The (mis)alignment between young people's collective physical activity experience and physical education curriculum development in Ireland

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Coulter, Maura
Scanlon, Dylan
MacPhail, Ann
O'Brien, Wesley
Belton, Sarahjane
Woods, Catherine
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Taylor and Francis
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Major curriculum changes have recently occurred in Ireland, including redeveloping the primary curriculum and the enactment of the Junior Cycle Framework (DES, 2015). Positive and negative experiences affect the attitudes which contribute to determining the quality of curricular experiences. Framed in the work of Fullan, M. (1991. The New Meaning of Educational Change. Toronto: Teachers College Press) and Dewey, J. (1997. Experience and Education. New York, NY: Touchstone), this study aims to understand how young people’s experiences of collective physical activity can inform physical education curriculum development and enactment. Focus group interviews were conducted in three primary and three post-primary schools. The young people’s experiences reflected the features of meaningful physical education: fun opportunities, preferably outside; to socially interact with friends; provision of activities that are both competitive and non-competitive; activities focused on team sport and alternative forms of movement such as yoga; differentiated activities and teams and choice, beyond choosing between team sports only. We argue that the young person’s voice has the potential to inform policy and practice, as well as enforce and advocate for policy and practice that positions young people at the centre of the learning experience.
Curriculum development , Meaningful experiences , Physical activity , Physical education , Sport , Student voice
Coulter, M., Scanlon, D., MacPhail, A., O’Brien, W., Belton, S. and Woods, C. (2020) 'The (mis)alignment between young people’s collective physical activity experience and physical education curriculum development in Ireland', Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education, pp. 1-18. doi: 10.1080/25742981.2020.1808493
© 2020 Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education on 19 Aug 2020, available online: