Discourses in the implementation of a HPE key learning area at a school site

Year: 1998

Author: Brooker, Ross, Macdonald, Doune, Hunter, Lisa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In the Queensland school context, there had been no change to the official Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum for the compulsory years of schooling (1-10), for a long period of time. For example, the most recent syllabus for years 8-10 was published in 1987. Following the national curriculum initiatives which lead to the development of statements and profiles for 8 key learning areas, a trial health and physical education key learning area (KLA) syllabus was prepared and accepted for trial in the second half of 1997 in a limited number of schools. The KLA syllabus presented a different (from the previous syllabus) conception of HPE in terms of the knowledge base, the emphasis on outcomes, and the focus on the processes of learning. For schools (secondary in particular), the syllabus presented particular challenges in terms of how a syllabus which drew upon a number of traditional subject areas could be implemented into a subject-based structure. For strongly bounded subject departments in secondary schools with well established staff allegiances, the dilemma has been how to work with other departments on the one hand while protecting subject allegiances on the other. For teachers, the challenge has been to their existing conceptions of HPE and to their pedagogical practices. Drawing on a year long study in a secondary school, this paper illuminates aspects of subject-related discourse that have influenced the implementation of a KLA in a school site.