Meanings given by Physical Education college students on educational sport

Significações de estudantes universitários de Educação Física sobre o esporte educacional

Significaciones de los estudiantes universitarios de Educación Física acerca del deporte educativo


*PhD in Sports Science from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro - UTAD

Master in Education from the Federal University of Grande Dourados - UFGD

**University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD)

Bio Statement: PhD student in Human and Social / Sport Sciences / CIDESD Sciences

of University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD). Director of the Master of Education (Supervision)

Master director of the Teaching of Physical Education in Basic and Secondary Teaching (UTAD)

Department of Sport Exercise and Health (UTAD)

***Doctorate in Physical Education Faculty of Sport, University of Porto

Apostilled the University of São Paulo. Postdoctoral Faculty of Sport, University of Porto

is Associate Professor at the University of Pernambuco Higher School of Physical Education Acts

in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Lato and stricto sensu. Master Associates Physical Education

University of Pernambuco / Federal University of Paraíba

****Graduate in Physical Education from the University Tuiuti do Paraná and Black belt in Judo (1995)

Specialization in Human Physiology and Nutrition at the Catholic University of Paraná PUC-PR

Member of Strength Training group at UFRJ and Master in Sports Sciences

at the University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD)

Deyvid Tenner de Souza Rizzo*

Ágata Cristina Marques Aranha**

Clara Maria Silvestre Monteiro de Freitas***

Fabien Pereira da Silva****








         What are the meanings(1) given by future Physical Education teachers focusing on both school and sports in general on the educational sport? With this question this study aims to analyze the meanings given by students of the 8th semester of the course of Physical Education of two Institutions of Superior Studies in the border region between Brazil and Paraguay on educational sport. In order to analyze the meanings given by the students it was chosen a quantitative/qualitative approach by using a questionnaire. It was found that the students have a narrow vision regarding the concept, including its applications. It is considered that every pedagogical handling of sport is a mean of education also for other dimensions of sport, such as: health, leisure, rehabilitation and high performance sport.

         Keywords: Sports. Health. Physical Education. Superior Studies.



         Quais as significações que futuros profissionais de Educação Física do âmbito escolar e esportivo possuem sobre o esporte educacional? Com essa pergunta o presente estudo objetiva analisar as significações que acadêmicos do 8° Semestre do curso de Educação Física de duas Instituições de Ensino Superior na região de fronteira Brasil-Paraguai possuem sobre o esporte educacional. Para analisar as significações dos acadêmicos optou-se por uma abordagem quanti-qualitativa utilizando um questionário. Encontrou-se uma visão reduzida dos acadêmicos quanto ao conceito de esporte educacional, assim como suas aplicações, desta forma, se vê a necessidade de potencializar discussões sobre o esporte com tratamento educacional. Considera-se que todo trato pedagógico do esporte é uma forma de educação também para outras dimensões do esporte, tais como: saúde, lazer, reabilitação e rendimento de alto nível.

         Unitermos: Desporto. Saúde. Educação Física. Ensino Superior.



         ¿Cuáles son los significados que los futuros profesionales de la Educación Física del ámbito escolar y deportivo tienen acerca del deporte educativo? Con esta pregunta el estudio tiene como objetivo analizar los significados que los estudiantes del octavo curso de un semestre de Educación Física en dos instituciones de educación superior en la región de frontera entre Brasil y Paraguay tienen acerca del deporte educativo. Para analizar las significaciones de los estudiantes fue elegido por un enfoque cuantitativo y cualitativo mediante un cuestionario. Encontramos una vista reducida de los estudiantes en cuanto al concepto de deporte educativo, así como sus aplicaciones. De esta manera, se ve la necesidad de fortalecer las discusiones sobre el deporte con el abordaje educativo. Se considera que toda intervención pedagógica en el deporte es una forma de educación también hacia otras dimensiones de deporte, tales como la salud, el ocio, la rehabilitación y el alto rendimiento.

         Palabras clave: Deporte. Salud. Educación Física. Educación Superior.


Reception: 12/01/2016 - Acceptance: 04/18/2017


1st Review: 03/21/2017 - 2nd Review: 04/14/2017


Lecturas: Educación Física y Deportes, Revista Digital. Buenos Aires, Año 22, Nº 227, Abril de 2017. http://www.efdeportes.com/

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    The teaching on sports practice with educational treatment in the process of formation of teachers of Physical Education (PE) justifies itself and is necessary, for it presents an idea that broadens the possibility of action of sport with educational treatment. It should be understood also that through the pedagogical practice the teacher can influence other dimensions of sports practice, for example on leisure and high performance sports2. The relationship between sport and education is important for academic initiatives aiming at the systematization of the practice of collective health in society (Santos & Nista-Piccolo, 2011). In as much as it is possible to implement a program of education for health based in a program of sports training for children (Fuller et al., 2010; Kravchychyn & Oliveira 2016; Rizzo, Aranha, Freitas, Daolio, & Lopes, 2016), it is possible to think that in order to prepare an athlete for sport it is required good medical supervision, but also good education for competition (Pearce, 2006).

    There are studies showing that that the construction of educational values plays a very important role in the formation of people in general, influencing even attitudes and behaviors towards the practice of sports activities (Araújo & Diaz, 2015; Santos et al., 2016).

    Considering this the present study aims to analyze the meanings that students of the 8th semester of the course of Physical Education3 of two private Institutions of Superior Studies (ISS) give to Educational Sport.

    Studies on the educational treatment given to sport show themselves as extremely important for society (Boera, Picolli, Maçaneiro, & Braz, 2011; Silva & Domingos, 2014). The educational sport is one of the dimensions of sport, acknowledged by the International Charter on Physical Education and Sport published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 1978). Under this conception the sport starts to be acknowledge as a social right, and thus the right of everyone to sport encompasses the sport-education, the sport-participation and the sport of high performance (Tubino, Garrido, & Tubino, 2007). The debate on the relationship between sport and education in special deserves attention due to the discussion on the role of PE, and in this case, on the role of the future teachers that will act on this field of knowledge.

    The analysis on the practice of educational sport is of great relevance if we consider that the sport bound by educational values contributes in a practical manner with interpersonal relationships (Rizzo, Fonseca, & Souza, 2014). The understanding on sport that is tied to the PE is narrow, for it refers only to the sport that has as content the training, the competition, the athlete and the sports performance. This is in fact the narrow view on sport in all its magnitude. And this understanding is reinforced specially by the means of communication, which always places the sport-spectacle in the center of their sports schedule, in a process that accelerates the transformation of sport-spectacle in a product (Kunz, 2007).

    It is noticed that educational sport has as its foundation principles similar to those defended by the emancipatory vision (Barbieri, 2001; Tubino, 2006). And strangely the sport at school has on the contrary reinforced values proper to the sport of high performance, such as competition, individualism, exclusion and unmeasured competitiveness. This assumptions generates a leading question in the research. What are the meanings that students of the last semester of graduation in Physical Education in two of the ISS in Mato Grosso do Sul in a border region (Brazil/Paraguay) give to sport with educational treatment?

    The objective of this study is to analyze the meanings that future physical education professionals of the school and sports field have on the educational sport. It should be admitted the possibility of an approximation between educational sport and sport of high performance, if it is understood that in the competitions between the individuals practitioners of any sport modality they (re)think the own practice. It should also be understood that educational sport gets closer and sometimes even (re)produces practices of the high performance sport, which justifies the concept already presented, meaning, the application of educational methods on sport. In the present study the term educational sport will be used to designate and to view under a pedagogical perspective the manifestations of sports already existing on the quotidian reality of the formal educational systems or not. For here it is defended the idea that the educational treatment should be present in any form of cultural sportive human manifestation.


    In the present study it was chosen an approach of quantitative/qualitative nature, for it is more indicated to investigate problems which the statistical procedures alone cannot reach or represent due to their complexity (Limena & Rodrigues, 2006). Among this problems there are social and psychological aspects, opinions, behaviors and attitudes of individuals or groups. Through this approach we try to describe and analyze the complexity of the meanings given by the students to educational sport.

    Under this guidance the choice for qualitative methodologies can be subordinated to the need of definition of causal relationships, which are not always possible to define on the basis of quantitative approaches (Kirschbaum, 2013). The study group is formed by 72 students (among men and women), all of whom are enrolled in the course of Physical Education of two private ISS in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul in a border region (Brazil-Paraguay).

    In order to analyze the meanings given by the students on educational sport it was used a questionnaire with closed questions with scales and open questions. The making of the questionnaire used in the present study was based on the original instrument created and validated by Cardoso (2007).

    The questionnaire was answered in a closed classroom in which were present all the students who agreed to participate in the research. The data of the questionnaire were treated in the electronic spreadsheet Excel in which it was calculated the percentage of distribution of the answers of the students to each one of the scaled closed questions. For the analyses of the open questions it was considered the frequency of the words used and the comparison between the answers, in order to identify independent variables, which were used to verify the logic of the predominant meanings given by the students in relation to educational sport.

Results and discussion

    What is necessary is an expansion of the concept of sport. And this does not signify the extinction of high performance sport, but only a transformation of this phenomenon (Kunz, 2007; Rizzo et al., 2016). In this question the students were asked: "What do you understand as Educational Sport?". The answers of the 72 individuals lead to the identification of two categories (see table 1)5. The first category totalizes 69.4% of the deponents, who identified the discourse on educational sport as a broad phenomenon in the context of PE and that is able to transform in a critical manner the individuals and the context in which it unfolds. The second category, which is formed by 30.6% of the students, understands the educational sport in a rather reduced way, understanding sport as an end in itself. When it is not tied to specialization through the practice of sports it is identified as a tool for the selection of "sports talents".

    The letter "A" represents the student who answered the questionnaire, and we can notice in the chart 1 the answer of A17whopresents an absurd view on educational sport. This is not any surprise since, as we already pointed in the text, there is a lot of confusion on the literature about educational sport.

Table 1. Meanings of Educational Sport

    On the next question the students were asked to evaluate objective questions in scale according to the order of priority that sports programs with educational treatment should be indicated to the participation of children and teenagers. The results are shown in the chart 16, and they show that 72.2% of the students believe that sports programs directed to children of 6 and 7 years old should be oriented only towards the formation of values and 0% with emphasis on the results/scores of games and competitions. In the band of 8-9 years of age it was admitted the possibility of valorization of results and scores of the games, but also with emphasis in the formation of positive values in the lives of the children. It is interesting to note that for teenagers ranging between 16 and 18 years of age the answers of the students reached an almost "equilibrium", in which 30% affirmed that sports programs should put emphasis on the results of games and competitions for this age group.

    The transferring of knowledge on education have an impact in the traditional strategies for the teaching of sport (Provvidenza et al., 2013; Soares, Antunes, & Aguiar, 2015). For this reason we defend that the pedagogical practice bound by positive values is also appropriate to teachers working with sports programs outside the limits of the school, independently of the results/scores of the games.

Figure 1. The participation of children and teenagers in sports programs with educational treatment

    In a critical sense it is acknowledged that sport itself is also part of an industry responsible for a constant reproduction of norms. However, we are faced with an event that imposes itself in a precocious manner in the life of people in general, such as the type of clothes, food, language and beliefs. It is a social fact able to influence the human being in his attitudes and habits.

    [...] every manner of acting, whether it is fixed or not, that is susceptible of causing in the individual an exterior coercion; or still, which generally happens in the whole of a given society, when it presents itself as self existent and independent of the individual manifestations which it may have (Durkheim, 1968).

    The next question asks the students to attribute levels of importance to "the results/scores of the games" in each stage of sports formation oriented by the educational treatment (see chart 2). It is interesting to notice how the percentage are inverted when the age group of 6-7 is compared with the age group of 16-18. In the first group 52.7% declared that the results/scores of games during a sport program are of "no importance" and 33% of "little importance". In the second group the "roles" are inverted. For 38.8% it is "important" and for 44% it is "very important" the emphasis on the results and scores of the games. This enables us to understand that the students attribute the meaning of a more competitive sport with the need to have "a winner and a loser" for older individuals (16-18 years old), while for the younger individuals (6-7 years old) these values are not considered relevant for the realization of a successful sports practice.

    The disagreement in the relationship between sport and education inserts itself especially in the discussion of the role of PE. For this reason the treatment of the results and scores of the games should be part of the context of the classes of PE at school. And this is so because the teacher have the possibility to demonstrate to the students through a critical reading of sport that, even if the score was not favorable to a given team, everybody can win with the sharing of experiences and the socialization during the game.

    The classes of Physical Education has been rooted as a excluding and sometimes uncritical practice, which is focused on the formation of sports teams that represent the schools, and that are seen by the students as a practice of leisure, such as a way to "break" the routine of the classroom (Boera et al., 2011).

    We believe that the importance of the results/scores of the games work as a kind of frontier, which is sometimes difficult to respect. Because this frontier is significant until the moment in which in an autonomous manner the individuals in the teams search ways to evaluate their role in the game, and through this evaluation to continue in the activity of the practice of sport satisfying their own particular interests and those of the group.

    The sport can be, and it has many times been, a process that helps to educate (Luguetti, Ferraz, Nunomura, & Böhme, 2015; Nogueira & Pereira, 2014), since its logic is founded at least theoretically in the equality of opportunities, in the respect of differences and in the assimilation of rules and norms of socialization with the other (Murad, 2007).

Figure 2. Levels of importance of "the results/scores of games" during the sports formation

    Two principles that guide the high performance sports can manifest themselves in the sport with educational purposes, and they should be constantly fought, for they are ultimate and absurd expressions which must be banned in an effectively fraternal and democratic society. These principles are the individualism and hipercompetitiveness (Sadi, 2004).

    The individualism in its turn must be substituted for collective and cooperative manifestations. The competition and the cooperation must be promoted and encouraged at school in an educational manner, allowing a bigger approximation of the sports phenomenon with education.

    When we asked the seventh question, "What themes you would like to study in the courses of formation of teachers in reference to the role of educational sport in the formative process of children and teenagers?", the answers were very diverse, but it was noticed 4 categories. In the first category 11.1% correlated the importance of convergence of themes such as inclusion, Adapted Physical Education and special education for the benefit of educational sport. In the second, 41.6% underlined the importance of themes such as Physical Education at School, sports and school, teacher of PE and sport at school, and wrestling at school. In the end it becomes clear that this percentage of students understand the theme of educational sport as emerging only in the context of PE classes.

    In order not to have a reduction in the meaning of sport it is necessary that strategies, tactics and techniques, whether in the environment of school or at sports centers of excellence, should dedicate special attention to the activities already mentioned, aiming at the valorization of the individualities of each person.

    In the third category, in the answers of 22.2% of the students, it was observed the influence of training oriented towards high performance, in which it was addressed themes such as: training, sport and wrestling, success in sport, techniques and tactics in sports games. In this sense it was noticed that high performance sport has its significance for the practice of sport in its various branches.

    Maybe it would be more interesting for the formation of future teachers a greater dedication in the creation of pedagogical practices that give to the practice of high performance sport the meaning of educational values for the benefit of the participants, rather than to insist in the separation and homogenization of one or the other. For there is a study that already showed that youngsters who participate only in classes of PE at school present lower levels of cardiovascular aptitude in comparison with youngsters who participate in sports programs outside the school (Beets & Pitetti, 2005).

    In the fourth and last category 25.1% of the students mentioned very broad themes which were framed into a single general class, where there appear topics such as nonconventional sports, corporal image, wrestling, Brazilian sports culture. In this manner we can prove that in fact sport cannot have an end in itself. For the meanings that were given are only answers to the social needs of a certain group to a certain period.


    We observed a reduction on the understanding about sport as a possibility of pedagogical and educational treatment. This points to the need of a possible revision on the formation of these future teachers. However, this does not mean that courses for the formation of teachers of PE should be restructured to attend such demand. But we believe that in order for the curriculum of the teacher of PE to attend the actual needs of a society always more sedentary, the educational treatment given to sport should manifest itself naturally with teaching action.

    In this manner the formation of teachers would be bound by positive principles which would value different manifestations of sport by taking into consideration specifically the educational sport. It is necessary to think that every pedagogical treatment of sport, including the high performance sport, is a form of education, meaning that both the educational sport activities and those directed to excellence, health, rehabilitation and leisure, should be pedagogically treated in the process of teaching.

    This is the great challenge for the students who participated in the study, and that very soon will be acting professionally in clubs, gymnasiums, schools, etc.: the success on the building of meaning for the movement historically constructed by children and teenagers so that, when they reach more mature ages, they may become reproducers of a sports practice that is more emancipatory and critical.

    We acknowledge that high performance sport is a reality in sports centers and also in schools, and this acknowledgement must come together with the desire to guide the sport by educational treatment. For whether it be of high performance, leisure or at school, the sports practice with educational values promotes the human development in its multiple potentialities. For this reason we believe in the need to empower the discussion around the concept of educational sport in the formation of teachers. Because the students of both ISS showed uncertainties about the role of educational sport.

    Finally, we consider that there are favorable situations for the learning and consequently the teaching and the liking of sport. Thus, there is nothing more prudent than to invest in the education of the future teachers for the dissemination of the lessons that they lived. For if Physical Education studies the human body in movement, then sport can be a component coming from a pedagogical proposal that envisions to structure the learning not only of movement, but also of psychological and social aspects. And this is a situation that involves the educational treatment, for it is based on questions related with culture and attitude that are fundamental in the experiences and the needs of people in general.


  1. We consider "meanings" all the connotations, senses, associations, values and importance of the answers of the students to the questionnaire applied.

  2. In this study the notion of "high performance sports" will be understood as professional sport, spectacle sport, sport of high competition, excellence or high intensity.

  3. In both institutions the course of Physical Education is offered as a plain bachelor degree to work as a professional on the field or a bachelor degree habilitating the professional to teach the discipline of Physical Education in Schools.

  4. This study is the result of part of a doctorate thesis approved by the Ethics in Research Committee of the Federal University of Grande Dourados-MS (CAAE: 50341915.4.0000.5160/ Number of document: 1.402.554).

  5. For every charts it was selected some answers from the 72 students to illustrate the difference between the identified categories.

  6. The reading of the results of all charts should be made from left to right, in the right order and based on the classes of words presented in the subtitle in Arabic numbers. They are all sources from the authors.


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