Physical Education in Higher Education: What Should We Name OurselvesReport as inadecuate

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The use of the term physical education in higher education began in the 1920's, with previous terminology including gymnastics,hygiene, and physical culture. There is now a large constituent of educators who feel the name physical education no longer accurately describes the field. Various names have been considered, primarily kinesiology, along with sport science,movement science, and human performance. Arguments for and against adoption of each of these terms are cited. It is concluded that the term physical education is neither too broad nor too narrow in focus. Some educators concerned with changing the field's name in actuality want to change the field's identity. Changing the field's name will not automatically improve its status in education or in the community. The field is troubled by such problems as individuals within the field who are less than professional and by colleges offering such courses as kick-ball and dodge-ball as formal physical education courses. Educators in physical education cannot hide behind a new name, but must look to the future and change the image, not the name. (Contains 23 references.) (JDD)

Descriptors: Definitions, Educational Change, Educational History, Higher Education, Physical Education, Professional Recognition, Teacher Education, Teaching (Occupation), Vocabulary

Author: Mills, Brett D.


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