Reforming curricula from the outside-in

Dawn Penney, Stephen Mitchell

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    The starting points for this chapter are some of the characteristics of contemporary curriculum reform in physical education (PE) that other chapters in this part have touched on. In particular, the chapter engages with the growing complexity of ‘the curriculum space’ that is associated with PE in schools and the increasing influence and involvement of government and other organisations in shaping the direction and momentum of curriculum reform. Put simply, the chapter reflects that in many instances, very significant pressures, investment and impetus for changes to the experiences that are provided in PE curriculum time are coming from sources other than national, state or local education authorities. We direct attention to a body of research that has sought to better understand the influence of so-called ‘external’ organisations and initiatives that have emerged from various health, physical activity and sport interests and policy imperatives. The chapter recognises that curriculum reform may not be an explicit intention of many of the agencies and organisations that offer ‘physical education’ services and resources to schools. We contend, however, that reform is an important, albeit subtle effect of changing models of provision of PE, physical activity and sport in schools. Hence, the chapter explores ways in which contemporary political and policy dynamics are influencing developments in official policy and in the pedagogical practice of ‘physical education curriculum’ (see also Jess & Gray, Chapter 10). It also provides further insight into teachers’ positioning and influence in curriculum reform (as discussed by Petrie, Chapter 12) and pursues the implications of the developments described in relation to concerns for equity and inclusion in PE (see Wilkinson, Chapter 13), and for enhanced ‘quality’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Physical Education Pedagogies
    EditorsCatherine D Ennis
    Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Print)9781138820999
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge International Handbooks

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