Academics’ perspectives on the future of sport education

Tristan L. Wallhead, Peter Hastie, Stephen Harvey, Shane Pill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sport Education (SE: Siedentop, D. 1994. Sport Education: Quality PE through Positive Sport Experiences. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics) remains the most researched of all the pedagogical models and thus has the strongest body of evidence that it has the potential to deliver on psychomotor, cognitive and affective student learning outcomes. Despite this evidence, there has been less discussion within the academic community regarding the future of the model itself, or the empirical evidence still needed to facilitate its position in school physical education programs. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to garner a reflective summary of collective SE scholarship to frame academics’ perspectives on the potential of SE as a viable pedagogical model for physical education. This viewpoint included strategies that may facilitate an increased use of the model by teachers in school programs and the empirical evidence still needed to help validate its position. Method: Academic participants were 34 university faculty from 11 different countries who had published empirical research on SE. Participants responded to an online survey designed to prompt descriptive reflections on the topics of (a) limits, constraints, and/or challenges in assisting teachers in learning to implement the model, (b) the capacity of SE for framing effective learning, (c) potential need for the model to evolve, (d) challenges in demonstrating the efficacy of the model, and (e) appropriate research designs for evaluating this efficacy? In-depth qualitative content analysis was conducted using open, axial and selective coding techniques with trustworthiness established through processes of credibility, dependability and confirmability strategies. Findings: Findings revealed support for the contemporary utility of SE within school physical education programs. Perceived constraints to its continued proliferation in schools included teachers’ beliefs and values about physical education, and the institutional contexts and curriculum policies that operate in schools. Academics highlighted the need for research that mapped teachers’ use of the model, including what features they consistently use and why they persist with the model to navigate achieving student learning outcomes. Future empirical efforts need to address the model’s contribution to broader curriculum outcomes and as a potential change agent in disrupting the status quo of contemporary physical education curriculum design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-548
Number of pages16
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Issue number5
Early online date21 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • academics’ perspectives
  • future research
  • practice proliferation
  • Sport education


Dive into the research topics of 'Academics’ perspectives on the future of sport education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this