This paper addresses the inadequate understanding of the concept of physical literacy (PL), often originating from complex terminology and philosophical language used in the current literature, that discourages non-native English-speaking professionals from engaging deeper into the subject. Specifically, this scoping review seeks to identify international approaches to the definition, philosophical tenets, and core elements of PL. Multi-search databases, seminal works/reports/books, and websites were sourced and analysed. While most analysed definitions were influenced by Whiteheadian interpretations of PL, many divergences exist in the literature concerning the holistic and lifelong journey conceptions of PL. The three philosophical tenets proposed by Whitehead were found in a minority of works. More contemporary versions of PL were related to physical, psychological, cognitive, and social learning. Notions of communication and a lifelong journey also permeate some literature. Considering the plethora of recent literature on PL, we have to simplify current knowledge and terminology, making it useful to those who perform direct education and experimental research in the fields of education, sport, and public health.
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This work was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union (590844-EPP-1-2017-1-UK-SPO-SSCP). The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors. The Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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Martins, J., Onofre, M., Mota, J. et al. International approaches to the definition, philosophical tenets, and core elements of physical literacy: A scoping review. Prospects 50, 13–30 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020-09466-1
- Physical literacy
- Physical education
- Physical activity