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Developing Social and Emotional Learning in Physical Education: The Contextualised Appropriation of Sport Education

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is increasingly recognised as beneficial for students’ mental health and academic learning. Despite the growing SEL research in general education, SEL remains largely under-explored and under-researched in the Health and Physical Education (HPE) field. This research has been focused primarily on how SEL could be addressed in Physical Education (PE). Currently, there is a lack of research to inform teachers’ pedagogical decisions relating to how to embed teaching of SEL within PE. My Masters study investigated these issues in an Australian context. It explored the potential of the Sport Education teaching model to enable PE teachers to focus on SEL outcomes. My doctoral research sought to extend this line of research within the context of a low socio-economic middle school (ages 11 to 14) in Aotearoa New Zealand. It has examined ways in which two teachers were able to utilise this pedagogy to promote SEL in their Year 7/8 classes. Taking the dual role of researcher and co-teacher, with the teachers, I planned and implemented a year-long Sport Education-based PE curriculum, aimed at progressing SEL outcomes. This study investigates the facilitation of SEL by observing the changes in two classes of Years 7 and 8 students and teachers’ participation in a series of Sport Education experiences. The research has employed a critical ethnographic case study methodology to generate qualitative data over four research cycles. Findings revealed that in order for SEL to be effectively foregrounded in a Sport Education learning context, SEL outcomes have to be prioritised in the unit plan and explicitly taught using a flexible and contextually responsive season structure. As this curriculum development and enactment process was highly demanding and pedagogically sophisticated, a contextualised, collaborative professional development approach was found to be pivotal in supporting the teacher participants to develop the beliefs and capacities in advancing the SEL of their students. The results of the study contribute to an understanding of the dynamic process of enacting a SEL-integrated, Sport Education-based PE curriculum. In addition to suggestions for pedagogy and teacher professional learning, recommendations for future research to extend the present study are made.
Type of thesis
Ang, S. C. (2015). Developing Social and Emotional Learning in Physical Education: The Contextualised Appropriation of Sport Education (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10518
University of Waikato
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