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Issue: September 2004
Why Teach Physical Education History?
The physical education discipline has had a long development, incorporating concepts learned and appreciated from ancient and modern Olympics, exercise and training, physical activity and sport, and the history of physical education itself. Nevertheless, it continues to evolve as educators improve their instructional methods, medical experts discover better ways for people to exercise, and technological advances offer new ways to train and improve the human body for all types of physical activity. Knowing the heritage of physical education allows educators to understand why instruction and curriculum has evolved and how it will continue to change. Through the study of the historical perspective of physical education, students learn why present practices have emerged and why they may change with new knowledge. Understanding a historical perspective of physical education provides adults with the ability to predict future best practices in the discipline and personal best practices for lifelong health and wellness.
Teaching about historical perspectives in physical education can be divided into four areas of focus: the discipline of physical education itself, exercise and training, sports, and the Olympics. Each of these areas has contributed to the curricular development of physical education instruction. Additionally, the history or social studies curriculum at each grade level can be enhanced through physical education history.
Article category: Concepts and Principles of Physical Education-Part 2