18 SES 11 JS, Perspectives on Physical Activity and Learning
Joint Paper Session with NW 08 and NW 18
The title of this presentation is a play on words of the conservative directive on Physical Education and School Sport in the UK, Sport: Raising the Game, (DoNH, 1995). In so doing, it seeks to not only highlight the role of policy in defining Physical Education but also to draw attention to wider issues surrounding the pervasiveness of performative discourses within education (Evans and Penney, 2008).
In the United Kingdom (UK), as elsewhere both within and beyond Europe, Physical Education is influenced by a myriad of policy texts seeking to position and define Physical Education within schools. In recent years, within the UK, schools have increasingly been posited as a site for the promotion of health and physical activity (Cale, Harris and Duncombe, 2016; Cale and Harris, 2005; Penney and Jess, 2004). For example, health and physical activity are longstanding statutory components of the National Curriculum for Physical Education (NCPE), reflected within the current version of the document under the aim of ensuring that all pupils “lead healthy, active lives” (DfE, 2013:1). In addition health holds an increasingly dominant discursive position in the policy texts and curricula of a number of other countries such as Australia (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and reporting Authority, 2012), the USA (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 2004) and Sweden (Larson and Redelius, 2008). Health, therefore, matters or is at least positioned at the forefront of policy and research within the field of Physical Education.
The present research is part of a larger ethnographic study of a co-educational community school in the East Midlands Region of England. The over-arching aims of the work are to examine, firstly, the ways in which the concepts of health and ability are constructed within a school setting and secondly, if different pedagogic practices can potentially impact the construction of these concepts. The main research questions are: How are the concepts of health and ability constructed by pupils and teachers? Can or do different pedagogic practices within Physical Education influence the construction of the concepts of health and ability? The research presented here explores one aspect of this first question. Specifically it examines two teachers’ enactment of the NCPE (DfE, 2013) over a period of eighteen months with a particular focus on the delivery of a health related unit of work entitled ‘fitness’.
The research draws on the work of Basil Bernstein as a theoretical framework through which to examine the translation of knowledge through curriculum pedagogy and assessment. The concept of the pedagogic device (Bernstein, 1996) is utilised as a structure to examine this process by viewing pedagogic discourse not as a discourse per se but as a means of the transmission of knowledge, placing limits on what may or may not be said and by whom. In this way Bernstein provides a language with which to discuss the translation of discourses into classroom practice illuminating spaces for new possibilities (Moore, 2013).
Bernstein provides a means to examine the relationship between the macro and micro processes of schooling allowing an articulation of the enactment of policy and its local impact on classroom practice. The notions of recontextualisation (Bernstein, 2000) and the imaginary subject (Bernstein,1996) are drawn upon to explore the dislocation and relocation of discourses as they move from policy to practice. How the teachers interpret and relocate policy text and present this to their pupils through curriculum and pedagogy is explored in detail.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2012). Health and Physical Education Curriculum F10 Bernstein, B. B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control, and identity: Theory, research, critique. Rowman & Littlefield. Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: theory, research, critique. London: Taylor and Francis. Cale, L., Harris, J., & Duncombe, R. (2016). Promoting physical activity in secondary schools Growing expectations, ‘same old’ issues?. European Physical Education Review, 22 (4) 526-544 Cale, L., & Harris, J. (2005). Exercise and young people. Hampshire: Palgrave. Department for Education (DfE). (2013). The National curriculum framework document. London: Department for Education Department of National Heritage.(DoNH). (1995). Sport: raising the game. London: Department of National Heritage Evans, J., & Penney, D. (2008). Levels on the playing field: The social construction of physical ‘ability’ in the physical education curriculum. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 13(1), 31-47. Larsson, H., & Redelius, K. (2008). Swedish physical education research questioned—current situation and future directions. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 13(4), 381-398. Moore, R. (2013). Basil Bernstein: The thinker and the field. London: Routledge. National Association for Sport, & Physical Education (NASPE). (2004). Moving into the future. National standards for physical education. Ofsted. (2013). School inspection report available at: www.ofsted.gov.uk Penney, D., & Jess, M. (2004). Physical education and physically active lives: A lifelong approach to curriculum development. Sport, Education and Society, 9(2), 269-287.
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