Contemporary physical education reform in China: Teachers talk

Year: 2007

Author: Hickey, Christopher, Jin, Aijing

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Among the many changes occurring across Chinese society in the early phase of Y2K is the construction and implementation of a new physical education (PE) curriculum. Not unlike recent changes in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, this process has seen a heightening of the profile of Health. Presented within a wider framework for making the school curriculum more relevant, PE is more closely aligned with China’s emerging health concerns around young people. Foremost here are burgeoning social anxieties about decreased levels of physical activity, dietary practices, risk-taking tendencies, and a general decline of social cohesion/connection across the profile of contemporary youth. This paper reports on a study undertaken to explore the perceptions of Chinese PE teachers as they engage with the new curriculum. The data reveals a number of structural, personal and cultural factors that work against PE teachers taking up the opportunities presented in the new curriculum. Prominent here are; low professional status, an expanding generation gap, lack of training and the grip of deeply rooted cultural values.