Shades of criticality in health and wellbeing education

Nis Langer Primdahl, Alan Reid, Venka Simovska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Perspectives and approaches to health and wellbeing education vary considerably over time and space even as certain contextual and critical features may be maintained. Through an analysis of a range of studies published in the Journal of Curriculum Studies, we illustrate what unites as much as divides various positions taken by their authors through a focus on which assumptions they proceed from, those they may seek to problematise, and which they try to rework through their scholarship. Our analysis centres on two key questions: (a) the critical question of health education, and (b) the question of critical health education. To advance our analysis, we draw on insights from critical literature review techniques and the need to problematise research topics and assumptions that frame and guide their selection and investigation. Key outcomes include six thematic categories and the key parameters for identifying various degrees of light and shade to the criticality within these studies, including their thresholds. We conclude with a reflection on the significance of determining the object of critique during curriculum studies, and the continuing need to inquire into, rather than bypass, what counts as critical in health and wellbeing education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-753
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Curriculum Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • critical
  • curriculum
  • Health education
  • schools
  • wellbeing

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