08 SES 05, Purposes of Health Education: Framings in and beyond curriculum
With this paper we aim to discuss the ways in which different critical perspectives present themselves within the context of curriculum studies. The focus is on curriculum research focused on health and wellbeing as it has been represented within a specific journal, Journal of Curriculum Studies. The journal has been chosen because of its aims and scope, namely, to publish studies that encompass the links between social and institutional aspects of education and curriculum development and enactment (Journal of Curriculum Studies, 2015). Our guiding questions include: a) how current critical themes within health education and the attempts to conceptualize links between health and wellbeing in school context can be viewed within a framework that depicts different aspects of critique; b) how various shades of the critical cast particular light on this specific field of focus; c) what are the implications, the consequences, and the prospects for future research?
Over the last decade health and wellbeing have been increasingly pointed to as issues the school curricula should emphasize. Across the many forms and shapes of school-based health and wellbeing education various aspects of a critical perspective come to light, with different rationales. For example, the paradigm of Health Promoting Schools (HPS) emphasizes that a socioecological and action-oriented approach to health education might enhance cross-disciplinarity and increase schools’ and pupils’ capacity for participation in democratic processes and real-life health problems in the community (Simovska & McNamara, 2015; Simovska & Prøsch 2016). Further, the concept of 21st century competencies includes education within health/wellbeing, citizenship, sustainability, and moral education (Voogt & Roblin, 2012) while the EU’s strategy Europe 2020 points to health literacy as among the necessary competencies for our ever changing and global society. Finally, within the context of educational reforms internationally, there seems to be a political consensus that wellbeing should be one of the prioritized aims for schools along with academic attainment based on evidence that wellbeing and learning are deeply interconnected (World Health Organization, 2016).
Our theoretical framework is based on a preliminary analytical distinction between critical approaches oriented towards the transcendental and approaches oriented towards deconstruction (Biesta & Stams 2001). These different forms of criticalities refer to the kinds of ideals any given critical perspective should fulfil (Davies 2014). The first form of criticality is based on the assumption that the attainment of knowledge of transcendental structures of various kinds is desirable and is in fact possible (Habermas 1971; Habermas 1980; Ricoeur 1977). The latter is based on the exact opposite assumption, namely the impossibility of essential or transcendental truths beneath apparent structures (Hart 2014).
Although the two critical paradigms in theory might appear mutually exclusive, we hypothesise that both forms of critique are present simultaneously in a majority of the selected articles. However, we argue that a more nuanced elucidation is needed on what is meant by “critical” within critical health education studies. The paper aspires to explore an argument in support of transcending the rigidity of reductive schisms based on a modern-postmodern dichotomy by examining how both transcendental and deconstructive aspects are present side-by-side within the selected papers.
Alvesson, M, & Sandberg J. (2014.) “Problematization meets Mystery Creation: Generating new Ideas and Findings through Assumption Challenging Research.” In E. Jeanes & T. Huzzard (eds) Critical Management Research: Reflections from the Field, , 23–41. London: Sage. Biesta, G. J. J., & Stams, G. J. J. M. (2001). Critical Thinking and the Question of Critique: Some Lessons from Deconstruction. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 20(1), 57–74. Brown, W. (2005) Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics. Princeton University Press. [Chapter 1, Untimeliness and Punctuality: Critical Theory in Dark Times, pp. 1-16.] Cherryholmes, C. H. (1993). “Reading Research.” Journal of Curriculum Studies 25 (1): 1–32. Davies, B. (2014). Legitimation in Post-critical, Post-realist Times, or Whether Legitimation? In A. D. Reid, E. P. Hart, & M. A. Peters (Eds.), A Companion to Research in Education (pp. 443–450). Springer Netherlands. Habermas, J. (1971). Knowledge and Human Interests. Boston: Beacon Press. Habermas, J. (1984). The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 1: Reason and the Rationalization of Society. (T. McCarthy, Trans.). Boston: Beacon Press. Hart, P. (2014). Questions of Legitimacy and Quality in Educational Research. In A. D. Reid, E. P. Hart, & M. A. Peters (Eds.), A Companion to Research in Education (pp. 363–374). Springer Netherlands. Journal of Curriculum Studies (2015). Aims and scope Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?show=aimsScope&journalCode=tcus20 Popkewitz, T. S. (2009). Curriculum study, curriculum history, and curriculum theory: the reason of reason. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(3), 301–319. Poulson, L, & Wallace, M., (eds). (2004). Learning to Read Critically in Teaching and Learning. London: Sage. Reid, A. (2016). ‘Researchers are experienced readers’: on recognition, aspiration and obligation, Environmental Education Research, 22:3, 422-431. Ricoeur, P. (1977). Freud and Philosophy: An Essay on Interpretation. (D. Savage, Trans.) Yale University Press. Simovska, V., & McNamara, P. M. (Eds.). (2015). Schools for health and sustainability: theory, research and practice. New York: Springer. Simovska, V., & Prøsch, Å. K. (2016). Global social issues in the curriculum: perspectives of school principals. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 48(5), 630–649. Voogt, J., & Roblin, N. P. (2012). A comparative analysis of international frameworks for 21st century competences: Implications for national curriculum policies. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 44(3), 299–321. World Health Organization (2016). Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people’s health and well-being : Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study : international report from the 2013/2014 survey.
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