The Handbook of Physical Education

By Hopper, Tim | Canadian Journal of Public Health, July/August 2007 | Go to article overview

The Handbook of Physical Education


Hopper, Tim, Canadian Journal of Public Health


The Handbook of Physical Education David Kirk, Doune Macdonald, Mary O'Sullivan. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2006; 864 pp, US$130 hardback

The Handbook of Physical Education provides an indepth and thoughtful survey of the field of physical education (PE). It effectively raises the future challenges of the field, offering possible directions and concerns, and describes how PE is adapting and negotiating its role in relation to the rise of kinesiology, sport and exercise science, and human movement studies. The text identifies how historically the educational aspects of sport and exercise have been marginalized, but in recent decades educational research in physical education has exploded onto the academic landscape. This book captures the essence of the wealth of this research, highlighting how it embraces different research traditions and noting emerging areas of interest such as sexuality, girls and sport, boys and masculinity, disability and race.

The strength of physical education is its worldwide value for influencing children and youth through school-based curricula. However, school-based PE in reality often exists as a marginalized subject or in too many cases exists in name only, not in practice. To refocus on how physical education should be understood, this handbook frames it as a process of being educated in, about and through the movement medium. To highlight the education commitment, book contributors centre each chapter on the term 'pedagogy', identified by the elements of learning, teaching and curriculum. …

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