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A Dozen Reasons for Including Conceptual Physical Education in Quality Secondary School Programs

Charles B. Corbin, Pamela Hodges Kulinna, and Benjamin A. Sibley

joperd cover march 2020

During the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century, the number of students taking physical education (PE) in high schools decreased from 75.8% to 64.3% (National Physical Activity Plan Alliance [NPAPA], 2016). The most recent statistics (NPAPA, 2018) indicate that only 52% of high school students take PE one day a week, and only 30% have PE five days a week. Clearly, our programs are frequently challenged and marginalized. High-stakes testing, increased requirements in other academic areas, budgetary concerns, and negative stereotypes are a few of the reasons for challenging PE requirements.

Now it is time to become proactive, to promote our programs and prevent the challenges that have led to program reductions in the past. To do that, we must have evidence to support what we do. In this article we present a dozen reasons that can be used in support of conceptual physical education (CPE) programs at the secondary school level. The authors make the case that implementing CPE programs will help physical educators gain the support of all stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, and community members. In the pages that follow, the authors define CPE, present a dozen reasons for implementing CPE programs, and offer suggestions for implementing CPE programs and overcoming barriers within secondary school settings. Finally, suggestions are provided for implementing a CPE/FE course in PE teacher education (PETE) programs.

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