South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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A paradigm shif in Life Orientation: a review

K J van deventer


Despite all the benefits associated with participation in physical activity, Physical
Education (PE) as a school subject and school sport seems to continue to loose
ground in a growing number of countries. It seems that there has been little
consensus regarding the distinctive characteristics of PE as an educational
experience, since the professional PE community is still in disagreement over the
mission of PE. The profession has failed to articulate PE in terms which are readily
understandable to parents, politicians and children. This article focuses on defining
PE and making a case for a paradigm shift in Life Orientation (LO) in the National
Curriculum Statement (NCS). Since the 1880s a number of developments regarding
PE syllibi were experienced in South Africa (SA). The current emphasis in LO within
the South African context is on integration, personalisation, social justice and equity.
To make a case for a paradigm shift in LO towards a practical approach is not a
difficult task. The benefits of such a paradigm shift cab range from education and
economy to safe and healthy cities. However, these benefits will not develop
automatically. In keeping with the ethos and philosophy of holistic education and
international and African trends regarding the use of the term PE, a case is made for
a paradigm shift towards Physical and Health Education in Life Orientation
(PHELO). The methodology consists of a literature review in the field of education,
PE and policy development. The research can be typified within the qualitativeinterpretative
paradigm. Although a number of developments have recently taken
place in SA regarding the provision of PE, it is concluded that not enough was
practically done to better the lives of young people. Over the years SA has lost many
young talented sports people due to a maladjusted system. Is this to be perpetuated?

Keywords: Physical Education; Life Orientation; Education; Developing Countries.

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Vol. 29 (2) 2007: pp. 131-146

AJOL African Journals Online