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Cad. Hist. Educ. vol.17 no.3 Uberlândia set./dic 2018  Epub 07-Mayo-2019 


Curriculum and Physical Education: an analysis of the document of 1978 Minas Gerais1 1



2Doctor in Education (UFJF). Professor at Estácio de Sá University Centre – Juiz de Fora’s Campus and at João XXIII Application School from UFJF. E-mail:

3Doctor in Education (UFMG). Professor at the Postgraduate Studies Program in Education (PPGE/UFJF) and at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports from UFJF. E-mail:


In the mid-1980s, the so-called Renewal Movement emerged in the field of Physical Education (PE). It is a period strongly marked by the influence of the critical theorizations about the area, its teachers and its productions, as well as on the elaboration of curricular documents. Receiving a boost from the political reopening period in Brazil, by the end of the military dictatorship, the said movement has been considered a moment of paradigm break by the scholars of the area, that is, PE became no longer guided exclusively by a kind of practice intended for the development of physical fitness inside the school. The present work aims to analyze the Minas Gerais curriculum of PE, published in 1978 by the State Department of Education of Minas Gerais. Through a qualitative approach to content analysis, we verify the solid presence of the traditional theorizations of curriculum in its interior. However, we highlight the beginnings of the critical debate that inspired the quoted movement. In the structure, we present the methodological description of the research, a synthesis of the curricular theorizations and the contextualization of education and PE in the 1970s. The analysis is based on theoretical references in the field of education and PE. Finally, we argue that the Minas document, at the peak of the military government, presented indications of a tension, which suggests it had already been seeking more critical paths for PE in schools.

Keywords:  Physical Education; Curriculum; History of Physical Education; Renewal Movement


Em meados da década de 1980, emergiu no campo da Educação Física (EF) o conhecido Movimento Renovador. Trata-se de um período fortemente marcado pela influência das teorizações críticas sobre a área, seus professores e suas produções, bem como sobre a elaboração de documentos curriculares. Tendo encontrado potencialização a partir do período de reabertura política do Brasil, ao fim da ditadura militar, o referido movimento tem sido considerado pelos estudiosos da área como um momento de ruptura de paradigma, ou seja, a EF passou a não mais se pautar pela prática exclusiva de desenvolvimento da Aptidão Física no interior escolar. O presente trabalho objetivou analisar o documento curricular de EF escolar de Minas Gerais, publicado em 1978 pela Secretaria de Estado da Educação de Minas Gerais. Por meio de uma abordagem qualitativa de análise de conteúdo, verificamos a sólida presença das teorizações tradicionais de currículo em seu interior, mas destacamos, entretanto, rudimentos do debate crítico que inspirou o movimento citado. Na estrutura, apresentamos a descrição metodológica da investigação, uma síntese das teorizações curriculares e a contextualização da Educação e da EF na década de 1970 no Brasil. A análise é inspirada em referenciais teóricos consagrados na Educação e na EF. Por fim, sustentamos que o documento mineiro, no auge do governo militar, apresentava indícios de uma tensão, a qual já procurava caminhos mais críticos para a EF nas escolas.

Palavras-chave:  Educação Física Escolar. Currículo. História da Educação Física. Movimento Renovador. Teoria Crítica.


Michael Apple (2006) argues that the stabilization of ideologies is strongly related with the internalization of the rules and principles of the common sense that regulate the current social order. According to the author, “this ideological saturation will be undoubtedly more efficient if it happens at an early state of someone’s life” (p. 81). Those rules give purpose, value and/or meaning to the situations and experiences lived by individuals throughout their lives. That argument leads us to question the role of the school, the construction of identities, the access to the knowledge propagated by curricula, as well as their connections with public life in different historical periods.

The evolution of the curricular theories in Brazil (MOREIRA, 2010) has revealed that, until the mid-1960s, many of its researchers had been concerned mainly with its techniquebased and utilitarian aspects or even its programmatic organization (Bobbitt, Dewey, Kilpatrick and Tyler). The social purpose of the school experience based on curricula has been accepted as “something not problematic by educational sociologists” (APPLE, 2006, p. 82), which leads other thinkers such as Bourdieu, Bernstein and Young to develop their theorizations on knowledge and power.

From this perspective, in Apple’s view (2006), apparently there have been few reflections on the problems of the curricular educational knowledge, considering the distribution of goods and services in society. Thus emerges the idea that “the study of the educational knowledge is an ideological study, the investigation of what certain social groups and classes, in certain institutions and historical moments, consider as legitimate” (p. 83). For Moreira and Silva (2011), the curricular knowledge is interpreted as a historical production that is socially doubtful, representing also a kind of political arena.

In this paper, we intend to make a contribution to the production of knowledge on the curricula of Physical Education (PE) and its theoretical bases, its projects and goals, as well as its historical process, through the analysis of a document published in 1978 by the State Department of Education of Minas Gerais (MINAS GERAIS, 1978). What codes, purposes and meanings are revealed by this curricular proposition? How can we improve the historical understanding of PE in Brazil through the Minas document of 1978?

1. Methodological procedures and work structure

The present discussion combines contributions from the History of School Subjects and the History of Curriculum. The theoretical reflections on Curriculum will be based on the studies of authors who discuss it regarding the contemporary educational situation, among which stand out the studies on PE in schools by Moreira and Silva as well as Neira and Nunes. The contributions from the History of School Subjects have helped us reflect on the case of PE in order to identify, throughout its progress, “the different historical moments in which the school knowledge is formed, with the objective of understanding its dynamics, continuities and discontinuities in the process of schooling.” (BITTENCOURT, 2003, p. 15).

The survey has been developed fundamentally by means of a qualitative approach analyzing the content of the Minas curricular document of 1978, located in the archive of the library of the Memory Center of Physical Education, Sports and Leisure (CEMEF), in the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)4. We have taken the option of using photographs of the document, considering the necessity to preserve it in the said archive.

Concerning the chosen methodology, it is based on Minayo (1998), who presents the content analysis with three distinct phases: (1) exploration, in which we reflect on the object of investigation, the PE curricular document of 1978, and we delimit the problem; (2) data collection, when we identify the information that resolves the problem, observable in the photographed pictures; and (3) data analysis, when we make our inferences and interpretations of the collected data, relating them to the theories that clarify the study. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we highlight the steps that are not fulfilled rigorously, because the educational research is always intersected by flexible possibilities, as long as our subjectivities, ideologies, practices and values are always inherent in our investigative process (TARDIF, 2002; CHARLOT, 2006).

In the structure of this article, in a first moment, we map the curricular theories in Brazil, identifying the context that had generated the most meaningful influences on the development of the 1970s document. In a second moment, it presents a contextualization of Education and PE in this period, followed by the proper analysis of the document itself. We identify the presence of traditional conceptions of PE, but we also perceive traces of ideas and critical concepts related to the so-called Renewal Movement of Physical Education (CAPARROZ, 1997), which represents a novelty in terms of knowledge about the area. Finally, we present the study’s concluding remarks.

2. The traditional and critical curricular theories in Brazil

According to Moreira and Silva (2011), the curricular theories aim at finding certain answers to questions concerning the knowledge to be taught to students and also the type of human being idealized by society. We understand that issues related to the construction of a subject in his intellectual evolution (cognition and acquisition of useful knowledge) are implied in this reflection. It also involves the formation of citizenship, that is, the formation of a critical individual who is able to identify ethical and moral values that are essential for the human constitution, being aware of his rights and duties. Therefore, the curriculum is clearly associated not only with epistemological issues, that is, the contents registered in the documents, but also with the construction of the subjects’ identities. In the view of these authors, the “[curricular] theories have been classified as traditional, critical and post-critical” (p. 07), through the answers presented to all the questions exposed.

The traditional theories are focused on the organization of the curricular processes, based on the assumption of a neutral or scientific position of elaboration, which leads us to understand that they do not involve a major concern with the critical development of a citizen, disregarding the subjective intersections that exist in the institutionalized pedagogical practices and even the historical social inequalities of the world. In the words of the authors, “the traditional theories ignore the political aspect of the curricular practices, thus not taking into account how those practices contribute to the preservation of the privileges of students in socially benefitted groups (...)” (p. 08). This view, as stated by Neira and Nunes, is also

syncretic, superficial and fragmented, assimilating only the appearance and the effect of the problem, disregarding the movement, the historicity, the contradiction and the totality of relations the school maintains with other social spheres, that is, it does not consider categories that are inherent in the human action and, equally, in the education. Accordingly, it ignores whatever analyses of the effects of curricula on people.,

This has been the general understanding resulting from the traditional curricular ideas, which prevailed in the first half of the 20th century. In Brazil, more specifically since the 1920s, the traditional theory was inspired by the pragmatism and progressivism of John Dewey, which emerged in 1902 and were supported by Bobbitt in the year of 1918, also combined with Kilpatrick’s pedagogical projects whose purpose was an integrated curriculum. Later on, in 1949, the traditional theories became also rooted on the technicality or instrumentalism of Ralph Tyler (LOPES, MACEDO, 2011).

From the 1970s onwards, still in Moreira and Silva’s view (2011), the critical theories have appeared as a counterpoint to the traditional ones, emphasizing that every theorization implies power relations, that is, due to the technical and instrumental aspects, the reasons for certain curricular decisions and their consequences for the students are ignored.

The critical theorizations reject what was the central focus till then, on the processes of planning, implementing and evaluating curricula, and turn their attention to the school knowledge and the criteria implied in its selection, distribution, hierarchization, organization and transmission in schools and classrooms. They aim at understanding who possesses the knowledge considered valid for the curricula, as well as who wins and who loses with the options made. They also intend to recognize the resistance to all this process, analyzing the possible ways to modify it (p. 08).

Neira and Nunes (2009) argue that the critical theories are based on the traditions of Hegel and Marx’s social and political philosophy, explaining “the operation of society in terms of its division into economically distinct classes and the social relations that take place in it” (p. 99). For the authors, this conception has been weakening5 and it has currently been seen as an analysis mode instead of a way to construct a more humane society.

3. The contextualization of Education in the 1970s and Minas curricular document of PE of 1978

According to Germano (1993), in the years preceding the takeover by the military in 1964, Brazilian politics and economics had been marked by certain stability between Vargas’ populism and industrial expansion, considering that the State had implemented the fundamental structural conditions for the advancement of industry. For that reason, part of the business community of this period had supported the public administration, even to the point of eventually tolerating the economic nationalism of the government. As the inflow of foreign capital had been increasing, the balance became undermined and the populist tendencies became fragile due to the lack of support from the armed forces. It was not possible to keep mass politics and nationalism connected with the economic development. Then, Juscelino Kubitschek was concerned about deepening

the distance between political model and economic expansion, still adopting mass politics, but accelerating the industrial expansion, which allowed foreign capital to enter the national economics. The contradictions reached an impasse with the radicalization of right-wing and left-wing stances. The paths to development should be then defined, either in terms of a left-wing social and economic revolution or in terms of politics and economics oriented towards eliminating the obstacles to the definite insertion into the sphere controlled by international capital. The latter option was taken and managed by the leadership of 1964 movement (ROMANELLI, 1978, p. 193).

For Ferreira Júnior and Bittar (2008), the educational reforms undertaken by the military government expressed both post-1964 authoritarian modernization of Brazilian capitalism and the economic theory of human capital. There was the assumption of business technical efficiency as a lever for the economic development of the country in order to sustain it as a global power, which stimulated educational reforms and policies marked by technocratic, authoritarian and productivity-based references, with a primary focus on preparation for the labor market.

The military governments adopted a political movement of dual sense: while they suppressed the democratic liberties and instituted authoritarian and repressive legal instruments, they put into practice modernization mechanisms of the national State, with the purpose of accelerating the modernization process of Brazilian capitalism. In summary: they proposed the creation of an urban-industrial society in the periphery of the global capitalist system, guided by technical rationality. (...) That was how the State, with a great power to rule the civil society, assumed an ideological face founded on the principle of technical rationality as the only valid political mechanism to consolidate the bourgeois revolution that had started after 1930 (p. 355).

Following this process, the government implemented significant educational reforms in 1968 focusing on structure and restraint. Here are some examples of laws and decrees: (1) Law No. 5537, of November 21, 1968, that created the National Fund for Educational Development, complemented by the Decree-Law No. 872, on September 15, 1969; (2) Decree No. 63341, of October 1, 1968, that established criteria for the expansion of college education; (3) Law No. 5540, that reformed the university articulating it to the school; (4) Law No. 5692, that implemented the national system of primary and secondary school, aiming at establishing a direct connection between the productive efficiency of labor and the modernization of the capitalist relations of production (CUNHA, 1977; FERREIRA JÚNIOR, BITTAR, 2008).

As described by Neira and Nunes (2009), both society and school education in the post1964 period were influenced by liberal and pragmatic ideals, considering that the education was marked by “methodological processes to the detriment of the acquisition of knowledge that constructs a critical positioning (...)” (p. 75). For the authors, there was a school practice that was not concerned with contextualizing social and political issues, which provided more space for the technicality-based policies that dominated pedagogy, thus determining proper school subjects such as PE. Curricula systematized and planned in accordance with the technical performance and the social economic development were commonly seen in the school sphere.

With the implementation of the military regime, the political and economic model was based on a developmental project, which aimed at accelerating the socio-economic growth of the country. The education had an important role in the preparation of necessary human resources for the development of the economic and technological growth of society, intimately related to an economics-based conception of educational services (idem).

Simultaneously, the history of PE reveals that its development in Brazil has been intersected by a constant movement of political and epistemological ideas of distinct theoretical tendencies. Especially in the prescriptions for the school space, we identify the predominant presence of the European hygiene-based conceptions from the 19th century, the American technicality from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a Marxist influence in the 1980s and 1990s (BRACHT, 1999; FERREIRA JÚNIOR, BITTAR, 2008; SOARES, 2007).

Guided by Bracht and Almeida’s reflections (2003), we also perceive that the federal government, since the years of military dictatorship, has attempted to associate sports in schools with the national system of sports with the purpose of strengthening nationalism, as well as boosting the economic development. For the authors,

A relationship of mutual conditioning has been established: the curricular component of physical education is put to work as the basis for high performance sports, being considered the basis of the pyramid; the sports institution, through the discourse of health and education, have the available arguments to get support and public funding and reach social legitimacy (p. 91).

The Brazilian federal government’s approach to Physical Education and Sports had become stronger from Getulio Vargas’ New State on, being intensified in the Military Dictatorship that started in 1964. There were attempts to apply legislative measures, involving the creation of infrastructure and government agencies, educational reforms related to PE, which in many cases did not reach the results expected in the school practice and the national sports system, thus being more evident their impact on the area in terms of ideas.

The Minas curricular document of 1978 was an accomplishment by the State Department of Education of Minas Gerais. Professor Lincoln Raso, chief of the Consultancy in Physical Education and School Sports of the Education Superintendency, had invited Professor Eustáquia Salvadora de Souza to organize the work. Then, intending to contemplate distinct types of expertise in PE and work in this field, she had called other professors to discuss and produce the document. Thus, a heterogeneous action group consisting of school and college teachers had been formed. They were considered specialists in certain sport modalities, rhythmic and aquatic activities, gymnastics and games. Besides Eustáquia Salvadora de Souza, also participated in this group Elenice Faccion, Luis Afonso de Vasconcelos e Almeida, Pedro Américo de Souza Sobrinho, Elizabeth da Costa Rosseti, Isabel Montandon, José Tarcísio Cavalieri, Wilson Camelier, among others.

The document was divided into the following sections: Presentation; Introduction; Norms for the elaboration of a course plan; Scheme of the Physical Education syllabus; General goals of Physical Education in the primary school; Fundamental basic movements and perceptive abilities; Athletics; Rhythmic Activities; Olympic Gymnastics; Collective Sports – Football, Basketball, Handball, Volleyball; Swimming; Bibliography.

Source: MINAS GERAIS. Governo do Estado. Secretaria de Estado da Educação. Assessoria de Educação Física e Desportos Escolares da Superintendência Educacional. A Educação Física no Ensino de Primeiro Grau. [Physical Education in the Primary School teaching] 1978.

Figure 01 – Cover of the Minas curricular document of PE of 1978 

In the presentation signed by Professor Lincoln Raso, it is evident that the document did not have the intention to be a tight guideline for the work of the teachers of Physical Education. On the contrary, it was more of a flexible guideline organized by proper professionals for their colleagues in the schools of Minas, who were allowed to adapt it to the different realities of children and schools. By means of this document, the Consultancy in Physical Education and School Sports of the Education Superintendency aimed at

providing guidance for the work of the Physical Education teacher in the primary school [...]. Its structure enables it to be used flexibly and creatively by the teacher who would adapt it to the necessities and interests of the child, as well as to the available conditions and resources of the school units (MINAS GERAIS, 1978, s/p).

The section Presentation reveals the concept of Physical Education in which the making of the document is based: “Physical Education not only as physical enhancement, but also as development of intellectual abilities and formation of favorable attitudes towards social life”. Therefore, Physical Education would have the physical enhancement as a reference, but it would also be focused on the acquisition of other abilities related to cognition and attitudes, typical references from the 1970s (NEIRA, NUNES, 2009).

In the Introduction, the 1978 document ratifies the advisory aspect of the ideas presented to the teachers, as well as the necessity for the school units to elaborate their adaptations according to their physical and material conditions and following the students’ interests.

This work aims at helping the Physical Education teacher plan, guide and control his teaching activities. It proposes a structuring not based on distinct grades, having in mind that the levels of knowledge and abilities of our students are heterogeneous, as well as the conditions and resources present in the schools of Minas Gerais. Each school unit must elaborate its syllabus, adapting the goals, contents and activities to the interests and necessities of its students. The teacher must be careful to avoid being excessively influenced by his own abilities and preferences when he selects the goals and contents. The teacher must be concerned about providing all the students with not only the opportunity of a psychomotor education, but also knowledge and ideals. For this purpose, it is important for the syllabus to be integrated with other curricular components such as Sciences, Artistic Education, Social Studies and Languages. Special attention should be given to the extracurricular activities in which the students can develop attitudes and taste for the practice of physical exercises, not only at school, but also for all their lives. In addition, the fundamental necessity to evaluate the results of the implemented works should be emphasized, so they can be used for necessary revisions and adjustments to improve teaching (MINAS GERAIS, 1978, p. 16).

This section also brings the idea that the teacher must be careful to avoid being excessively influenced by his own abilities and preferences when he selects the goals and contents. It calls our attention in some details, as when the organizers choose the term teacher6 to represent the PE professional. From this analysis, we infer that the developers of the document already sustained the idea that the PE professional should act like a teacher, that is, not like a traditional professor or instructor of PE who prioritizes his own abilities and preferences in the organization of his lessons, ignoring the students’ voice. We also infer that the document already presented indications that the PE teacher should consider comprehensively the relation between the contents of the area and the formation of his students. This passage seems to be against the predominance of sports content in the planning of PE lessons. Therefore, by alerting the teachers, the document seems to defend a broader perspective of PE, beyond sportivization and the emphasis on technicality. The developers seemed to refer to a PE that takes into account the necessities and interests of the students.

Subsequently, we notice two more aspects. First, the significant advancement concerning the idea of educating beyond the psychomotor aspect, that is, an important point through which we identify in the document traces of an attempt to break the predominant PE paradigm that was based on physical enhancement at that time. Secondly, we highlight that the document promoted a PE that would already give opportunities for the students to educate themselves in terms of knowledge and ideals. Interdisciplinarity would then be necessary, that is, another argument and strategy to legitimize the subject in the school sphere. PE would have more sense or would be more important if it overcome the emphasis on the motor aspect, closed in itself, and if it were more articulated with other school subjects, which have their own ways to question the world according to the parameters of modernity. Such evidence seems to corroborate the studies on the epistemological crisis of the field that have emerged since the 1980s (BRACHT, 1992, 2007; MEDINA, 1983).

Source: MINAS GERAIS. Governo do Estado. Secretaria de Estado da Educação. Assessoria de Educação Física e Desportos Escolares da Superintendência Educacional. A Educação Física no Ensino de Primeiro Grau. [Physical Education in the Primary School teaching] 1978.

Figure 02 – Norms for the elaboration of a course plan. 

The section entitled Scheme of the Physical Education syllabus also reveals the transient aspect of a technique-based PE in favor of a conception based on broader issues of people’s lives. The definition of the stages in the curricular plan (Figure 02) for the school courses of PE in Minas confirms a significant aspect of the evolution of curricular theories that permeated the first half of the 20th century in Brazil, reaching their peak in the 1970s. We retrace the ideas of Ralph Tyler (MOREIRA, 2010; LOPES, MACEDO, 2011) and his intentions to combine progressivism with conceptions of efficiency, which have an influence on the exposed document. The theories of this author are marked by a type of curricular rationality correlated with efficiency aspects, evincing stages of goals and the respective evaluations of results.

Tyler’s perspective (1973) as curricular theory, prime example of this guidance, has been crucial and has established the basis of the dominant discourse in the curricular studies and among education administrators. The only discourse until recent times and still rooted on broad spheres of educational administration, inspection, teacher formation, etc. For Tyler, the curriculum consists of learning experiences planned and conducted by the school in order to reach educational goals (SACRISTÁN, 2000, p. 46).

However, in the third stage of the Norms for the elaboration of a course plan (Figure 02), the document already highlighted that the interests and necessities of the students should be taken into consideration. And in the fourth stage, it indicated that the PE activities should involve the students both individually and in groups. We identify the rudiments of changes in the mentioned aspects, corroborating the critical perspectives of PE in the upcoming 1980s. As noted by the Author Collective7 (2012, p. 55), whose work is essentially anchored in the critical theorization of the 1980s,

The renewal movements of physical education, including the said pedagogy’s humanist movement, are marked by the presence of philosophical principles about the human being, his identity and his value, based on the limits and interests of men, and it occurs as a criticism of the so-called behaviorist trends derived from psychology. (...) The principles developed by the humanist pedagogy were the subject matter of Victor Marinho de Oliveira in the book called Humanist Physical Education8 [published for the first time in 1985].

Still in the Author Collective (idem), as an example to validate our inference, it is possible to observe the planning of a lesson based on the critical theorization that values the students’ individualities, according to the following stages: (1) cycle of organization and identification of reality; (2) cycle of initiation into the systematizing of knowledge; (3) cycle of expansion of the systematizing of knowledge; and (4) cycle of deepening the systematizing of knowledge. In addition, we have the reflection that

It is fundamental that we understand our students as concrete people, with distinct levels of aspiration, interest and motivation, which makes each one of them relate personally to the game, the gymnastics, the dance, etc, that is, by means of personal sense and purpose, each student can be satisfied with a different level of technical performance (...). If some students become interested and develop such conditions, surely they might train until they reach those levels [technically more elevated], as others will be guided by the teacher according to their individual possibilities, without denying broader and deeper knowledge (AUTHOR COLLECTIVE, 2012, p. 84).

In its turn, the fifth stage of the planning suggested by the document approaches the topic of evaluation and brings another significant consideration, which seems to reveal the importance of self-evaluation and the concern about all the teaching-learning process, thus going beyond the non-critical aspects of PE. It was already evident that evaluations should consider other types of logic (PERRENOUD, 1999). The document seems to lead to a reflection that the evaluating process cannot be restricted to merely technical issues, even when it praises the idea of tools that enable us to verify the achievement of goals.

In approaching the conceptions of curriculum of this historical period in Brazil, Neira and Nunes (2009) emphatically sustain that the main concern of the teachers was the rational organization of the teaching process and its planning. In the sphere of PE, this moment was marked by “the proliferation of works and manuals that presented ready-made lessons, step by step, giving the teacher the task of minimizing the structural or disciplinary problems and ‘putting into practice’ the ideal curriculum” (p. 76). As we have already highlighted, this was not the goal of the Minas document of 1978, which proposed itself as a guideline for teachers.

Source: MINAS GERAIS. Governo do Estado. Secretaria de Estado da Educação. Assessoria de Educação Física e Desportos Escolares da Superintendência Educacional. A Educação Física no Ensino de Primeiro Grau. [Physical Education in the Primary School teaching] 1978.

Figure 03 – Scheme of the Physical Education syllabus – Example 

In the Scheme of the Physical Education syllabus (Figure 03), the document presents a chart with the contents/units to be worked on in the lessons of PE, leveled in accordance with the eight grades of the primary school. Therefore, it is possible to perceive the influence of the ideas and knowledge from Motor Learning and Motor Development upon the orientation and distribution of the units throughout the grades and inside each grade. The basis of all the work is in the first unit, settled in the first and second grades, whose purpose would be the development of basic motor and perceptive skills: locomotive, axial and manipulative movements; recognition of body parts; equilibrium; visual, auditory and tactile perceptions. With these skills acquired, the students would be enabled to get involved with more complex activities, such as the rhythmic ones, games, gymnastics, sports and swimming.

The chart also reveals the striking presence of sports as a fundamental content of PE, since its modalities prevail in the example of syllabus presented in the Minas document of 1978. This is an aspect of the 1970s, as pointed out by several studies (BRACHT, ALMEIDA, 2003; NEIRA, NUNES, 2009; BRACHT, 1992), and the Minas document reveals such centrality of sports at that time, bringing out what Pacheco (2001) says about curriculum as the proposal of a certain cultural identity,

marked by power relations resulting from ideological options and hegemonic positions sustained by various interest groups. These interests are more visible in the degree of selection of the school knowledge, which constitutes the formative basis of the curriculum, because the scientific subjects do not represent mere fields of knowledge defined by methodological premises. They are established spaces of power in which different social actors seek to build their hegemony (p. 03).

In this way, it is worth reflecting upon the role played by the teacher of PE at that time, which can be characterized by the idea of the promoter of body practices, especially the sporting ones, as we can understand from the observation of the document (Figure 03) about the scheme of the syllabus of PE. The conceptions approaching other aspects of the body culture such as rhythmic activities and ball games were in the minority. Other topics such as fights and dances were nonexistent. The technicality and reproductivism, the concern about the efficiency and the development of skills and competences (physical and sporting usefulness), the motor aspects that sustain the cognitive skills prevailed in the curriculum. Thus, by expressing its tensions and conflicts, the document can also be interpreted according to Neira and Nunes (2009, p. 76) regarding the Brazilian PE in the 1970s:

The teacher had become the mere enforcer of instruction goals, strategies of teaching and evaluation. The didactic formalism had been highlighted by means of plans elaborated according to pre-established norms. The educational planning proposed a form of organization that mostly prevented any subjective interference from destabilizing the process. With the pre-established goals, it was only a matter of operating the didactic action mechanically in order to avoid any risks. Those ones identified as dangerous for the success of this machinery were repressed or excluded from the process, being students or even teachers. The pedagogic practice was simply conceived as a strategy to achieve the expected results, commonly represented by desirable behaviors.

Concerning the section General goals of Physical Education in the primary school, the document indicates that this curricular component aimed at promoting “the Psychomotor Education; the development of basic physical qualities; the socialization; the creativity; the consolidation of healthy habits; the valorization of the practice of physical activities.”

Regarding the psychomotor education, connected to this phase in the history of the curriculum of PE in schools, noticeable in the text, it started being experimented in the subsequent decade, the 1980s. There was an incipient emphasis on the psychological aspects of education, and PE naturally followed this trend. In other words, it focused on the development of the student, his cognitive, affective and psychomotor aspects (clearly influenced by Bloom’s Taxonomy), and how the child learns (NEIRA, NUNES, 2009).

The recent analysis of Nóbrega, Mendes and Gleyse (2016) about the discourses present in the Brazilian Magazine of Physical Education and Sports, one of the few journals of relevant influence on the area in the beginning of the 1980s, reinforces our view about the development of studies in Psychology related to the PE field:

In Brazil, [the discourse of psychomotility] is present and reinforces the influence of Le Boulch’s studies on Brazilian physical education. In the Brazilian context, on the one hand, this influence has been important to overcome the sports-based logic, but, on the other hand, it has also been guided by a psychology-based logic.

The axiological sphere, aspect widely present in the pedagogical practices of PE, which aims at assimilating the development of values by means of socialization and encouragement of creativity, can also be observed in the curricular proposal in dealing with the general goals of the subject. It is worth mentioning the goals related to the consolidation of healthy habits, whose permanence has permeated the Brazilian PE since the 19th century (SOARES, 2007; CUNHA JUNIOR, 2008).

Final considerations

After the analysis, it seems fundamental to consider the presence of a movement of the historical process towards a renewal of PE by the end of the 1970s. We have observed that the literature related to the theme of the Renewal Movement of PE highlights the 1980s, from Medina’s work (1983) on, as the beginning of the reflections on the break with the so-called Paradigm of Physical Aptitude. Therefore, we argue that the Minas document of 1978, elaborated at the peak of the military government, presents indications of a tension in search of more critical paths for PE in schools.

According to Machado and Bracht (2016), in the analysis of the discourses of PE teachers who graduated in the 1980s, we perceive that there is a certain confusion about the understanding of the origins of the Renewal Movement. Is it marked by the presence of critical theories or by the idea of breaking with the Paradigm of Physical Aptitude? For the authors,

In the field of PE in Brazilian schools, the 1980s were marked by the emergence of a whole set of productions and debates to be known posteriorly as Renewal Movement of Physical Education (CAPARROZ, 1997).It can be seen as a movement of “inflective” aspect, given its strong and unprecedented attempt to reorder the guiding premises of Physical Education, for example, in the sense of “calling into question”, intensely and systematically, the paradigms of sports and physical aptitude that formed the basis of the pedagogical practice in the schoolyards (p. 850).

We argue that the Renewal Movement of PE has also involved part of the curricular theorizations that emerged in the 1970s, as far as we assume that it is fundamentally marked by the idea of breaking with the Physical Aptitude. As for the 1980s and 1990s, we have the understanding of the elaboration of critical theorizations more systematized for PE regarding the production of books, articles, surveys, as well as the proper elaboration of curricular proposals of Brazilian states and municipalities. In any case, although the curricular document of PE (MINAS GERAIS, 1978) outlined timid attempts at advance, persisting as a benchmark proposal in the area, it presented unequivocally more solid elements, as demonstrated, supporting the perspective of a type of PE in Minas’ schools still permeated by a strong technique-based component and related to motor and sportive skills, typical of the governmental policy of this period (NEIRA, NUNES, 2009; BRACHT, 1992). The analysis presented makes it an object essentially marked by the traditional theories of curriculum, but already intersected by some critical reflections, disputes and tensions.

The ideas, purposes, codes and technique-based norms that have influenced the Brazilian PE, especially from the 1960s on, are present in the Minas document of 1978, but the analysis of its content also reveals other perspectives, which we can call indications of tension. After its presentation, the document (MINAS GERAIS, 1978) has an introductory page – Introduction – that clearly approaches some broader goals about the functions of the teacher, with a brief mention of the importance of the local context of students’ interests, as well as the identification of interdisciplinary aspects. It is imperative to highlight that these observed aspects can be understood as serious indications of advances planned for the Minas PE of that period. Therefore, we argue that the document, beyond following strictly the prescriptions of the technicality and the paradigm of physical aptitude (AUTHOR COLLECTIVE, 1992), reveals the influence of critical ideas and, between the lines, in its gaps, the intentional action to advance towards a renewing curricular proposal of PE.

The heterogeneous composition of the group can help explain the tensions revealed in the 1978 document, that is, the simultaneous presence of more traditional conceptions of PE and renewing ideas for the period under discussion. The final text seems to have been the result of the possible consensus conceived by the group of people responsible for its elaboration.

4Source: Contact:

5 Moreira and Silva (2011) as well as Neira and Nunes (2009) indicate that, from the 1990s on, the post-critical theorizations present new tensions for the curricular discussion. The most seen categories, such as power, ideology and hegemony, become replaced by culture, identities, discourse, among others. However, they will not be used in this work because they emerged several years after the publishing of our object of research.

6Translation note: The idea is to differentiate between “professor”/”instructor” and “teacher” in the sense that the latter term would be less formal and more connected to a broader idea of educator, that is, someone who is able to value the students’ perspective. As it is impossible to establish perfectly the different nuances, the present translation makes an option of not using the cognate term “educator”, preferring the term “teacher” instead.

7Its first edition was published in 1992 and marked the PE field presenting the idea of Critical-superseder conception, based on Marxism.

8Reference: OLIVEIRA, Vitor Marinho de. Educação Física Humanista. [Humanist Physical Education] Rio de Janeiro: Ao Livro Técnico, 1985.


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Received: September 00, 2017; Accepted: November 00, 2017

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