18 SES 14, Researching Social Justice and Health (in)Equality across different School Health and Physical Education Contexts
Although school Health and Physical Education (HPE) has the potential to contribute to lifelong health and well-being, the way HPE is conceptualized and taught will impact on its ability to provide equitable outcomes across gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion and social class. The genesis of this symposium comes from the ongoing international collaboration project - Education for Equitable Health Outcomes - The Promise of School Health and Physical Education (EDUHEALTH) consisting of Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) teachers and researchers from Sweden, Norway and New Zealand. The aim of the EDUHEALTH project is to contribute to the understanding of how teachers of HPE teach for social justice by examining the teaching practices of teachers. A focus on equity, democracy and social justice in HPE can be seen as particularly pertinent in times when these ideals are currently under threat from neoliberal globalisation (Azzarito, Macdonald, Dagkas & Fisette, 2017). The research question guiding this project are: (i) How do HPE teachers’ practices address democracy and social justice? (ii) How may HPE practice contribute to greater inclusion and equitable health outcomes for all students?
The session will begin with an introduction to the symposium followed by the first part of paper one which will provide a brief overview of the background and implementation of the EDUHEALTH project to date.
The second paper will then explicate our conceptualisation of the term social justice as concerned with equity, taking account of many variables including gender, sexuality, socioeconomic, and ethnicity, and within the context of HPE, physicality. The discussion on this paper will draw on Bell’s (1997) concept of social justice as both a process and a goal along with Wright’s (2004) claim that a pedagogy focused on social justice embraces emancipatory practices or processes that have the goal of helping students identify, challenge and transform existing unequal power relations relating to physical activity and health. In this paper we will also discuss the different theoretical perspectives that we are considering in relation to understanding and subsequently analysing social justice in HPE as informed by the works of, for instance, Habermas, Bourdieu, Foucault and Uljens.
The third paper will then discuss our methodology and methods for generating data involving HPE class observations and teacher interview in the three different countries and employing a critical incident technique (Tripp, 2012) along with stimulated-recall interviews to explore HPE teaching practices that enact socially-critical perspective of physical activity and health.
At the conclusion of the third paper we will return to the first paper and draw on some initial findings of this project to date in terms of the potential, and difficulties, of researching social justice and health (in)equality across different school health and physical education contexts. The potential comes from having outsiders critically examining the societal, educational, and HPE context and offering new insights. The difficulties are in reaching a shared understanding of what it means to be socially critical and applying this understanding in each of the three different contexts. At the end we tentatively suggest that in our ongoing work with this project and by drawing on Freire (2000) and Tinning (2010) that there is no ‘holy grail’ in terms of a social justice teaching method for HPE practice since teaching strategies are enabled and constrained by the contexts in which they are practiced.
Finally, a discussant will reflect on the work presented and the nature of the project before opening the floor to the audience for the final 20 minutes of the symposium.
Azzarito L, Macdonald D, Dagkas, S, and Fisette, J (2017) Revitalizing the Physical Education Social-Justice Agenda in the Global Era: Where Do We Go From Here?, Quest, 69(2): 205-219. Bell LA (1997) Theoretical foundations for social justice education. In Adams M, Bell L and Griffin P (eds), Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook New York: Routledge, pp 3-15). Freire, P (2000) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (30th anniversary ed.). New York, NY: Continuum. Tinning R (2010) Pedagogy and Human Movement: Theory, Practice, Research. New York: Routledge. Tripp D (2012) Critical Incidents in Teaching: Developing Professional Judgement (2nd ed.) London: Routledge. Wright J (2004) Critical inquiry and problem-solving in physical education. In Wright J, Macdonald D and Burrows L (eds) Critical inquiry and problem-solving in physical education. London: Routledge, pp 1-16
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