English and Physical Education: The Mutually Beneficial Integration
- Lviv State University of Physical Culture named after Ivan Boberskyi, Ukraine
Background and aim of study:
Learning is a complex process, involving not only the taking in and storing of new information, but also recalling that information later. Physical education is known to improve the cognitive and memory functions of the brain, helping students perform better in academics. Better fitness proved to be linked to higher achievement in English and other academic subjects. Little research has been done on using a content and language integrated learning method to teach physical education in English. Physical education content is often limited merely to technical-practical skills, with little emphasis on the more profound contents of the subject, the development of critical thinking and interconnections with other disciplines. On the basis of introductory considerations, the research aims at exploring mutually beneficial integration of English language and physical education.
Sport and physical education, although a unique and important subject on its own, can also be used as a vehicle to be able to teach other core subjects. For teaching English, this can be in the form of speaking, listening, reading or writing as part of physical education activities. Infusing a foreign language into a physical education curriculum requires the following strategies: speak the language slowly, but do not exaggerate; articulate clearly and use distinct pronunciation; use short, noncomplex sentences; rephrase things and repeat; frequently check for understanding; emphasize communication among the students; use as many concrete examples and demonstrations as possible. Due to the physical nature of such education, students will benefit at a higher rate during physical education lessons than they would do in a normal classroom environment. From physical education lessons all the way to elite level athletes and their coaches, literacy skills are utilised to a greater or lesser degree. This gives teachers the opportunity to incorporate the development of these skills into their physical education lessons. English literacy in the curriculum is comprised of four main aspects: listening, writing, reading and speaking. Two of them are widely known as important in sport: listening and speaking. They are both crucial to teamwork and communication in a sporting context. Reading and writing may often be seen as not involved in physical education and sport. However, all the four components can be covered for athletes to understand and correctly interpret the information. Physical education is made up of both scientific and social elements that should be given equal importance. Physical education courses, though, tend to consist of thematic blocks based on general topics of disciplines like anatomy and biology, or techniques, rules and tactics related to sports and physical exercises. There is lack of interconnection between physical education, social sciences and the humanities. If this connection does not occur, there is no authentic and enhanced cultural and language learning in the context of improved communication for developing students’ skills and personality. Language awareness is aimed at changing language learners’ perspectives towards explicit understanding of how language is used in a variety of contexts. By giving attention to language patterns found in usage, critical thinking skills can also be developed for social inclusion by means of physical education and sport. The concept of physical education should be changed towards a more social perspective, since it aims at intercultural communication and mutual understanding among people and cultures.
Physical education and English literacy are interlinked and are as important as each other for students to succeed in a given activity. A new way of conceiving physical education as a discipline should be developed, so that it is linked to humanities and critical thinking. Physical education can contribute in a remarkable way to the variety of using languages to promote knowledge, intercultural communication and mutual understanding.
DOI and UDC:
DOI: 10.26697/ijes.2019.2.26; UDC: 37.01:796+811.111
Information about the authors:
Yurko Nadiia Anatoliivna – Senior Lecturer of the Department of Ukrainian and Foreign Languages, Lviv State University of Physical Culture named after Ivan Boberskyi, Lviv, Ukraine. Styfanyshyn Iryna Mykolaivna – Senior Lecturer of the Department of Ukrainian and Foreign Languages, Lviv State University of Physical Culture named after Ivan Boberskyi, Lviv, Ukraine. Romanchuk Olha Vasylivna – Doctor of Philosophy in Philology, Associate Professor; Head of the Department of Ukrainian and Foreign Languages, Lviv State University of Physical Culture named after Ivan Boberskyi, Lviv, Ukraine.