Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX education professor wins best paper of the year award from internationally respected journal

May 30th, 2019
Dr. Dan Robinson

Dr. Dan Robinson, chair of StFX’s Department of Teacher Education, and an associate professor of physical education and sport pedagogy, has received a major international honour for his research work looking into what physical education teachers know about physical literary. 

A paper he co-authored with Lynn Randall, of the University of New Brunswick, and Joe Barrett, Brock University, has won the 2018 Metzler-Freedman Exemplary Paper Award for the best paper published in 2018 in the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education (JTPE)—one of the best journals in their field. 

The award, named in honour of JTPE co-founding editors, Michael Metzler and Mark Freedman, recognizes excellence in sport pedagogy scholarship. It was presented at the annual SHAPE America National Convention & Expo held in Tampa, FL.

Dr. Robinson says he and his colleagues were thrilled with the prestigious recognition for their work, particularly as they didn’t even know they were nominated.

“Receiving a call letting us know that we had won the Metzler-Freedman Exemplary Paper Award was such a highlight for me and my peers. We know the sorts of people who have won this award before and it is certainly reaffirming to be in that company,” says Dr. Robinson, who notes he and his colleagues were ecstatic about a year before when they were able to publish their article, “Physical literacy (mis)understandings: What do leading physical education teachers know about physical literacy?” within the well-respected journal. 

Dr. Robinson says physical literacy is a concept and term that has been increasing in both popularity and usage, particularly over the last decade. “This is especially true within physical education, sport, and recreation disciplines,” he says. 

“Though the physical literacy construct has much to offer these disciplines, we have seen so many disparate messages about physical literacy that, for many, it has become difficult to fully understand what one of physical literacy’s initial pioneers, Margaret Whitehead, really meant and envisioned.” 

He says their research article highlights results from a recent study in which they aimed to understand what some of the nation’s leading physical education teachers knew about the physical literacy construct. 

“Basically, we found that many were unable to articulate conceptions of physical literacy that are in-line with contemporary perspectives. Why this is important is that without a full understanding of the concept, particularly of Margaret Whitehead’s foundations in embodiment and monism, physical education teachers risk oversimplifying something that has great potential. 

This research is, in part, made possible by the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

“Perhaps most simply, these oversimplifications and misunderstandings results in physical education teachers doing “more of the same”—offering old wine in new bottles—rather than genuinely reconsidering the work that they might do.”

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