27 SES 12 B, Comparative Didactic Analyses of Science Education and Physical Education and Health in Sweden, Switzerland and France Part 2
Symposium continued from 27 SES 11 B
Public anxiety associated with intergenerational touch outside the family has both emerged and increased in recent years. This paper takes its starting point in the growing anxiety around physical contact between teachers and pupils in educational settings. PE teachers in particular are confused about being around the young people they teach (Piper 2015; Andrzejewski & Davis (2008). A main concern of PE teachers seems to be the fear of being accused of sexual harassment or molestation (Fletcher 2013). The main interest in this paper is how PE teachers deal with the question of intergenerational touch in their pedagogical work. The purpose is to examine Swedish PE teachers’ self-regulation in relation to physical contact in the educational setting. What kind of strategies have they developed for dealing with physical contact in their teaching? The study aims for a more multifaceted understanding of intergenerational touch in PE. The study draws on a discourse-analytical tradition using methodology based on Foucault’s ideas about governmentality (Foucault 1978/1991). How PE teachers develop different strategies can be seen as governing processes with an emphasis on self-regulation. The study uses interview data with 23 teachers (10 women and 13 men). The interviews are guided by five main questions focusing on how the teachers negotiate physical contact in their teaching. All the teachers are fully aware of the problems surrounding physical contact in their teaching, but have developed different strategies for dealing with it: (i) adaptation through avoidance-oriented strategies and (ii) resistance through downplaying-oriented strategies. Avoidance is partly about how teachers regulate themselves in relation to where, how and when to touch. This is connected to integrity awareness and intimacy awareness, where the body has become more or less sexualised. Downplaying is partly about defusing physical touch. In terms of self-regulation, the teachers do not make a big deal of it. This is connected to desexualisation and desensitisation. How teachers have changed their behaviour needs to be highlighted. This is especially the case if they feel that they have to protect themselves, rather than operate in a way that best serves students’ learning and development. Based on the results, it is important to discuss the increased sexualisation of the body and the reproduction of heterosexual norms in PE.
Andrzejewski, C. E. & Davis, H. A. (2008). Human contact in the classroom: Exploring how teachers talk about and negotiate touching students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(3), 779-794. Fletcher, S. (2013). Touching practice and physical education: deconstruction of a contemporary moral panic. Sport, Education and Society. 18(5), 694-709. Foucault, M. (1978/1991). Governmentality. In The Foucault Effect. Studies in Governmentality, ed. G. Burchell, C. Gordon & P. Miller, 87-104. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Piper, H. (2015). Touch in Sports Coaching and Physical Education: Fear, Risk and Moral Panic. Oxon/New York: Routledge.
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