Exploring a pedagogy for meaning-making in physical education

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This paper responds to calls for an exploration into pedagogies of meaning within physical education. Developing meaningful educational experiences in physical education for lifelong movement involves supporting students to explore their personal experiences in movement and to use these to derive a greater understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. Following a brief overview of the role of meaning-making in physical education, a case study is offered as a practical example for how reflection can be utilised to explore movement as meaningful. The case study presents a series of steps that provide detail about a meaning-making process undertaken during a physical education class. Data suggest that setting aside time for reflection and the generation of rich movement narratives aligned to a ‘first rush of movement’, can shed light on what students find meaningful ‘in’ movement in ways that link physical education to experiences across varying social and environmental contexts. Through giving priority to bodily understandings of movement as felt, sensory experience, participants (n = 44) were able to express meaning across a wide range of movement contexts. I contend that the exploration of student meaning in physical education is engaging, informative, and serves to extend possibilities for what curriculum is seen as legitimate in physical education by/for whom. The paper sheds light on the use of embodied meaning-making stories as a potential springboard for further exploration and activity in physical education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1109
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • narrative
  • schools
  • Physical education
  • meaning
  • embodied
  • experience

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