Aligning Olympic Education With the Liberal Arts: a Curriculum Blueprint From Taiwan

Hsu, Li-Hong and Kohe, Geoff (2014) Aligning Olympic Education With the Liberal Arts: a Curriculum Blueprint From Taiwan.

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Official URL: 10.1080/17408989.2014.882892


Background: For some time the Olympics have enjoyed a relatively cosy, and quite unsurprising, relationship with Physical Education and its practitioners. Yet, as academics continue their critiques of all matters Olympic, this seemingly symbiotic partnership is being placed under much closer scrutiny. The debates are typically orientated around several key concerns, namely, the vagaries of Olympic discourse, the implicit assumptions that align Olympic idealism with ‘good’ moral education, the relevance of Olympic values in young peoples' lives, the Olympic industry's politicizing/colonizing of educational domains, and the utility of Olympic ideals for affecting social, cultural, and (physical) educational change. One other discussion thread, which we add to in this paper, has been the (in)congruencies between Olympic idealism and non-Western cultural contexts and educational frameworks. Combined, the scholarly voices essentially encourage theorists and practitioners to approach the relationship between education and the Olympics with care. Context and curriculum overview: Cognizant of these contentions, this paper exhibits an Olympic education curriculum for first-year undergraduate students enrolled within a provincial Taiwanese University's Liberal Arts programme. We detail three tentative themes around which an Olympic education curriculum might be constructed: Peace, Multiculturalism, and Global sensibilities. These particular themes are concomitant with Olympic idealism, but also align with contemporary East Asian Liberal Arts frameworks. In our curriculum design, the emphasis is on developing an Olympic education that not only introduces students to broader global ideas (e.g. universality and cosmopolitan citizenry), but that respects and reflects national/localized specificities (e.g. Asian philosophical traditions and their legacies in educational institutions). Considerations: The paper stresses the need to further Olympic debates outside the traditional domains of sport and Physical Education, and continue the challenge to Western-orientated sport pedagogies. Our intention is to create a strong cross-cultural study Olympic-inspired Liberal Arts programme that may better link tertiary students in Taiwan with key sport institutions in East Asia, and also throughout the wider communities around the world. We envision aspects of our course material may hopefully serve as a useful reference for other teachers and provide a blueprint for future curricula that might challenge Western-Olympic education orientations.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: B Philosophy (General), GV Recreation Leisure, L Education (General), LB2300 Higher Education, LB2361 Curriculum
Members: University of Worcester
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2014 01:29
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 13:14

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