Competition in Physical Education: Avoid, Ask, Adapt or Accept?


Publication date


Series/Report no

Quest (National Association for Physical Education in Higher Education);Volume 70, 2018 - Issue 3


Taylor and Francis

Document type


Competition is an essential part of youth sport. But should it also be part of the curriculum in physical education? Or are competitive activities incompatible with the educational context? While some researchers have argued that physical education should embrace the sporting logic of competition, others have criticized the negative experiences it can create for some students in school. In this article, we draw on insights from the philosophy of sport as well as educational philosophy, with the aim of questioning and critically examining the integration of competitive activities in physical education. We present and discuss four normative arguments (AVOID, ASK, ADAPT, and ACCEPT) that can each in their own way inform and guide future talks on the topic.




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