St-healthy pedagogies: the elephant in the national HPE curriculum

Year: 2012

Author: McCuaig, Louise

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Chair: Michael Gard

In the overarching The Shape of the Australian Curriculum document, readers are informed that the national curriculum will clearly articulate what teachers must teach and assess, but the classroom teacher is to “make decisions about the pedagogical approach that will give the best learning outcomes”. As a consequence of this position, little articulation of pedagogy has been evident in the subsequent shape documents for each Key Learning Area, including Health and Physical Education. This presentation draws from a collaborative health literacy curriculum project conducted with Queensland schools that focused on exploring the potential of two emerging concepts within the national and international health education literature, namely healthy literacy and salutogenesis. Although findings from this project demonstrated the considerable potential of these concepts to enhance the delivery of classroom based health education, they also drew attention to the significance of learner-centred approaches to health education, and the need for teachers to have a clear understanding of their role within these approaches.  For the participating teachers, this situation was further complicated as students were engaged in e-health learning experiences that “de-centred” their role within the health education classroom. Drawing on the work of Bernstein, this paper moves on to establish the importance of a clear articulation of curriculum, assessment and pedagogical messages within contemporary health education policy and curriculum, to ensure what might be considered the “educational fidelity” of programs charged with implementing the principles articulated within the Australian Health and Physical Education Shape document.