Transactions in primary physical education in the UK: a smorgasbord of looks-like-sport
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AbstractBackground: Crum proposes the term ‘movement culture’ as a means to best understand the relationships between PE and wider movement practices. Learning within movement culture is practical and embodied, and integral to the cultural and institutional contexts within which PE is situated. Purpose: Using visual data gathered from PE lessons within a UK primary school this paper aims to identify movement cultures across the observed PE lessons, and understand how these movement cultures are shaped and maintained by analysing how teachers and pupils' actions-in-on-going-events make the movement cultures something ‘in-common’. Participants, research design and data collection: A mixture of Year 5 and 6 PE lessons were video recorded within a primary school in the West Midlands. Careful attention was paid to the ethical considerations involved in the collection and storage of the data. Data analysis: By dissolving the dualism between an individual and their environment, Dewey and Bentley's (1949/1991) transactional theory of learning supports an analysis of action in context. Application of this theory enables the researcher to explore actions-in-on-going activities and understand how this action shapes the movement culture within which it occurs. In this process we did not use theory to deduce the participants' intentions or potential changes in their cognitive structures; rather it was the functions' actions constituted in the observed situation, which lead the analysis. Findings: The existence of a multi-activity idea of sampling different sports within this study of primary PE amounted to eating from a smorgasbord where the flavours of the dishes initially looked different, but actually tasted the same. Each dish was differentiated by the use of contrasting equipment, physical locations and named activities. In reality what was realised was a diluted, repetitive and overriding flavour of looks-like-sport. Pupils were tasked with actions which functioned to produce a stage managed show of controlled activity. This was supplemented by their compliance to strict behaviour codes and by attempting to make highly cooperative tasks and games work. This was aided by the adoption and acceptance of different roles. Succeeding within this movement culture demanded an implicit understanding of the need to coordinate actions with others cooperatively. Conclusions: The standout flavour within this smorgasbord involved gymnastics, where the removal of competition and provision of space for pupils to re-actualise their knowledge, created an interesting blend of pupil engagement, sustained physical activity, creativity, inclusion and cooperation. These interesting flavours may have been curtailed by a need to replicate movements acceptable to doing gymnastics-for-real and suggests that other forms of looks-like-sport may have the potential to elicit similar action. Continued investigation of the directions of actions-in-context-in-PE-settings would aid our understanding of the creation, nature and reproduction of learning experiences within this looks-like-sport movement culture. More specifically, analysis of the educational content and pedagogy of the recorded PE lessons within this school would support our understanding of how teachers and pupils negotiate the complex mix of educational, sport and health discourses that constitute the looks-like-sport movement culture.
CitationWard, G., Quennerstedt, M. (2014) 'Transactions in primary physical education in the UK: a smorgasbord of looks-like-sport', Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 21 (2) pp. 137-152 doi: 10.1080/17408989.2014.923991
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy