The Sport Education Model: Enhancing Personal Skills, Understanding of Rules, and Enjoyment in Team Handball Lessons


Physical education holds a pivotal role in bolstering broader educational objectives such as social development and knowledge acquisition. This study aimed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of two pedagogical models in physical education for enhancing personal and social skills. A sample of students in grades 3-5 (n = 64) participated in an 11-session team handball module. Classes were randomly allocated to one of two instructional conditions: a direct instruction model (DI, control group, n = 22) focused on skill acquisition through introductory activities, skill/drill practices, and subsequent gameplay, and the Sport Education Model (SEM, n = 42), which incorporated a direct instruction phase for skill, strategy and rules learning, team practice sessions, and formal and informal inter-team games. Utilizing a quasi-experimental design with pre-post measures, both groups demonstrated increased experience in team handball, with no statistically significant differences observed between the groups post-intervention. However, the SEM group reported significantly higher skill levels, a better understanding of handball rules, and higher enjoyment levels at the post-test compared to the DI. While both models led to gains in team handball experience, sports-specific skills, and rules comprehension, the SEM group reaped additional benefits in terms of enhanced skill improvement, superior rules understanding, and increased enjoyment. These findings underscore the added value of the Sport Education Model in fostering personal and social skills through the Canadian physical education context.