A Historical Review of Physical Education in China (1949-2020)

Jin Yan, Jordan Smith, Philip Morgan, Narelle Eather


With the drastic changes in the historical context, political and social reconstructions played a significant role in the formation of the contemporary education system in China as well as other countries around the world. Based on the chronicled outline of past revolutions in the Chinese society, this paper aims to provide a broad historical overview of the history and development of physical education (PE) in China since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. The process of PE reform in China occurred in four distinct stages, including the Initial Establishment Stage (1949 to 1956), the Exploration Period (1956 to 1966), the Regression Era (1966 to 1976), and the Era of Renaissance and Transformation (1979 to present). This historical review describes the development of PE as a curriculum area across these four critical periods and includes an analysis of historical contexts, policies, faculty training, curriculum settings, and pedagogical content in PE. This paper focuses mainly on PE within elementary and secondary schools in China, accompanied by a brief introduction to college PE in China. Through an examination of the four distinct stages of PE reform in China, a comprehensive understanding of the overall development of PE within these historical periods is presented. Inspired by the development of the educational system in China, a touch on the physical education concepts in countries around the world will also be included. The systematic review on international PE establishments serves to provide a general idea of how future improvements can be adapted to the trend of globalization and other potential public transformations.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v9i4.5203


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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