The primary physical education curriculum process: More complex than you might think!!

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this paper, we present the curriculum development process as a complex, iterative and integrated phenomenon. Building on the early work of Stenhouse (1975), we position the teacher at the heart of this process and extend his ideas by exploring how complexity thinking and ecological perspectives have helped us frame the curriculum process as self-organising, emergent, recursive and interactive. As such, we present a curriculum approach that recognises the need for teachers to concurrently develop appropriate knowledge and understanding of the learners they work with, the environment in which they work and the capacity to design learning tasks appropriate for this context. We discuss how the complexity principles of similarity and diversity offer a frame of reference to design learning tasks that bring connectedness and coherence to the primary physical education experiences of children and teachers. However, in line with Stenhouse, our ideas are not presented as a ‘package of materials or a syllabus of ground to be covered’ but as a complex and ecological learning process that is more ‘a hypothesis testable in practice’ and an invitation for critical evaluation ‘rather than acceptance’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-512
JournalEducation 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • primary physical education
  • similarity and diversity
  • complexity thinking
  • connectedness
  • core learning
  • learning tasks


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