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As typically taught, sport-based, multiactivity approaches to physical education provide students with few opportunities to increase their skill, fitness, or understanding. Alternative curriculum models, such as Sport Education, Teaching Games for Understanding, and Fitness for Life, represent a second generation of models that build on strong statements of democratic, student-centered practice in physical education. In the What Goes Around section of the paper, I discuss the U.S. perspective on the origins of alternative physical education curriculum models introduced in the early and mid-20th century as a response to sport and exercise programs of the times. Today, with the help of physical educators, scholars are conducting research to test new curricular alternatives or prototypes to provide evidence-based support for these models. Yet, the multiactivity, sport-based curriculum continues to dominate in most U.S. physical education classes. I discuss reasons for this dogged persistence and propose reforms to disrupt this pervasive pattern in the future.
Ennis is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.