08 SES 07, Pupils' Views on School Wellbeing and Teachers' Health Work
Recently, Rossi and colleagues (2016) introduced the idea of ‘Teachers as Health Workers’ on the premise that increasingly, health concerns associated with and surrounding young people were becoming the province of schooling as a way of propping up over-burdened public health systems. The Teacher as Health Workers (TAHW©™) study showed unequivocally that teachers were undertaking significant ‘health work’ willingly, with urgency and usually without adequate training. A Bourdieu-ian (1977) ‘field’ analysis revealed that that traditionally demarcated fields are more porous than they are stable and health and education exist as liminal spaces in which other professionals, para-professionals or agencies function. This suggests that the reach and influence of fields and the degree to which fields shape ‘practice’ may require re-theorising.
A second, (international) project (the Health and Physical Education without Borders or HPEWB©™ project) has further challenged the idea of what constitutes teachers’ workspaces and who does work in such spaces. Furthermore, the source of knowledge and indeed the level of ‘expertise’ that guides the work in such spaces is no longer solely the terrain of teachers, schools, school districts or even educational jurisdictions. This is particularly so with regard to the health and wellbeing of school children. These are dimensions of schooling are particularly open to contributions/delivery by other providers that exist outside the school system. We acknowledge that this is hardly knew and schools often resort of outside providers as a pragmatic solution or simply to broaden the choice for children. However, what we are talking about here is a broader liberalisation of the curriculum that has marketized not only schools (and their ‘performance’) but the very nature of school knowledge itself. That is, what is considered to be ‘worthwhile’ knowledge in schools and significantly its pedagogisation (see Bernstein, 1990; Singh, 2002) is field of potentially open competition and is now part of a mercantile society (Ball,2012) This may sound drastic and somewhat overstated but Hursh’s (2016) account of how schooling in the USA is being steadily privatised is compelling.
A consequence of this trend is that the constitution of school knowledge may sit beyond the limits of Bernstein’s (1990) pedagogical device. Bernstein was committed to the idea of the processes of knowledge transmission and how this was brought about through the processes of knowledge production and reproduction (Bernstein, 1990). His concerns were associated with how knowledge first came into existence, how it became officially endorsed and embraced by state officials and then how this was translated into transmittable form at the point of delivery in schools. Bernstein’s pedagogic device is well recognized and consists broadly of the field of knowledge production, the recontextualizing field (made up of the Official Recontextualising Field or ORF, and the Pedagogical Recontextualising Field or PRF), and the field of knowledge reproduction, that is, the point of delivery to learners.
Curriculum construction, in spite of national agendas and the illusion of central control is a space open to others and Bernstein’s fields (primary ORF/PRF and the secondary field) may be inadequate to describe how school knowledge (within health) comes into existence. The liberalisation of educational spaces has invited a marketisation of school knowledge on a preternatural scale.
Taken together, these projects have asked compelling research questions:
- What is the nature of health work done in schools?
- Who else contributes to health work in schools?
- What are the governance structures that control the contribution of outside providers?
- Who benefits and who misses out?
- What are the costs, broadly conceived?
- What is the receptivity by stakeholders to outside providers
Qualitative data were generated through the methodologies of web-audits, semi-structured interviews and detailed fine grained observations in school settings. Discourse and thematic analyses began with a process to establish inter-rater reliability. Potential theories/themes were originally derived from brainstorming sessions conducted by the Australian researchers. Australian researchers and their international partners each subsequently coded an agreed upon transcript to arrive at agreed meta and sub-themes to be used in data coding. Two research assistants of the “parent” Australian team subsequently coded the available data to ensure intra-rater reliability and consistency.
Many themes have come to the fore from the HPEWB study but four dominant themes have been identified, and these are particularly pertinent to the TAHW study: Global neoliberalism and markets: work in schools associated with health or wellbeing is not especially localised and globally recognised solutions are present in schools (such as Mindfulness) or the idea of a solution is named (nutrition education) but delivered by a local entity that has competed for or sought funding for the right to deliver – an Australia example is The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden. This combines a health challenge, the cult of personality (Alexander is one of Australia’s best-known chefs) and the construction of quasi curriculum Networks: Knowledge is networked through multiple connections points, often through the work of Foundations, supporters and advocates of Foundations and those who have been funding recipients. The idea of neoliberalism is a networked idea of practice … neoliberalism acts as an adjective, a noun and increasing but is also as a practice Futures orientations: The future is a space of opportunity (neoliberalised practice) but also of impending doom emphasising the need for reform that is driven by entrepreneurialism and mercantilism. Bernstein’s theory of the pedagogical device: The device no longer captures the production and reproduction process of school knowledge in the way that was intended and a new iteration of the pedagogical device accounting for networks should be considered These themes demonstrate the interrelationship between globalized health discourses, national interests and the specific politics of how health work is done in schools. Our data suggest Schools are increasingly marketised and networked relying on private providers to deliver formal and informal health knowledge, challenging who has the authority and responsibility for developing students’ health-related learning outcomes and to what levels of accountability.
Ball, S.J. (2012). Global Education Inc. London: Routledge Bernstein, B. (1990). The structuring of pedagogic discourse. London: Routledge Bourdieu, P. (1977). An outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hursh, D. (2016). The end of public schools. NY: Routledge. Rossi, T., Pavey, A. Macdonald, D. & McCuaig, L. (2016). Teachers as health workers; Patterns and imperatives of Australian teachers’ work. British Educational Research Journal, 42 (2), 258-276. Singh, P. (2002). Pedagogising knowledge: Bernstein’s theory of the pedagogic device. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 23 (4), 471-582
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