How Fundamental Movement Skills are framed to offer policy 'solutions'

Year: 2017

Author: Jones, Tamra

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
Fundamental Movement Skills have been named in the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (AC:HPE), suggestive they are regarded as 'official knowledge' (Ball, 1997). The discourses that are drawn on in AC: HPE, to describe Fundamental Movement Skills, shape how we think about these skills. These discourses also work to frame particular problematisations for which Fundamental Movement Skills are constructed as a solution.

Significantly, there has been little analysis of problem constructions and the related positioning of Fundamental Movement Skills in policy 'texts' (Ball, 1997). Bacchi (2009) offers a framework to interrogate texts to make visible the problem representations that underlie their production.

In this presentation I adopt a problematisation lens, to engage in text analysis. In drawing on Ball's work (1994, 1997, 2015), I attempt to move beyond what is written in a text to consider how statements are made possible and established as 'truths' (Foucault, 1972). Of specific interest is how policy shapes and drives particular discourses framing Fundamental Movement Skills. My analysis extends to how the language used in the texts constructs meaning, as well as frame problem representations associated with Fundamental Movement Skills.

My analysis centers on two reports namely; The Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Recreation and the Arts 'Physical and Sport Education' (1992) and The Future of Australian Sport report (2009). I will also addresses the materialization of Fundamental Movement Skills in subsequent curriculum documents specifically; The Statement and Profile in Health and Physical Education curriculum document (1994) and The Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (AC:HPE).

My findings reveal a cyclic pattern between the production of government inquiry reports and the development of curriculum documents. The cycle of reports and curriculum also give rise to shifts in discourses framing Fundamental Movement Skills as solutions to problem representations. In this way my research also provides evidence of the ways thinking has changed over time.

The implications of these findings include highlighting how the use of particular language plays integral role with shaping understanding about Fundamental Movement Skills and in establishing truths about their importance. What is and is not written in texts becomes relevant and influential in shaping Fundamental Movement Skills learning outcomes possibilities in schools.

Additional significance of this research is that it offers an example of how Bacchi's (2009) 'What's the problem represented to be?' (WPR) framework provides a tool for critical text analysis work to be conducted.

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