chapter  12
8 Pages

Content knowledge

Researchers and coaches are increasingly expressing a desire for greater understanding of content knowledge. This ambition is not exclusive to those of us living and working in the English-speaking world. In this respect, content knowledge has been the focus of the didactique tradition of educational research in Europe (Amade-Escot 2006). According to Amade-Escot (2006: 348), the concept of didactique is related to ‘(i) the study of the content and its function in the teaching/learning process; [and] (ii) the way it [content] is embedded in instructional tasks and brought into play during the interactive teaching/ learning process’. Two English language reviews of the didactique literature in physical education and sport provide a comprehensive insight into this body of research (see AmadeEscot 2000; David et al. 1999). In the UK, Abraham et al. (2006) observed that expert coaches have declarative knowledge of the specific sport; primarily, associated sport science and pedagogical knowledge, with the latter also being able to be expressed procedurally. In the US, McCullick et al. (2005: 129) reported that coaches value coach education programmes that adopt a broader concept of content knowledge. This was illustrated by the participants of the Ladies Professional Golf Association – National Education Program (LPGA-NEP) – that stated that the strength of the programme was that they ‘learned pedagogical knowledge, that is, they learned about how to teach … not just what to teach’ (McCullick et al. 2005: 129). Despite the largely positive evaluation, the coaches recognized that the pedagogical content knowledge and subject-matter knowledge could not go unquestioned. The findings here, however, that coaches valued formal coach education, runs counter to other more critical research. This issue then remains a contested one.