Subject Matter Analysis in Physical Education

Subject Matter Analysis in Physical Education

Carolina Picchetti Nascimento (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6603-0.ch014
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Educational research grounded in the theoretical perspective of developmental teaching can provide some ideas, challenges, and proposals to be discussed. From a developmental perspective, the fundamental content of teaching and learning covers the theoretical concepts of each school subject. Through the area of physical education, the author discusses the process for identifying and systematizing the theoretical concepts that organize school subjects. This discussion is proposed from the point of view of its philosophical foundations in dialectical materialism and from concrete possibilities and challenges in educational research. Through analysis and systematization of the essential and necessary relations that organize physical education and by an attempt at making these relations concrete, the author highlights the value and challenges that arise during a process of a subject matter analysis in educational research.
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Physical education is a school discipline that traditionally deals with a particular set of human activity whether it is named Physical Culture activities, Sport activities or Athletic activities. Besides the matter about which term would be best suited for referring to those phenomena, a theoretical use of the term activity in those expressions can contribute to an understanding of the educational role of the respective discipline. To concentrate on the discussion of the theoretical meaning of the term activity, I will use the expression physical education activities, as a general reference to the different manifestations related to a voluntary and non-utilitarian bodily action like Game, Dance, Gymnastic, Combat Games, Athletics and Swimming. From a theoretical perspective physical education activities must be understood, first and foremost, as a product of societal practice. These activities embody societal needs, objects and goals, historically produced in a field of voluntary and non-utilitarian bodily actions. In this sense, physical education activities can be understood as being connected to and arising from other kinds of human activities, namely: play and art. On this topic, Elkonin (1998) outlines the developmental process of bodily actions.

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