Do bodies really matter? 

Year: 2012

Author: Hunter, Lisa, Thompson, Maree Dinan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This presentation brings together two lecturer's accounts of exploring bodies in Health and Physical Education teacher education. 


Drawing on the need for a more explicit focus on the body in teaching (Hunter 2004, lisahunter 2011) and alongside Misson and Morgan's (2000) question 'can we imagine a pedagogy that more consciously recognizes our intelligent bodies...With learning redefined as pleasure, play, and embodied? Where we can feel the emotions of learning, joy, anxiety, vulnerability, power, risk' (100-101), I have continued to explore possibilities. This paper attends to these questions using sensory ethnography and phenomenology to discuss praxis in a 24-hour teacher education course designed to bring out the embodied pedagogies of emerging teachers and their teacher educator (moi). By asking 'to what extent do bodies matter' we attempted to make meaning of the corporeal device (Evans, Davies & Rich, 2009) in pedagogy, experimenting with aesthetics (Maivorsdotter  & Lundvall 2009), bodily description (Shakespeare 2009), body politics (Braun 2011), physical literacy (Whitehead 2007) and phenomenology of movement (Standal & Engelsrud 2011) to make our bodies strangely present.

Dr Maree DinanThompson

Generalist teachers of Health and Physical Education (HPE) bring body values, beliefs and experiences that may or may not inhibit their engagement with HPE curriculum. Morgan & Hansen (2008) explored the impact of teacher biographies and ideologies, where McMahon, Penney & DinanThompson (2011) highlight body pedagogies and the need to investigate impact on self and others. Evans, Davies & Rich (2009); Garrett & Wrench (2012); and lisahunter (2011) call for a locating of bodies in teaching HPE. This paper presents a lecturer's attempt to locate her body - both lived and living - within her teaching of HPE curriculum in teacher education.  She uses a biographical and symbolic process to introduce her embodied pedagogy to generalist preservice teachers and invites them to join with her.  They are engaged in praxis (Freire, 1986) to acquire a critical awareness of the phrase 'we teach who we are' (Palmer, 1998).  Three examples will be shared to expand on the embodied experiences of the lecturer and two preservice teachers.  Analysis highlights 'technologies of self' (Foucault, 1983) through embodied physicality (Garrett & Wrench, 2012), and body pedagogies illuminated in lived and living bodies (McMahon, Penney & DinanThompson, 2011).  


Together these accounts present strategies for bodies to be made explicit in the teacher education process.  We call for scholarly critique in this presentation in order to continue exploration of our own praxis as teacher educators.