Physical education for Soviet children and teacher and coach education : physical education for children (to seventeen years) : an historical overview and contemporary study of organisation and methods : an examination of the professional training of physical education teachers and sports coaches
The starting point for this study was when as a specialist physical education teacher working in a school, I undertook a part-time inservice B. Ed degree and wrote a dissertation comparing the systems of physical education in the USSR and in England and Wales. I made one visit in 1979 to Moscow but, otherwise, had to rely heavily upon Western sources of material owing to my lack of knowledge of Russian and the difficulty in obtaining primary source material. I discovered that virtually no profound study in English had been made of children's physical education in one of the world's largest and most important countries. Yet since the early 1950s, the USSR has been one of the leading sporting nations in international competitions. For many years I have been interested in comparative physical education and, helped by my background of foreign languages' study at school, have visited schools in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria and Israel, as well as the USSR. In 1981, I began work as a university lecturer with responsibilities for teacher training and started to gather information for this thesis for which I had to learn Russian, helped by staff at the Centre for Modern Languages at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. During several study visits to the USSR, I visited 1981 - Two weeks sports study tour to Moscowt Leningrad and Minsk. 1983 - Four weeks in Leningrad. 1985 - Six weeks in Moscow, Leningrad and Brest on a British Council Travel Scholarship. USSR Ministry of Education Offices, teacher training institutions, schools, sports schools and other sports institutions, interviewed officials, lecturers, teachers, students and pupils and observed lectures, lessons and training sessions. In addition, I gathered text books, syllabuses and journals and, after several years of research and study visits, set out to describe and examine all aspects of Soviet children's physical education from preschool to school-leaving age as well as the training of their teachers and coaches. It has been necessary to describe the whole physical education system since it is a more complex series of activities in and out of school than what we in England and Wales, understand as physical education, that is, lessons in school. Descriptions are fairly extensive since readers are unlikely to be able to read the sources in Russian for themselves or to make their own visits. Because the concept of physical education in the USSR is so different compared to our own, and because its structure is determined by the state of development and needs of Soviet society, a background description of the country and education system is given in Chapter I and an explanation of the development of Soviet sport and physical education in Chapter II. The concepts of Soviet physical culture, sport and physical education are different to our own and are explained. Soviet terminology in direct translation is used, for example, school physical education programmes, but physical culture lessons and teachers to emphasise the different concepts which are employed. The aims, methods and reasons behind the system of physical education for Soviet children are described and analysed and the theory and practice of its implementation have been investigated through primary sources - syllabuses, visits, observations. and interviews. The effectiveness of physical education for all Soviet children is discussed and some cross-cultural comparisons are made. Finally, suggestions are put to physical educators in England and Wales on how this study might be useful to them when considering changes in their own physical education system.