Physical Education and Training

physical education and training, organized instruction in motor activities that contribute to the physical growth, health, and body image of the individual. The historical roots of physical education go back as far as the ancient Chinese (c.2500 BC), who had a well-developed system of exercise and physical training. In ancient Greece the Athenians were concerned with both physical and mental development and consequently they accorded gymnastics, sports, and rhythms an important educational role. During the period of the Roman Empire, and later during the Middle Ages, physical education was primarily used as a form of military training.

Interest in physical education as a part of the total individual's development was revived during the Renaissance. It was not until the 19th cent., however, that systems of gymnastics were developed in several European countries, notably Germany, Sweden, and England. In the same century gymnastics spread to the United States. Interest in the new system led to a movement to have compulsory physical training in American public schools and to establish physical education in colleges and universities. The first department of physical education at an American college was established at Amherst (1860).

Today, physical education is a required part of most school curricula, and a number of colleges and universities offer degrees in the field. Physical education classes generally include formal exercises, sports, and contests, although an increasing emphasis has been given to such Asian techniques as yoga, karate, and judo. The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (founded 1885) is concerned with improving its fields of education and with increasing the public's knowledge and appreciation of physical education.

See publications of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; J. F. Williams, Principles of Physical Education (8th ed. 1964); D. Van Dalen, A World History of Physical Education (2d ed. 1971).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Physical Education and Training: Selected full-text books and articles

Physical Education: Picking Up the Baton
Malcolm Thorburn; Shirley Gray.
Dunedin Academic, 2010
Learning to Teach Physical Education in the Secondary School: A Companion to School Experience
Susan Capel.
RoutledgeFalmer, 2004 (2nd edition)
Learning and Teaching in Physical Education
Colin A. Hardy; Mick Mawer.
Falmer Press, 1999
Physical Children, Active Teaching: Investigating Physical Literacy
Patricia Maude.
Open University Press, 2001
Sport Education in Physical Education: Research Based Practice
Dawn Penney; Gill Clarke; Mandy Quill; Gary D. Kinchin.
Routledge, 2005
Teaching Lifetime Sports
Lawrence F. Butler.
Bergin and Garvey, 2002
Sport and Physical Education: The Key Concepts
Timothy Chandler; Mike Cronin; Wray Vamplew.
Routledge, 2002
The Sociology of Sport and Physical Education: An Introductory Reader
Anthony Laker.
Routledge Falmer, 2002
A Framework for Physical Education in the Early Years
Hazel Kathleen Manners; Margaret E. Carroll.
Falmer Press, 1995
Games and Great Ideas: A Guide for Elementary School Physical Educators and Classroom Teachers
Rhonda L. Clements.
Greenwood Press, 1995
Guiding the Young Athlete: All You Need to Know
David Jenkins; Peter Reaburn.
Allen & Unwin, 2000
Student Enjoyment of Physical Education Class in Three Teaching Style Environments
Cai, Sean X.
Education, Vol. 118, No. 3, Spring 1998
Active Bodies: A History of Women's Physical Education in Twentieth-Century America
Martha H. Verbrugge.
Oxford University Press, 2012
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