Competition, cooperation and control

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


It is wor th examining the media campaign briefly before looking at some of the implications which different approaches to competition have for schools. The Times newspaper (now a 'respectable’ purveyor of a Conservative political line) throughout 1986 was particularly scathing about the decline in competitive sports teaching in the state sector, arguing, as one might expect, that the spirit of competitiveness is a valuable social instrument. In a second leader called 'A Question of Sport’ on 17 November 1986 the newspaper reported agreement by both the Conservative and Labour Parties on the importance of competitive sport. Wi th in that context the leader writer argues ’t hat teachers of all kinds, from those who run the egg and spoon race to PE instructors who might have it in their power to groom young men for sporting glory, should urgently re-assess the dafter social theories now around.’ The reference to the egg and spoon race (as others in this reader point out) relates to a Bristol teacher who tried to introduce this activity into that traditional event, the annual sports day, in order to underplay its competitive thrust. This led to a huge outcry in the popular press, which was gr imly echoed in both The Times and The Independent. In the latter a leader appeared on 18 November 1986 which firmly set its face against any di lut ion of the 'games’ element in Physical Education. It suggested that 'PE teachers (and those who train them in the colleges) have tried to raise their status by making their subject more academic. In doing so, they have fallen for the trendy sociologists’ view that competitive sport is bad for children and that it is better to set personal targets for individuals to beat. This is patent nonsense.’ The message which came across was that a significant change was taking place in Physical Education, and that the 'extremists’ on the left were challenging the traditional structure of competitive activities. In doing so they were at the same time challenging the commonsense interpretation of what Physical Education is about, and how it should be pursued.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeacher Teaching and Control
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781136614064
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Selection and editorial material copyright J. Evans 1988.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Competition, cooperation and control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this