Conceptual physical education: A course for the future


The conceptual physical education (CPE) innovation began in the mid-20th century as an alternative approach to college-level, activity-only basic instruction classes.

In addition to physical activity sessions, CPE courses (classes) use text material and classroom sessions to teach kinesiology concepts and principles of health-related fitness and health-enhancing physical activity.

CPE courses are now offered in nearly all college programs as either required or electives classes. Two decades later, the high school CPE innovation began, and Kindergarten-8 programs followed.

In this commentary, I argue that historian Roberta Park was correct in her assessment that physical education has the potential to be the renaissance field of the 21st century.

Scientific contributions of researchers in kinesiology will lead the way, but science-based CPE and companion fitness education programs that align with physical education content standards and fitness education benchmarks will play a significant role.

CPE courses have been shown to be effective in promoting knowledge, attitudes, and out-of-school physical activity and have the potential to elevate physical education as we chart the course of our future.