What drives Quality Physical Education?

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A Review & Meta-Analysis of Physical Education Effects of Cognitive, Social, Affective & Psychomotor Learning.

“Physical education (PE) has long fought with its “muddled mission” (Pate & Hohn, 1994) however it is becoming increasingly accepted that PE addresses a broad understanding of learning occurring across at least four domains. For the first time in over 25 years, the United Nations set out a direction for a ‘Quality PE’ (QPE) agenda. UNESCO (2015) states that QPE needs to address both health and learning imperatives in order to prepare youth to live a physically active life. It is, therefore, useful to examine the effect different approaches to physical education have on the cognitive, affective, social, and psychomotor development of youth as all have been theorized as strong predictors of physical activity behavior as people age (Cairney et al., 2019).

This presentation reviews over 70 studies and 160 individual effect sizes published over the last 25 years that have sought to answer the influence physical education has on these aspects of learning for youth. The findings of this research reveal the pedagogies and approaches to physical education which have consistently yielded to be most efficacious and the biggest impacts we have had on student learning. This work is significant because it validates the role QPE can play in youth development and allow teachers to make ‘best evidence’ investments in their pedagogy and professional learning.