Exploring the challenge of curriculum change

I owe my former colleague Russell brown a huge 'thank you'. It was Russell, who after watching my uni curriculum studies practical teaching for a couple of years said to me, you say you are teaching the PE students how to do a game sense approach, but you are doing more than that. You need to call it something else. That conversation led me to a couple of other conversations with Russell that considered that I had 'mashed together' elements of sport education with the game sense approach, but was also throwing in biomechanics and skill acquisition to teach about movement. Borrowing from multi-literacy theory and an Arnoldian philosophy of PE, 'Sport literacy' was the idea about the work that I came up with.

I decided to research whether the pedagogical idea I was teaching in PETE had a chance of shifting what Russell called the 'hegemonic practice', of direct instruction of and for sport performance. I thought PETE students on placement might be able to impact in service teacher thinking with their new knowledge. First of all, I had to understand the 'hegemonic convention' if I wanted to tackle it. That led eventually to this paper, exploring the challenges in physical education curricula.

Now I understood that there was recent history of challenging the 'hegemonic practice' that I was entering by proposing sport literacy for sport teaching in PE. My research was showing PETE student receptiveness to the idea of sport literacy as education in, through and about sport, but would they be able to have a go at design and implementation on placements to extend their at uni micro teaching and work simulated learning opportunities?... and, would in-service teachers be receptive to the ideas? That data from my thesis was presented in this paper: rethinking sport teaching in PE.

So now, I understood the difficulty of diffusion of pedagogical innovation from incubation to 'everyday reality'. Although I had offered a new pedagogical model and thus had entered the 'world' of advocacy of models based practice in PE, I was coming to understand what Steve Stolz and I would later call the interpretative pragmatics of the PE teacher. This pragmatic stance of the PE teacher was further revealed when Steven and I did a project looking at teachers familiarity of assumptions of the Australian Curriculum for HPE during its familiarisation phase, the outcomes of the study summarised here:

I got distracted from researching sport literacy as a models based practice for the focus area of games and sport in PE by other projects, since my PhD. I think the concept of sport literacy would work well with a thematic curriculum focus (themes: education in sport, education through sport, education about sport) and concept based learning. If the idea interests you, please let me  know, and maybe we can get a project underway -


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