physical education. This feeling of apathy is in part due to physical educators implementing the same curriculum year after year, often lacking the necessary tools to develop interesting and new curricula (Carlson, 1995; Garn & Cothran, 2006).


Sport Education

As a starting point, physical educators could benefit from considering the types of curricula and pedagogical practices that maximize student enjoyment and involvement in physical education. For example, past research has shown that a sport education curriculum was a preferred approach when compared with traditional methods of teaching physical education. In fact, students of all ability levels reported increased opportunities for involvement, peer support, and improved competence when participating in a sport education-based physical education program (Hastie, 1998; Siedentop, 2002).

There are seven main characteristics of the sport education model. The first characteristic, seasons, is the term used instead of the term unit to build excitement for upcoming sports lessons. Typically, during a sport education season, a series of practices is scheduled, leading up to a formal competition. Seasons are longer than traditional physical education units (8 to 10 weeks vs. 2 to 4 weeks). The main premise behind having longer seasons is that students have more time to become enthusiastic, proficient, and literate sport participants (Siedentop, 1994). A second characteristic, affiliation, is the value placed on being a contributing member of a team for an entire season. The third characteristic, formal competition, is a sport education theme where small-sided games are played using round robin tournaments and league schedules. A culminating event is a fourth characteristic in which students compete to participate in a final event (e.g., Super Bowl, World Cup).

Festivity is another characteristic that relates to the culminating event where activities are structured to make physical education more enjoyable and exciting for the sport participants (e.g., awards ceremony, team names, t-shirts). Keeping formal records is a sixth characteristic, in which game statistics are recorded and posted for the participants to view (e.g., batting average, shots on goal). Records are kept to set personal and team goals and to help students become more literate in sports. Participation in various roles is the final characteristic of the sport education model, where students take turns participating in roles including: coach, player, referee, statistician, scorekeeper, team manager, and publicist (Siedentop, 1994; Siedentop, Hastie, & Van Der Mars, 2011). Participating in these roles helps students understand the rules, strategies, and tactics of sport from different perspectives. For example, as a referee, students gain a greater understanding of how actively refereeing competitions (i.e., calling penalties/fouls) affects the outcomes of games/competitions. More importantly, students who are often marginalized in physical education (female and low-skilled students) have more opportunities to be contributing members of their teams by participating in the various roles (Hastie, 1998; MacPhail, Gorely, Kirk, & Kinchin, 2008). …