Outsourcing and physical education and health

Year: 2012

Author: Williams, Benjamin

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Despite the recent work of Macdonald, Hay and Williams (Macdonald, 2011; Macdonald, Hay & Williams, 2008; Williams, Hay & Macdonald, 2011), the outsourcing of physical education and health (PEH) remains a much under investigated phenomenon. In contrast to studies of education more generally, where observations of the outsourcing of instruction have been infrequently noted (Ball 2007; Ball & Youdell, 2008), there is evidence that demonstrates that the outsourcing of PEH is a common practice within a number of education systems around the world (Ardzejewska, 2009; Lavin, Swindlehurst & Foster, 2008; Webster, 2001; Williams et al, 2011). The purpose of this paper is to present an analysis of a collective case study (Stake, 1995, 2000) of the outsourcing of PEH among six Queensland schools (three primary schools and three secondary schools). The case unit used for this investigation was defined as the network of relations between a single school and the external providers to whom it had outsourced PEH over a 12-month period. The data collected in each case study were obtained using semi-structured interviews (Barlow, 2009), overt participant observations (Di Domenico & Phillips, 2009), and document reviews (Stake, 1995). Together, these methods were used to obtain data about what elements of HSPE the participating schools were outsourcing, how the schools were conducting the outsourcing arrangements, why the schools were conducting the outsourcing arrangements, with whom the schools were conducting the outsourcing arrangements, and the consequences of the outsourcing arrangements for HSPE curriculum provision at the school and the work of its HPE specialist teachers. Additionally, the methods were used to obtain data about how the external providers conducted their business and why they conducted their business in this way. These data were analysed using a dynamic, non-linear coding strategy that consisted of two broad stages: initial or open coding, and focused, integrative and selective coding (Benaquisto, 2008). In so doing, a “gaze” (Bernstein, 2000) was applied to the data that drew upon two aspects of Bernstein's (1990, 1996, 2000) sociological theory of pedagogy: pedagogic code modality and pedagogic culture. A cross-case reading of the data obtained through this investigation illustrates the manner in which the outsourcing of PEH can be understood from a Bernsteinian perspective to be the product of the interplay between the code modalities of the pedagogic discourses pertaining to PEH, and the pedagogic culture of the schools in question.