Models-Based Practice: Learning From and Questioning the Existing Canadian Physical Education Literature

Kellie Baker


The culture of physical education (PE) has been identified as needing transformation because traditional PE practice privileges competitive sports, rigid requirements and uniformity. These practices marginalize and alienate ‘lower skilled’ participants, and result in a negative influence on students’ self-concepts, providing a sense of alienation within physical education. A recent pan-Canadian analysis of PE policies confirmed that curricular philosophies included critical considerations, however, learning outcomes continued to reflect primarily traditional PE models. Models-Based Practice (MBP) focuses on student-centred learning across multiple learning domains (i.e., affective, cognitive, psychomotor), an approach that strongly influences the likelihood that students will engage in active lifestyles. In a literature review on Canadian PE, 60 sources were identified, where 59 focused on singular pedagogical models while only one addressed MBP: “Teaching Games for Understanding” (TGfU) (54), “Cooperative Learning” (2), “Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility” (2), “Sport Education”(1), and MBP (1). This literature review reveals that although a range of pedagogical models could form the basis of MBP as an innovative approach to the teaching and learning of PE, TGfU dominates the Canadian pedagogical model literature. Results suggest that empirical research needs to be undertaken for MBP to achieve its theorized potential in order to achieve meaningful physical education curricular change.


Cooperative Learning, Instructional Models, Models-Based Practice, Pedagogical Models, Physical Education, Teaching Games for Understanding, Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility, Sport Education

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