Tag Archives: PE

Conference abstract: PETE knowledge of sociocultural and social justice issues: the value of personal and professional experience in building a knowledge base

This is the abstract for a forthcoming presentation to be presented at the British Educational Research Association annual conference, September 2017. It is from the Social Justice in PETE project.

Joanne Hill and Jennifer Walton-Fisette

Discussions about the requisite knowledge base for pre- and in-service teachers of Physical Education (PE) have included the ability to teach about socio-cultural issues or in line with social justice educational values (e.g. equity, democracy). Limited research; however, on the knowledge base that their Physical Education Teacher Educators (PETEs) have and draw upon during teacher education in university has been conducted. Indeed, there has been little research into teacher educators’ own professional development, despite their role/investment in the professional development of both pre-service and in-service teachers.
The focus of this paper is how PETE and Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy (PESP) university faculty have come to their knowledge and understanding of sociocultural issues and issues of social justice. The guiding research questions were:
1. What do PETEs know about socio-cultural issues and social justice?
2. How was this knowledge constructed?
3. What knowledge do they draw upon in their teaching?
4. What examples, what sources of knowledge, do they use? Where do their examples come from?
Vygostky’s social constructivist learning theory, specifically the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) was used to frame this research study.
Over 70 PETE and PESP faculty from the USA, New Zealand, UK, Sweden, Australia and Ireland engaged in an in-depth interview, completed a demographic survey on their social identity and professional experiences, and shared materials from their PETE and PESP programmes, such as course handbooks and assignment instructions.
This knowledge construction includes personal and professional lived experiences, formal study or qualifications, and experiences in the field (i.e., with pre-service teachers and/or in schools). Some PETE and PESP faculty reported little knowledge of socio-cultural issues and, usually, little inclusion of this content in their programmes. Many of those who expressed a commitment to teaching about and for social justice had personal and professional experiences that had caused them to recognise the need for educating their students about sociocultural issues. For instance, some had encountered marginalisation and discrimination based on their identity, or their personal politics motivated them to teach for and about justice and equity. These personal experiences could be used as content or initiate reflection in PETE and PESP classrooms. This study prompts consideration of the professional development needs of teacher educators on sociocultural issues and about social justice that goes beyond acknowledging their existence and moving towards changes in pedagogical practices in PETE and PESP programmes.

I will present at BERA on 7th September 2017, 2pm, at the University of Sussex.

Rethinking the ‘aspirations’ of Chinese girls within and beyond Health and Physical Education and physical activity in Greater Western Sydney

This post summarises my published work Pang, B. and Hill, J. (2016). Rethinking the ‘aspirations’ of Chinese girls within and beyond Health and Physical Education and physical activity in Greater Western Sydney. Sport, Education and Society [iFirst], 1-14. The paper can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2016.1217517

Although researchers have attempted to understand why so few Chinese girls participate in physical activity, attempts have not before taken into account girls’ aspirations for sport, education and career and how their aspirations have been shaped. In this paper, we made visible how girls’ engagement in physical activity relates to what is thinkable, desirable and achievable for themselves and in relation to parental expectations. Aspiration is a term that has been co-opted by neoliberal discourse to point blame at those who do not ‘achieve’; it goes along with post-feminist ideas that girls have all options open to them now.

This strengths-based research calls for a rethinking of how aspirations are conceptualised. It does this by bringing a Chinese feminist perspective into physical education and sport pedagogy in order to demonstrate a need to reconsider dominant racialised perspectives on feminism and on physical activity/sport in education. We took inspiration from Raewyn Connell’s writings on Global South feminisms and gender theory, where she raises questions about a Western or white focus that reifies the ‘othering’ of Global South women and girls. Different perspectives are needed to understand their experiences.

Abstract

This paper aims to explore young Chinese girls’ aspirations and ideal
environments for engagement in Health and Physical Education (HPE)
and physical activity (PA) in Greater Western Sydney. Interviews are used
to elicit these girls’ perceptions of their future and ideal environments in
relation to HPEPA. Their data offer insights into key influences regarding
what is thinkable, desirable and achievable in their HPEPA environments.
Results showed dimensions of environments, such as social and
pedagogical aspects, that are conducive to these girls’ aspirations in
HPEPA (e.g. social support from parents, and functional built environment
for HPE). This paper aligns with a strengths-based approach to
understanding and recognising young Chinese girls’ perceived
aspirations within their socio-cultural environment. In doing so, we
discuss how feminism and femininity are positioned from a Chinese
perspective that may provide alternative views to a post-feminist
panorama in promoting advancement of all young girls in HPEPA.
Results invite us to take into account some of the girls’ ambivalence
towards being an ‘autonomous’ and ‘dependent’ modern Chinese young
girl. This paper calls for a rethinking of how aspirations that shape
young people’s future in HPEPA in much of the contemporary Western
world are conceptualised in academic research.

Blogging my research: what do we talk about when we talk about social justice?

Word cloud of social justice definitions

We have now completed 19 interviews with PE and Sport academics / teacher educators in universities in England (part of a total of over 50 interviews across the world!). An interesting part of the discussion in these interviews has been around the participants’ definition of social justice and socio-cultural issues. These are the key things we are investigating so they are terms that we need to define with participants in order to be on the same page for the subsequent questions. There’s a diversity of responses in how these terms are understood and used. Below are some notes I made on the responses I got.

Social justice is appreciating and accepting difference and its importance in a diverse society. Achieving potential: students’ potential, society’s potential. Tolerating and understanding difference. Social identity: fitting in, or not fitting in. It affects you as a researcher: you want to know who you students are. It means breaking down inequality and privilege to social identity and biography. It means owning and examining privilege. What might be equal to one person is not another.

Social justice is aspiration, expectation, multiculturalism. It is more than legal equality, fairness and being treated the same: it is about social structure, cultural norms, but not just structure-agency, but things beyond our control, in everyday interactions. There’s a worry that current developments to British culture and politics are showing a fear of difference.

It can also be about moving from integration to inclusion: focusing on how environments can be adapted, not changing students/children/any people. Within physical education and sport courses, we need to look beyond sport to society in order to reach for social justice across the board.

If you are going to be a critical pedagogue, you need to be aware of social justice and socio-cultural issues, you need to be aware of giving voice while also understanding your own position. You can challenge students to find the holes in your perspective, but you need to be careful not to teach in an elite way.

Social justice needs to appear across all modules, to get it across through the back door, but it should also have a stand alone module for focus.

We might be more comfortable with terms like diversity, equality, equity, inclusion. Not everyone understands or uses the notion of social justice. Is it a new term? Why use this one in particular? Does it encompass something more or greater than equity?

I’d be interested to hear your perspective if you would like to add a comment.

Girls’ active identities: navigating othering discourses of femininity, bodies and physical education

This post summarises my published work Hill, J. (2015) Girls’ active identities: navigating othering discourses of femininity, bodies and physical education, Gender and Education 27(6), 666-684. You can find the paper at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09540253.2015.1078875.

While all of the research and writing I did from my PhD studies tried to challenge the accepted, to complexify what we think we know about young people and their physical activity experiences, one of my favourite things about what my participants told me has made its way into this paper. Here, I talk about girls who are physically active – although they might not think of themselves as active. Girls being physically active is a challenge to the accepted for two reasons: the field talks so much about girls being inactive and disengaged in PE; and what counts as sport and physical activity, as a physically active body, and especially as a feminine appropriate physically active body are narrowly constructed so that girls who don’t ‘fit’ cannot see themselves in the images of ideal fit bodies. Ideal bodies can marginalise and other some girls.

For the girls in this paper, the ideal was not enough to put them off being active (unlike some of their peers who I talked about in other paper). However, they couldn’t entirely get away from discourses of gender that regulated them and a system of penalties and rewards for reinforcing or deviating from gender norms.

For instance, one girl Lucy was highly active in a range of team and individual sports. But she was beginning to moderate the types of activities she did to concentrate on ones that would help her attain a slender body, rather than continuing to develop the muscular body she had. She did this because she claimed that boys at school called her fat. She was punished for gender inappropriate activity and physicality.

Other girls enthusiastically took part in physical activity as long as the environment was right and they were surrounded by similar people, that is, girly-girls. Ayesha liked single sex PE where she could be with ‘just girls’ who ‘understood each other’. She also claimed that they didn’t have to act like tomboys in this setting. While she felt included, the question remains about how excluded tomboys might have felt in a setting that still reproduced gender regulation. Neither single sex or mixed classes intrinsically have the answer.

Girls here were othered by discourses of fatness, whiteness and femininity and I discuss ways of listening to girls’ voices on the struggle to challenge gender norms, call for equality and avoid surveiling/regulating other girls’ bodies. Girls and boys can be supported to identify and make sense of gender boundaries, acceptable gendered and racialised performances, and create discussion out of instances of diversity or regulation.

Abstract

Within physical education and sport, girls must navigate discourses of valued athletic and gendered bodies that marginalise or ‘other’ non-normative performances through systems of surveillance and punishment. The purpose of this paper is to share girls’ perspectives on how these discourses affected their gender performances and activity engagement. Students aged 13–14 in one ethnically diverse UK secondary school were invited to create a photo diary of the physical activities they engaged in. Photo-elicitation interviews in small groups followed. The girls positioned themselves as physically active but had to carefully manage their activity choices and gender performances in a single-sex physical education environment that regulated deviation from the fit, slender, girly-girl. Although the girls demonstrate the difficulty of resisting, they indicate moments of positioning themselves against norms that suggest the possibilities of shifting gendering processes. The paper points out the importance of listening to ‘other’ girls’ narratives in building positive physical education engagements.

Seeking participants for research: PE teacher educators and social justice teaching

Project aim

We are investigating how physical education teacher educators address and educate their students / pre-service teachers about sociocultural and social justice issues within physical education.

Participants

Teaching (and research) staff in physical education in higher education institutions. This includes those teaching on physical education teacher education programmes leading to QTS but also undergraduate and postgraduate physical education and sport programmes.

You do not have to be teaching a specific course/module on sociocultural and/or social justice issues to take part.

What you would need to do

The research involves an interview, sharing course documentation (module handbooks, reading lists, syllabi, assignment instructions) and a demographic questionnaire on your work and education history.

It should take about two hours of your time in total.

Interviews can be done in person (the researcher will visit you at your institution) or over Skype.

How to get in touch

If you would like to take part, please email Dr Joanne Hill at joanne.hill@beds.ac.uk

BERA PESP Event @ Bedfordshire: Becoming Networked 25/03/2015

EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER EVENT

The University of Bedfordshire is delighted to welcome you to the 2015 BERA PESP Early Career Researcher Event. This event is focused on developing your ‘networking’ skills and an understanding of how to become ‘networked’ in the online space. Workshops will explore blogging, the use of social media, and how platforms such as Google scholar can be used. You will hear from practitioners about their experiences of engaging with research and colleagues online. The aim is to enlighten, enthuse, and engage you in the opportunities that exist within the online space for developing your research and practice.

25 March 2015 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

University of Bedfordshire
Gateway Building
Polhill Avenue
MK41 9EA
View on a map

Free event for BERA members

Non-member fee: £10.00

Keynote:
Dr Ashley Casey

Workshops :
Digital presence
Starting online
Knowledge Mobilization

For further information regarding the programme, please contact: Toni.odonovan@beds.ac.uk or Twitter: @DrToniODonovan

Conference abstract: Twitter as youth voice: How do social media enable us to listen to young people?

This is the abstract from a conference presentation (presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, September 2014). This was a follow-up to the published chapter Casey, Hill and Goodyear (2014) “PE doesn’t stand for physical education, it stands for public embarrassment” Voicing Experiences and Proffering Solutions to Girls’ Disengagement in PE, https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475808308

Joanne Hill, Ashley Casey and Victoria Goodyear

With a concern around the quality and rigour of change knowledge for girls’ (dis)engagement in physical education (Oliver and Kirk, 2013), teachers and researchers are increasingly concerned with listening to young people’s inputs in working towards relevant and enjoyable learning experiences (Thompson, 2008). Youth voice is usually understood through verbal and/or visual methods and with small groups (Azzarito and Kirk, 2012; O’Sullivan and MacPhail, 2010).
The purpose of this study is to explore how Twitter acts as a virtual space to listen to youth voice and understand the construction of identities.
Yet with the rapid emergence and global use of social media (Fullan, 2013), sites such as Twitter may offer an alternative way in which to listen to a broad range of youth voices. Indeed, through tweets and retweets youth (and others) can express their voices publicly and in doing so, construct their identities in a virtual space (Abiala and Hernwall, 2013; Marwick and boyd, 2011). Formats including social media have been identified as fruitful sources in digital sociology (Murthy, 2008), although the extent to which Twitter specifically can be used for accessing and understanding youth voice is less known.
Using the application twitonomy, we harvested tweets from girls containing the phrases “I hate PE” and “I love PE”. Analysis occurred through a triad test (Ryan and Bernard, 2003). Each of three researchers independently read the tweets, coded them, and then shared their codes with each other. Subsequently, we created an imaginary blog by a student, representing a collective voice. This blog enabled the voices to be shared without identifying any specific Twitter user.
The initial interpretations from the data were used to continue discussions around ways to enhance student-centred curricula by listening to what girls have to say about PE. By using tweets as the data source, elements of naturally occurring talk between tweeters and their (imagined) audiences could be accessed. Tweeters’ positioning of themselves as students who love or hate PE, contributes to a cyber identity that may or may not reflect how they actually engage in PE / produce an identity as student. We raise questions around the use of Twitter as a source of an authentic voice and consider the ethical dilemmas in using Twitter as a means to understand identity construction.

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