Do curricular changes keep pace with children’s life style changes? Dr. Gregor Jurak and dr. Marjeta Kovač
Summary: Several national and foreign research projects have facilitated the present analysis of the effects of the changes in social circumstances and needs on the curricular changes in physical education. It has been found that young people in Slovenia currently spend their free time differently than a decade ago (Jurak et al. 2003, Strel et al. 2004). Changes in lifestyle have had negative effects on the health status of young people; this tendency is similar in other developed countries and is manifested in young people in signifi cant increases of body fat (Strel et al. 2007, Rychtecky 2007), an increased proportion of overweight people in the population and a decrease of their motor potential, particularly in strength endurance (Beunen et al. 1992, Strel et al. 2003, 2005, Rychtecký 2007). A long-term comparison of the motor abilities of Slovenian pupils reveals an increased divide in their levels of motor effi ciency, as both the proportion of motorically less efficient and extremely effi cient pupils is increasing, whereas the proportion of pupils with average motor abilities is decreasing (Strel et al. 2006, 2007), which results in teaching diffi culties. It is important to understand that in the last ten years the motor abilities of primary school pupils have decreased (Strel et al. 2005, 2007) despite increased sports participation (Jurak et al. 2002a, Strel et al. 2004). Of particular concern is the fact that curricular and extra-curricular sports participation is insuffi cient in neutralising the negative effects of lifestyle changes in children and youth. The majority of curricular changes in physical education are in contradiction with the findings of the present research; therefore, it is suggested that a evaluation study of physical education lessons be immediately carried out. Furthermore, the prepared and proposed curricular changes should consider the practical execution of lessons as well as social needs. Particularly from the latter point of view, emphasis should be placed on the motor competency of pupils, i.e. on suitable motor efficiency as well as suitable body weight, basic motor skills and cognitive knowledge, related to sport and healthy lifestyle.