Values of PE in school

Chung LI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


“What knowledge, skills and attitude concerning physical education (PE) are of most worth to students in Hong Kong?” This paper tries to review and discuss the values of PE in schools with reference to the development of PE curriculum in Hong Kong. It is assumed that such values are ‘subjective’ in the sense that they are perceived by PE teachers as means to an end expressed in their curriculum. They are dynamic and changing from time to time. It is also characterised by personal values of PE teachers or the intentions of the government and other organizations. According to Jewett, Bain and Ennis (1995) and Crum (1993), values of PE can be categorised into different frameworks with three major sources of influence, namely PE teachers’ value perspectives towards personal or individual development, social-cultural goals and the subject matter content of PE. Some PE teachers believe that personal or individual development is the major concern of their PE curriculum. Cultivating all-rounded development of the students and developing them to become elite athletes or life long participants in leisure and recreational activities are some of the examples. Others concern more on the social-cultural goals of the PE curriculum. These PE teachers concern more on building students’ social efficiency and adaptability through fostering desirable traits of cooperation, loyalty and citizenship. Conversely, some want to develop students’ independent and critical thinking through PE so that they can become the change agents for a better society. For some practitioners, the subject matter of PE deserves the special attention in formulating the values of PE in schools. ‘The education “of”, “through” and “about” physical’ conceptions explain appropriately different viewpoints of teachers on the subject nature of PE. However, all the orientations mentioned above are not mutually exclusive. Some are sometimes conflicting and confusing in nature. The situation is sometimes complicated by the practical constraints such as the ethos of the school, perceptions of other influencing bodies and people relating to PE and the limitation of resources. It is hoped that through charting, comparing and evaluating different value orientations, a better understanding of ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ of the educational decisionmaking in PE are. PE teachers’ educational decision concerning the PE curriculum can be promoted with a better organization and emphasis on those that appear to be more important in shaping student learning. It also gears towards creating a platform for debating on the possible directions concerning values that PE can offer to schoolchildren in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001


Li, C. (2001, July). Values of PE in school. Paper presented at the Summer School Project 2001, Hong Kong, China.


  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning


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