Contemporary Perspectives On Pe In Israel: From Physical Achievement To a Health-oriented Approach

Por: Ronnie Lidor.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Physical education (PE) has been a mandatory subject in elementary-, junior-high, and high-schools in the Israeli educational system for a several decades. Its two main objectives throughout the years were (1) teaching fundamental and advanced motor skills, and (2) improving fitness level, particularly in junior and senior high-school students. The progress of the students was typically assessed by an annual battery of physical and motor tests administering to the students from the 4th to the 12th grades. The final grade was given mainly based on the student’s achievements in these tests. However, many students had difficulties in passing the tests, and quite a few subsequently adopted a negative attitude toward PE. In order to cope with this situation, the Israeli Authority of Physical Education has taken a few important steps in the last few years.


The paper discusses current developments in PE in Israel that have been initiated in order to encourage students to be active and have fun. The developments are as follows: (1) The achievements tests were withdrawn from the program; instead, students are required to take tests that measure their own pace of learning and individual improvement. (2) A health-oriented approach is emphasized by teaching students life-span activities, how to plan individual exercise training programs, and how to control their weight. (3) Students can submit a portfolio in PE at the end of the semester that better reflects their learning experiences. (4) Students can take a written final exam for credit in PE at the end of their senior year.


Although it is too early to assess the effectiveness of the changes that have been made in PE in Israel, it can already be subjectively observed that satisfaction has improved among students, physical educators, and school directors.



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