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ERIC Number: EJ1049237
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Constructing Health and Physical Education Curriculum for Indigenous Girls in a Remote Australian Community
Whatman, Susan L.; Singh, Parlo
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v20 n2 p215-230 2015
Background: Over the last 20 years, curriculum development in Health and Physical Education (HPE) (or Physical Education, Physical Education and Health, Sport Education as it is variously called) has repeatedly attempted to address issues of equity and social inclusion. Why then does systemic educational disadvantage persist, and why do the poorest members of society acquire less privileged and privileging forms of HPE knowledge, skills and bodily dispositions? What constitutes relevant and responsive HPE curriculum for which groups of students remains a site of considerable contestation. Purpose: At a time when significant changes are being suggested to HPE curricula with the development of the Australian (National) Curriculum (see http://consultation., this paper is an attempt to refocus the analysis of education for Indigenous students in Australia upon the power and control relations operating within schools, rather than external social relations, using principles of pedagogic discourse from the sociological theories of Basil. The paper contributes to the growing corpus of studies on the social relations within schooling which constitute HPE curriculum, and the possibilities for interrupting systemic social inequity through the redesign of school curriculum and pedagogy. Methods: Using critical ethnographic methodology, a single, intrinsic case study of a school in a Torres Strait Islander community in Australia was undertaken. Document collation, observation and researcher notes, and individual and focus group interviews with stakeholders, comprised the data collection methods. Stakeholders including female students (n = 13), teachers (n = 7), parents (n = 2), school administrators (n = 4), regional education staff (n = 2), community advisors in education and health (n = 2), and regional health professionals (n = 6) comprised the group of key informants and research participants. Discussion and Conclusion: Government policy initiatives have reinforced a dominant and persistently negative discourse about "educational disadvantage" when representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) students and educational outcomes. This paper challenges these negative discourses and focuses attention on the social relations within schooling which constitute the "what" and "how" of HPE curriculum, contributing to the large corpus of Bernsteinian studies of HPE curriculum which "look beneath the surface appearances of progress and innovation, to how inequities endure, despite rhetorical claims to the contrary that they have been eroded or have disappeared". It also reveals the important contribution that Indigenous communities and educators have made and continue to make to curriculum decision-making in HPE for Indigenous Australian students.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia