Telling stories about the potential of 'bodies' in pedagogy: An early career health and physical education academics experience.

Year: 2012

Author: Christiansen, Erin

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


As an early career academic, I found myself surrounded in a new workplace with the hegemony of a particular view of knowledge, the body and health that marginalized the social (Tinning, 2004). The Secondary Health and Physical Education (HPE) Teacher Education Program, of which I teach into, tends to be dominated by courses that reproduce discourses surrounding sports performance, male hegemony, the 'obesity' crisis and the importance of physical activity in producing a healthy citizen. This paper initially captures the  pedagogical challenge I faced, within the constraints of this particular HPE university context, to work with initial teacher education (ITE) students to understand and consider their bodies as a potential site for pedagogic work, and how this may impact on self and others (McMahon, Penney & DinanThompson, 2011). Following the call for locating of bodies in teaching HPE (Evans, Davies & Rich, 2009; Garrett & Wrench, 2012; lisahunter, 2011), through reflexive awareness of my own embodied identity and lived experiences of the HPE field (as a student, teacher and academic), I shared narratives of my experiences (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) to reveal and open up for discussion and reflection the potential of the body in teaching and learning (Evans, Davies, & Rich, 2009). Drawing on Bourdieu's notion of habitus, capital and field, and Clandinin and Connelly's (2000) conception of narrative inquiry this paper critiques this initial attempt to centrally locate and understand bodies in HPE teaching and learning. It concludes by putting forward future strategies and enhancements to make more explicit and subsequently further engage emerging HPE teachers in the importance of learning in, through and about bodies in pedagogy. 


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McMahon, J., Penney, D., & Dinan-Thompson, M. (2012). Body practices - Exposure and effect of a sporting culture? Stories from three Australian swimmers. Sport, Education and Society, 17(2), 181-206.