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Physical education and language: do actions speak louder than words?

McGuire, Brendon and Parker, Lucy and Cooper, William (2001) Physical education and language: do actions speak louder than words? Physical education & sport pedagogy, 6 (2). pp. 101-116. ISSN 1362-7120

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Abstract

This study examines the nature and extent to which physical education (PE) lessons can provide effective language experiences and contribute to pupils' oracy development A base for discussion is provided by an analysis of the limited research in the area, alongside the evolving statutory requirements and reviews. The research involved partner high schools across two Local Education Authorities (LEA's) of a university faculty of education, within North West England. The schools represented two distinct areas: an inner-city, multicultural community and a suburban, semi-rural, predominantly white community. Questionnaires were completed by 39 secondary school PE Heads of Department and follow-up, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 3 of these teachers. Results demonstrated that most teachers had good awareness of the language potential of the subject Schools that had high proportions of English as an Additional Language (EAL) and other Special Educational Needs (SEN) pupils, had particularly well-developed practices. In most of these schools, National Curriculum Physical Education (NCPE) language attainment targets were being addressed and in many instances achieved, through a variety of proactive approaches, which included: question and answer sessions, feedback on performance, groupwork and other aspects of co-operative working.

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