18 SES 12 A, Exploring Health and Learning in Physical Education
Physical education and Sport (PESS) is internationally defined as: "(...) those structured, supervised physical activities (PA) that take place at school and during the school day" (Bailey 2006) and illustrate blurred boundaries and vague conceptualisation concerning PE and PA in school. PE in Norwegian primary and secondary education (1-13th grade) have similarities to internationally well-described trends and patterns regarding the ideas and practices of PE (Kirk, 2010), while some developments are more specific for Norway and Nordic countries (Rønbeck & Rønbeck, 2012).
The philosophic underpinning of the current PE subject curriculum is Norway is on learning in, through and about movement. The key perspectives in the PE curriculum are Bildung, life-long movement joy, as well as fair play and respect. However, research shows that practicing sport and learning of sport techniques is common in Norwegian PE-lessons (Moen, Westlie, Bjørke & Brattli, 2018), and that promotion of health has been and still is a central argument for the legitimacy of the subject (Augestad, 2003). This corresponds closely with international trends and Kirk (2010) describes a situation with lack of consensus among PE professionals about the nature of the subject. Kirk (2010) points to a need to clarify the purposes of PE and to work for a significant change of how the subject is taught in school, and claims that there are three possible scenarios for the future of PE: “more of the same”, “radical reform” and “extinction”. In short- to middle-term he sees “more of the same” as the most likely scenario. However, “extinction” is claimed to be the most likely in a longer term if we are unable to facilitate a “radical reform”.
PE in Norwegian school is affected by international public health discourses, and PA for health promotion has become increasingly important and influence students and teachers daily life at school. General public health concerns have led to the launch of PA programs in addition to PE in Norwegian schools (Regjeringen, 2005), and as extra-curricular program in grade 5-7, 76 hours each year. In 2017, the Storting called on the government to facilitate increased physical activity in primary schools, and decided for one hour of physical activity every day within school hours. Politicians who propose measures and expert committees investigating such physical activity, rely on these international trends, and get ideas for the development of similar measures in Norwegian schools. This is often referred to as "policy borrowing" and the idea is that "international policies can influence national education policies through reception, translation or borrowing and lending" of ideas and have impact on national policy design (Prøitz 2015). International trends, here international physical activity models, are born and nurtured in specific contexts, and the degree to which ‘borrowed’ or ‘travelling’ ideas are adopted or adapted will depend on contextual and cultural factors (Phillips & Ochs, 2003), and the term ‘‘borrowing’’ can cover issues related to concepts such as copying, transfer, importation, appropriation and assimilation. However, while Prøitz (2015) show how Norway have downloaded international policies, implementation of these ideas within a Norwegian context also might result in uploading of examples from local or national, to international contexts, such as OECD.
In this paper we investigate how international physical activity models are argued for and appropriated in relation to an ongoing curriculum revision in Norway and how demarcations between PE and PA eventually are discussed and framed in the Norwegian context. We also ask how this boundary work could be productive to the before mentioned scenario discussion for the future of PE.
The context for the study is an ongoing curriculum reform in Norway (Udir, 2017) from 2015 to 2020. The government is seeking renewal of the subjects taught in schools to enable students to achieve more in-depth learning and better understanding, and with emphasis on the schools’ broader educational and qualification mission. "The School of the Future Reform", renewal of subjects and competences, is led by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and the measures set out in the white paper to the Stortinget no 28, 2015-16: Fag - Fordypning - Forståelse. En fornyelse av Kunnskapsløftet. PA initiatives are launched parallel to this ongoing curriculum reform. To study the arguments for PE and the implementation of PA in Norwegian schools, we conduct a document analysis of policy documents from the last two years. Seeking to understand the impact of public debate on the ongoing policy formation on PE and PA, we also conduct an analysis of debates in three national news agencies. Our analysis will be inspired by thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
PE is characterized, can be explained and must be understood from different idioms and varying political and cultural influences. PE appears in schools and education with different dominant mindsets, and these attract energy from different themes and affect our view on both the body and PE. Rather than an extinction of PE (Kirk 2010), we argue that a need for a renewal of PE boundary work against PA is necessary, to prove students with knowledge for a lifelong sustainable active and healthy life.
Augestad, P. (2003). Skolering av kroppen. Om kunnskap og makt i kroppsøvingsfaget. (Schooling the body. About knowledge and power in physical education). (Doctoral dissertation, University of Oslo). Oslo: Universitetet i Oslo. Bailey, R. (2006). Physical Education and Sport in Schools: A Review of Benefits and Outcomes. Journal of School Health, October 2006, Vol. 76, No. 8dÓ 2006, p. 397-401, American School Health Association. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2006.00132.x/epdf Braun. V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101, http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa Kirk, D. (2010). Physical education futures. London: Routledge. Moen,K. M., Westlie, K., Bjørke, L. & Brattli, V. H. (2018). Når ambisjon møter tradisjon. En nasjonal kartleggingsstudie av kroppsøvingsfaget i grunnskolen (5.–10. trinn) (Høgskolen i Innlandet Oppdragsrapport nr. 1 – 2018). Elverum: Høgskolen i Innlandet. Phillips, D. & Ochs, K. (2003). Process of Policy Borrowing in Education: some explanatory and analytical devices. Comparative Education, 39(4), 451–461. Prøitz, T. (2015). Uploading, downloading and uploading again – concepts for policy integration in education research. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, Volume 2015, 2015 - Issue 1: Curriculum vs. Didaktik Revisited. Towards a Transnational Curriculum Theory. Taylor & Frances. Regjeringen (The Government) (2005). Action Plan for Physical Activity. Together for Physical Activity 2005-2009. Oslo: Regjeringen (The Government). Regjeringen (The Government) (2016). White paper to the Storting no 28, 2015-16: Fag – Fordypning – Forståelse. En fornyelse av Kunnskapsløftet. [Subject¬¬-Deepening – Understanding. A renewal of the Knowledge Promotion]. Retrieved from: https://www.regjeringen.no/no/dokumenter/meld.-st.-28-20152016/id2483955/sec1. Rønbeck, A.E. & Rønbeck, N-F. (2012). Disiplinering av kropp og sinn i kroppsøvingsfaget [Disciplining body and mind in physical education]. In A.E. Rønbeck (Ed.), Inspirert av Foucault. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. Utdanningsdirektoratet [Udir] (2017). Strategi for fagfornyelsen [Strategy for the subject renewal]. Oslo: Kunnskapsdepartementet.
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