A plie of korfballs

Korfball – More than just a game

A plie of korfballsTrainee physical education teachers were introduced to the only mixed-sex team game played widely in the Netherlands and Belgium – Korfball.

The game of Korfball is played between teams made up of four male and four female players. The playing court is divided into two equal zones and two players of each sex are placed in each – it can be played indoors or outdoors.

Players cannot move into the other zone during the match but every time two goals are scored, the players swap zones and therefore roles (attackers become defenders and vice-versa). The sport has similarities to both netball and basketball and players score by throwing the ball through the goal (korf) of the opposite team. The principals of the game are very similar to most other invasion games where the object to manoevre the ball through a defended territory to an agreed target within set parameters.

Physical education route leader Dr Gary Stidder said: “Sometimes sport is more than just a game. Team games can be a metaphor for addressing much broader social issues and can be a valuable educational tool. Key learning objectives can be taught, such as gaining an understanding of issues related to gender and PE in secondary schools, recognising the rationale for mixed and single-sex grouping in physical education, and identify key issues related to gender equity, inclusion and access.

“Physical Education and team games are closely aligned to the concept of masculine and feminine appropriate behaviour through single-sex teaching, same-sex staffing and sex-segregated team games. Within schools subjects such as physical education contain many subtle messages about sex roles that are passed on, often sub-consciously, by teacher’s attitudes and actions. Masculinised and feminised versions of team games, for example, are part of this process where teachers and pre-service teachers of physical education are responsible for reinforcing dominant and ascendant values and ideologies associated with gender norms. The aim of teaching and learning Korfball was to challenge those preconceptions.

“Korfball is an example of a game in which gender-stereotypes can be challenged and boys and girls can learn to play collaboratively in gender-neutral mixed team.”

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