The Influence of Dualism and Pragmatism on Physical Education
Physical education is an area in which most professionals focus only on the body and its needs. Most PE teachers do not believe that having an understanding of philosophy is important in order to be a good teacher. One might ask why the physical educators think this. Looking at the history of philosophy we might find the answer within philosophy itself. Physical education is an unquestionable part of the school curriculum, but it does not have the same value as other subjects. The importance of PE is underestimated as school administrators stress the importance of academic subjects. The reason why physical education is so strongly separated from academic disciplines is because of its roots in ancient Greek times, when the soul was separated from the body. Medieval scholars stressed the importance of soul and cursed body as the nest of sins. From then on we have had dualism, a term which is widely adopted by western society. Dualism is so deep in us that we do not realize its impact any more. Other strong educational influence came from great thinkers such as: Comenius (1592-1670), Rousseau (1712-1778) and Dewey (1859-1952). Particularly Dewey's influence on American education, society, psychology, philosophy and way of life is significant. An importance of the experience is valued by Pragmatism. Pragmatists believe that the curriculum should be focused on the child and not on facts, they remind us about the role of education in society, and about the realization of the deep roots of division of our bodily and mental functions. The opportunities offered by the pragmatist's approach to education can help us to improve U.S. education, particularly physical education, and thus to use this to improve the state of American society.