Shaken or stirred? Considering the usefulness of critical pedagogy in preparing pre-service teachers to teach health education.

Year: 2013

Author: Shelley, Karen, McCuaig, Louise, Tinning, Richard

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Health education as practised by teachers in Australian schools is awash with the ideology of healthism (Leahy & McCuaig, 2013).  Scholarship regarding the preparation of teachers for the challenge of teaching HE has been scarce.  A considerable body of research  confirms  the uncritical acceptance and perpetuation of some oppressive and socially unjust practices around the body, committed in the name of teaching H- PE, are counter to the underlying principles of the socio-critical H-PE outlined in contemporary Australian syllabus documents.  This research project seeks to employ critical pedagogy as a means of inspiring  pre- service teachers’ awareness of the system they operate in, its limitations and their capacity to question the taken-for-granted truths associated with “body work” performed in the name of  HPE.  Analytically the  research  draws upon Foucault’s concepts of biopower and biopedagogies (Wright & Harwood, 2009) and  Rabinow & Rose’s (2006) Plane of Actuality to explore and explain the intersections between students’ truth discourses and curriculum and pedagogy.

This study examines second and third year undergraduate primary generalist and Human Movement Studies specialist (HPE) teachers’ experience of a critical pedagogically-inspired health education (HE) course at a large metropolitan university in Queensland, Australia.  This paper will focus on preliminary findings from this project that resulted from the observations and document analysis conducted on student tutorial work within this health education course.