Physical education teachers’ perceptions of the successes, constraints, and possibilities associated with implementing the sport education model

Stephen Harvey, Shane Pill, Peter Hastie, Tristan Wallhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There have been calls for research that provides a description of how physical education teachers persist in integrating student-centred pedagogical models, such as Sport Education (SE), in their professional practice [Hastie, P. A., and T. Wallhead. 2016. ‘Models-Based Practice in Physical Education: The Case for Sport Education.’ Journal of Teaching in Physical Education 35 (4): 390-399]. Specifically, more information is required on how physical education teachers navigate the contextual challenges that schools provide to deliver the core structural features of SE. This study adds to the existing literature in this domain by using social media as a novel platform to explore an international sample of physical education teachers’ perceptions of implementing SE. Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the range of dilemmas physical education teachers face when integrating SE into their curricula. Method: This qualitative research was completed through conducting a Twitter #chat with fifty-two physical education teachers who self-identified through their participation in the #chat as having an interest in SE. An inductive content analysis was used to analyze the data, grounded in Windschitl’s (2002) dilemmas framework. Findings: The main benefits/successes of the physical education teachers’ use of SE were related to pedagogical dilemmas. However, several conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political constraints affected physical education teachers’ implementation of the model. A conceptual shift was needed to embrace a student-centred modality of instruction, however, the associated student learning outcomes related to this shift were viewed positively. Contextual challenges such as existing curricular structures and available resources often led to a pragmatic (and modified) version of SE manifesting in practice. Conclusions: Using Twitter enabled the capture of the realities of physical education teachers’ practice with SE, suggesting they were interpretatively pragmatic in adapting the model to their situated context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-566
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Issue number5
Early online date14 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2020


  • dilemmas
  • models-based practice
  • professional development and learning
  • social media
  • Twitter


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