Informal Physical Activity and Sport in Physical Education (IPAS-PE)

Published on (GMT) by Justen O'Connor
Internationally and within Australia, there is increasing recognition that patterns of participation in sport are changing, with so-called ‘informal’ sport displacing organised sport in terms of popularity in many people’s lives. Informal sport is characterised by the following: - Participant organised: Informal physical activity and sport is 'organised' by the participants themselves, and not governed by formal structures found in club-based or paid-for sporting and physical activity forms. - Participation is not dependent on high levels of skill - There is much less focus on the need for developed pre-cursor complex skills and tactics. These can be developed along the journey but entry is not dependent upon them. - Easily set up and self-regulated - Informal sport and PA can make use of a range of spaces that are available within the immediate environment. They are self-regulated with no need for complex equipment, umpires age groups etc. - Socially negotiated challenge: Successful participation hinges on meeting the challenge expectations of participants. Participants need to be able to negotiate their individual needs within the needs of the group in ways that optimally challenge them and this is negotiated socially. There is less focus on rules. - Socially connected: While some informal PA and sporting forms are individual in nature, from a Physical Education perspective, at least or perhaps more important than the physicality of the experience is the social connection and sense of community obtained through shared experience. - Environmentally connected: Connecting to the environment plays a key role in the participant experience. Environments nurture and facilitate movement and movers in-turn support the environment. This project is investigating the significance of changing forms of participation from an educational perspective. It examines ways in which Health and Physical Education (HPE) can learn from informal sport in order to effectively support sustained participation in physical activity and sport. The project presents an analysis of informal participation and provides learning materials to support learning that is relevant to young people’s lifelong and lifewide involvement in physical activity and sport. Our work identifies notable opportunities for how HPE can be enacted in innovative ways that reflect different visions of the participation pathways that support lifelong and lifewide participation, and extend relevance and appeal for many students.
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