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Biomechanics, the health and physical education curriculum and Confucius? Considerations for teaching, learning and assessment

Glenn Fyall

This article reports on physical education teacher education students’ perceptions of the pedagogies they have recently experienced in senior secondary school biomechanics classes. Despite the plethora of educational research surrounding pedagogical best practice in the wider field of physical education, there is a paucity of research seeking to understand links between pedagogy, assessment, and achievement in relation to the specific area of biomechanics and the curricula in which it is situated. 

Analysis of data, gathered from a survey questionnaire (N =57) and a series of semi-structured interviews (N = 11), suggest that there may be misunderstanding and misalignment between pedagogical approaches adopted by senior secondary school physical education teachers who teach biomechanics content and the pedagogical intentions reflected in The New Zealand Curriculum

Drawing on the literature relating to critically oriented physical education teacher education and aligned notions of critical constructivism and also research on biomechanics and its relationship to curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in senior secondary physical education, and physical education teacher education and related tertiary programmes, it is suggested that a greater understanding of critical pedagogy and its relationship to constructivist notions of teaching, learning and assessment may enhance student understanding of biomechanics content within senior secondary school physical education programmes. Furthermore, this may create greater alignment with curriculum notions of “effective” teaching and assessment in the form of NCEA achievement standards. It is hoped that this may provide valuable insight for secondary physical education teachers and also physical education teacher educators who are charged with developing physical education teachers capable of teaching biomechanics within a critically oriented curriculum.

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