Academic Research

Making a difference to pupils learning in physical education

Professor Susan Capel, Brunel University, London – Wednesday 7th March, 2012, 12.30 – 1.30pm in room EE1057

The Institute of Sport and Exercise Science invite you to their second University Research Seminar.


My research interests have remained similar over the last twenty years. My research has spanned stress and burnout, concerns about and factors influencing student teachers’ development as teachers, as well as transitions from primary to secondary school. Although the research has contributed to the literature in the area, it has not changed practice, i.e. it has had limited impact. Indeed, the text books in which I have been involved, which are evidence-based rather than based purely on research, have, I suggest, had greater impact.

I would suggest there are several reasons for this. Although some of the research has been quantitative, much of the research being small-scale, qualitative and descriptive. If research is going to have impact and make a difference, then it is important that the research I am undertaking changes. There are two types of research that could make a difference: first, intervention studies which aim to try to find out how some of the ideas work- or don’t work – in practice and hence, whether changes to practice can better support physical education teachers to make a difference to pupils learning in physical education; and second, large-scale quantitative studies, including analysis of large data-bases, which provide evidence which policy makers are more likely to listen to.

The presentation will briefly describe some of my research to-date and explore what this could mean for practice. It will then explore the possibilities for future research in order to make a difference to physical education teachers practice to make a difference to pupils learning in physical education.

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