Chapter 9: Pathways Toward Desirable Futures

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education

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Murray F. MitchellUniversity of South Carolina

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Hal A. LawsonUniversity at Albany, SUNY

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Hans van der MarsArizona State University

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Phillip WardThe Ohio State University

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This special issue was designed to facilitate futures-oriented planning, focused on identical, similar, and unique practice and policy priorities. Formal planning aimed at desirable futures is a practical necessity for every helping profession because rapid, sometimes dramatic, societal change continues nonstop. Like all futures-oriented analyses, ours is unavoidably selective. Selectivity, once recognized, is a strength because readers are not asked to view the main claims and recommendations as a final authority. Selective research and scholarship focused on the creation and safeguarding of desirable futures has generative propensities that can provide the impetus for subsequent proposals aimed at the common good. In this chapter, the authors offer an integrative summary of the work in this special issue. Our summary invites readers’ special attention to distinctive features in their respective home contexts. This perspective stands in stark contrast to 20th Century models often described as “one best system” and “one ideal physical education model.” Justifiable variability—where “justifiable” means evidence-based and harmonized values—is the new norm for the 21st Century. The authors conclude that the physical education profession will benefit to the extent that it adopts the theme offered in this special issue. Unity founded on diversity—an idea whose time has come in a field known for fierce competition over curricula and programs.

Mitchell is with the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Lawson is with the University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY, USA. van der Mars is with Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ, USA. Ward is with The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

Mitchell (mmitchel@mailbox.sc.edu) is corresponding author.
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