Interpretation and enactment of Senior Secondary Physical Education: pedagogic realities and the expression of Arnoldian dimensions of movement

Trent D. Brown, Dawn Penney

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    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: New curriculum developments present opportunities for established thinking and practice in physical education to be reaffirmed or challenged in government, professional and institutional arenas. The introduction of a new official text for the Victorian Certificate of Education Physical Education [VCEPE] in 2011 provided a prompt for renewed debate about the ways in which ‘multiple ways of knowing' could prospectively find expression in senior secondary physical education. Previous analysis of the new VCEPE official text and associated assessment requirements led to a prediction that a theoretical–practical binary may well be reaffirmed amidst implementation of the new course in schools, such that senior secondary physical education (SSPE) in Victorian schools may remain an essentially propositional/theoretical subject. Purpose: This paper reports on research that has pursued this prediction and specifically explored the expression of Arnold's three dimensions of education in, through and about movement, in teachers’ interpretation and enactment of the new VCEPE Study Design. The research sought to pursue the potential for originality and creativity in SSPE amidst the introduction of a new official curriculum text, examine factors facilitating or limiting this and document the ‘pedagogic realities’ of SSPE in Victorian schools. Methodology: The study used a case study approach, involving two government and two independent secondary schools in Victoria, Australia. Data gathered from teacher interviews, classroom observations and documentary sources in 2012–2013 are reported. Analysis pursued internal and external factors framing the curriculum and pedagogical practices prominent in enactment of the new course in the case study schools, and the individual and collective representation of Arnold's three dimensions of movement in the schools’ curriculum and teachers’ pedagogical practices. Findings: The findings reveal complexities and tensions associated with the representation of new curriculum policy in school curriculum and teachers’ pedagogic practices. Attention is drawn to ways in which the interplay between official texts, accompanying assessment requirements, other professional texts and the wider educational context variously shape the ‘pedagogic realities’ of the VCEPE in practice. The discussion explains how this interplay influences (and limits) the expression of Arnold's dimensions in VCEPE. Implications: This paper reaffirms previous work in SSPE that has highlighted the need for conceptual coherence between curriculum texts and assessment frameworks. This research directs attention to opportunities for development of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, through both official and professional channels, in ways that facilitate teachers’ professional learning about the potential expression of Arnold's dimensions in VCEPE. It also calls for curriculum authorities, professional learning associations and teacher education institutions to work more coherently to be at the fore of thinking about pedagogic possibilities in senior secondary physical education.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)121-136
    Number of pages16
    JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017


    • Arnold
    • assessment
    • curriculum
    • examination PE
    • pedagogy
    • Physical education
    • senior secondary physical education (SSPE)

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