Curriculum Development in Physical Education
reviewed by William G. Vandenburg - 1954
Curriculum development in education has long been the subject of intensive research and study, and many publications are readily available in this area. In physical education, however, there seems to be a lack of accessible material pertaining to methods involved in program planning. This lack is probably explained by the fact that physical education has been accepted only relatively recently as a legitimate member of the school curriculum. Thus, there is a definite need for publications dealing with curriculum development in the area of physical education. Rosalind Cassidy, in Curriculum Development in Physical Education, has attempted to satisfy this need.
This book seeks to formulate a plan of action for developing a more functional program of physical education based on the precepts of our democratic society. The point of view and methods utilized by the individual and groups in cooperative curriculum planning are applied primarily to physical education. The author does not, however, attempt to set up the ideal program for all situations. Rather, she writes of the how and why of program-planning on all levels of education and presents a series of guiding principles for cooperative program-planning, so that any individual or group may benefit by applying these principles to a situation.
The author warns that "curriculum redirection is a state of mind" and that those involved must find the reasons rather than be given them. Program improvement is dependent upon the involvement of the individual teacher, student, administrator, and other interested persons. Each group must evolve its own program, based on the unique conditions of its situation. A program ideal for every situation would, therefore, be both impossible and impractical.
The book is organized in three sections. The first sets forth the basic principles involved in choosing a central problem and in initiating a study. The second section, entitled Foundations, is centered on the development of the essential facts necessary for curriculum planning in the American system of education. The third section, pertaining to the actual process of cooperative curriculum development, is probably the most valuable portion of the book. An excellent summary chapter pointing up the role of the individual teacher in curriculum redirection and listing guiding principles of cooperative program planning is included.
Each chapter is introduced with a set of study questions which both initiate and summarize the chapter. A selected list of readings concludes each chapter. There is a resource bibliography of considerable length that is extremely well organized in four sectionsCurriculum Development, Physical Education, Adolescents and their Society, and Fact-finding and Evaluation. This bibliography is an outstanding and valuable feature.
Dr. Cassidy's book unfolds in a rather unique fashion in that the curriculum is defined as an ongoing processreferred to by the author as a merry-go-round. Once a problem has been delineated, a person or group needing assistance may get on the merry-go-round at any place and proceed from there. This obviates the necessity of reading and studying every chapter.
An outstanding feature is the use of concrete examples from actual physical education programs to illustrate and emphasize the underlying principles involved. The examples are taken from real situations on junior high school, high school, and college levels. The use of these examples lends reality to and strengthens the principles espoused by the author.
The curriculum as pictured by Dr. Cassidy contains all experiences encountered by the student under the direction and supervision of the school. This gratifying concept takes in all phases of the physical education program: interscholastic, intramural, individual and rehabilitation program, recreation, elective, and regular program. Guided student election of activities is particularly emphasized. The illustrative examples, however, tend to be confined primarily to the regular and elective programs of physical education. If examples from several of these other program phases could have been cited, the value of the book might have been enhanced.
The philosophy of the author takes physical education out of the traditional skills concept and places it more in the area of understanding and appreciation. The development and use of the body are also considered as primary requisites of an acceptable philosophy. Issue may be taken with the author in that the development and use of the body seem to be given a secondary rating in comparison with understanding and appreciation. Since physical education pertains primarily to education through the physical, it would seem that development and use of one's body should be on a par with appreciation and understanding.
This book is a welcome addition to the physical education library. Both men and women teachers of physical education are particularly singled out by the author as targets for this publication. It is an excellent reference on curriculum development for all concernedclassroom teachers, students, administrators, and supervisors. It could easily be used as both a text and a reference for students in physical education teacher education programs. With the publication of this very fine book, Rosalind Cassidy has filled a long existing need in the area of curriculum development in physical education.
WILLIAM G. VANDENBURGH
Fresno, California, State College