18 SES 02 A, Curriculum and Pedagogy in Health and Physical Education
As a compulsory school subject in most Western societies, Health and Physical Education (HPE) is charged with providing important health outcomes for children and young people. However, as HPE teacher educators and researchers, we recognise and acknowledge that the way HPE is often taught and conceptualised in schools does not always provide equitable health outcomes across gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion and social class (Fitzpatrick, 2019). Although HPE has the potential to contribute to lifelong health and well-being, it can be counter-productive and in fact be unhealthy for some students (Schenker, 2018). That is, despite decades of research and curricula reform, HPE continues to make both friends and enemies (Evans, 1986). Öhman et al. (2014), for instance, highlighted how HPE is often strongly influenced by neoliberal individualism, where students are seen to be responsible for their own health and the students themselves rather than society are solely blamed for their ‘failure’ to achieve health. Unfortunately, the role of HPE in contributing to, or challenging, such an ideological perspective is seldom considered. Neoliberal approaches to health also tend to negatively impact on the most marginalised and/or minority groups in society (France & Roberts, 2017). Azzarito et al. (2017) further cautioned that school HPE curricula based on principles of neoliberal individualism have emphasised competitive-based rather than equity-based goals, that in turn lead to the marginalisation of the social justice project. In fact, research shows that many HPE teachers tend to be insensitive to such social justice issues (Sirna, Tinning & Rossi, 2010).
A focus on equity and social justice in HPE is therefore pertinent in an era where there are growing concerns about the impact of neoliberal globalization and the precariousness of society (Kirk. 2020). The aim of the EDUHEALTHproject was to identify successful school HPE teaching practices that promote social justice and equitable health outcomes. In this paper will provide a summary of the project and its findings including critical commentary and reflections on the implications of the project for future HPE practice and research.
Data were generated through 20 HPE lesson observations and post-lesson interviews with 13 HPE teachers across schools in Sweden, Norway, and New Zealand. The data collection was based on the principles of critical incident technique (CIT) methodology (Tripp, 2012) and stimulated recall interviews (Lyle, 2003). CIT was developed to capture not only the actions, but also the thought processes and the perspectives of teachers in relation to critical incidents. In the EDUHEALTH project, we employed CIT to explore the thought processes and actions of HPE teachers with a narrow focus on teaching for equity and social justice (Philpot, et al., 2020). The study participants were 13 teachers purposively selected (Bryman 2016) from four schools in Aotearoa New Zealand, four in Sweden and three in Norway. The teachers were known by the research team to be examples of teachers who embrace a social justice agenda in their pedagogy. The seven male and six female teachers ranged in age from 25 to 55 with between 3- and 25- years teaching experience. The classroom observations, which focused on incidents that appeared to be addressing issues of social justice, were restricted to compulsory HPE classes with 13–15-year-old students in co-educational schools. To gain a deeper understanding of the teachers thinking, we questioned the teacher about what we had observed through subsequent stimulated recall interviews. The interviews lasted 40-70 min and took place immediately after, or almost immediately after, the observed lessons. These stimulated-recall interviews created a nuanced and shared understanding of the teachers’ practices related to social justice pedagogies in HPE. Data were analysed through a six-phase thematic analysis approach that consisted of familiarisation with data, initial and advanced coding, identifying and naming themes and reporting findings (Braun and Clarke 2013).
The findings presented in this paper will show how pedagogies for social justice in HPE were enacted through building relationships, teaching for social cohesion and explicitly teaching about, and acting on, social inequities. Collectively, these findings represent the enactment of the pedagogies for social justice that we observed in the EDUHEALTH project. Based on these findings and as implications for HPE practice we then outline what we call the ‘nine pedagogical pillars of social justice in HPE’ which include: pedagogies of care for all students; pedagogies of understanding; pedagogies of inclusion; pedagogies that build relationships; pedagogies that foster reciprocal respect; democratic pedagogies; pedagogies for social cohesion; culturally relevant pedagogies; and explicit pedagogies for social justice. We argue that pedagogies for social justice can have elements of humanism that attend to the needs of students within the structures of each society, but also challenge these structures and scaffold students to reflect and act and provide them with the agency to address equity issues in their lives and the lives of those around them. We conclude by calling for the further development of pedagogies for social justice in HPE, which involve the problematising knowledge construction and how the dominant ways of thinking about physical activity, health, the body and self, have come to be, and where students are challenged to change the structures that create social inequities (Tinning, 2012).
Azzarito, L., Macdonald, D., Dagkas, S. & 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 Braun, B. & Clarke, V. (2013). Successful qualitative research: A practical guide for beginners. London: Sage. Bryman, A. (2016). Social research methods (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press Evans, J. (1986). Physical Education, sport and sociology. London: The Falmer Press. Fitzpatrick, K. (2019). What happened to critical pedagogy in physical education? An analysis of key critical work in the field. European Physical Education Review, 25(4), 1128–1145. France, A. & Roberts, S. (2017). Youth and social class: Enduring inequality in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Kirk, D. (2020). Precarity, critical pedagogy and physical education. London: Routledge. Lyle, J. (2003). Stimulated recall: a report on its use in naturalistic research. British Educational Research Journal, 29(6), 861–878. Philpot, R., Smith, W., Gerdin, G., Larsson, L., Schenker, K., Linnér, S., Mordal Moen, K., & Westlie, K. (2020). Exploring social justice pedagogies in health and physical education through Critical Incident Technique methodology. European Physical Education Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/1356336X20921541 Schenker, K. (2018). Health(y) education in health and physical education. Sport, Education and Society, 23(3), 229–243. Sirna, K., Tinning, R. & Rossi, T. (2010). Social processes of health and physical education teachers' identity formation: Reproducing and changing culture. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(1), 71–84. Tinning, R. (2012). A socially critical HPE (aka physical education) and the challenge for teacher education. In D. Down & J. Smyth (Eds.), Critical Voices in Teacher Education: Teaching for Social Justice in Conservative Times (pp. 223–238). Dordrecht: Springer. Tripp, D. (2012). Critical Incidents in Teaching: Developing Professional Judgement. Abingdon, Oxon, New York: Routledge. Öhman, M., Almqvist, J., Meckbach, J. & Quennerstedt, M. (2014). Competing for ideal bodies: a study of exergames used as teaching aids in schools. Critical Public Health, 24(2), 196–209.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.