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Pastoral care, spirituality and physical education

McGuire, Brendon, Cooper, William and Park, Michael (2006) Pastoral care, spirituality and physical education. Pastoral care in education, 24 (4). pp. 13-19. ISSN 1468-0122

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Within the sphere of Physical Education (PE), many observers (Shields and Bredemeier, 1995; Capel, 2003; Green, 2003) have identified PE staff as having a special empathy for children's pastoral care needs and the development of Personal, Social, and Health Education (PSHE). Such factors as the varied situations and venues in which the subject is delivered, including off-campus and extra curricular activities, perhaps lead interested staff into work that locks into the welfare and personal development needs of children. Accordingly, one of the more interesting challenges posed by National Curriculum Physical Education (NCPE) in England and Wales is that it requires the teacher to address the spiritual development of the pupil; this obligation is made clear through the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) elements of the subject. This paper focuses attention on the merging of this separate spiritual dimension with the other three concepts. While the moral, social and cultural elements of SMSC are recognized components of PE participation, the grouping raises the question of whether PE teachers can develop children's spiritual growth. This paper argues that such a pathway may be possible but that at present there is considerable confusion related to the challenge.

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