Exploring the impact of curriculum change on physical education teacher’s professional identity and pre-service training: An Australian case study

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With the impending introduction of the Australian curriculum and the prospect of significant change to the structure of Health and Physical Education across Australia and individual states such as New South Wales, it is a pertinent time to examine how any significant curriculum change impacts on the professional identity of classroom teachers and consider what this means for Health and Physical Education Teacher Education providers. Any significant change is characterised by anxiety and apprehension and as such can be met with resistance, therefore before moving forward it is important to explore the impact of past change. This chapter will examine the links between the impact of curriculum change on those who engage with classroom practice and those in the influential positions of academics in the tertiary setting.In 2003 the New South Wales Board of Studies released a significantly revised Years 7-10 PDHPE syllabus. The Syllabus was unlike its predecessors as it consolidated a significant discursive shift from a dominance of the prevailing scientific, biomedical approach to a socio-culturally influenced perspective of Health and Physical Education. The discursive shift emerged from a level of dissatisfaction amongst Health and Physical Education academics in regards to health and young people (Cliff, Wright & Clarke, 2009). It has been argued that the shift in HPE towards a more socio-culturally influenced discourse was reflective of the changes evident in young people’s life circumstances and the need to provide educational programs to meet these needs (Wright, 2004).This chapter will examine how selected Health and Physical Education discourses have been perceived to impact on HPE teacher professional identity and their level of engagement with syllabus implementation. The research has been framed within the qualitative paradigm and employed a case study approach drawing on the work of Winslade (2012). Data was gathered from key government and political documents to identify discourses present within Health and Physical Education. Semi structured interviews with a sample of New South Wales Health and Physical Education teachers provided the necessary data to examine the perceived impact of curriculum discursive change on teacher identity. The findings presented as three constructed profile narratives indicate that there is a strong link between how Health and Physical Education teachers align their professional identity with their engagement levels of privileged or dominant discourse promoted within intended syllabus design and content.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical Education in Universities Researches – Best Practices – Situation
EditorsMiroslav Bobrik, Branislav Antala, Robin Pelucha
Place of PublicationBratislava
PublisherSlovak Scientific Society for Physical Education and Sport and FIEP
Pages411- 420
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9788089075911
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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