With the best of intentions: A critical discourse analysis of physical education curriculum materials

Tony Rossi, Richard Tinning, Louise McCuaig, Karen Sirna, Lisa Hunter

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Much of physical education curriculum in the developed world and specifically in Australia tends to be guided in principle by syllabus documents that represent, in varying degrees, some form of government education priorities. Through the use of critical discourse analysis we analyze one such syllabus example (an official syllabus document of one of the Australian States) to explore the relationships between the emancipatory/social justice expectations presented in the rubric of and introduction to the official syllabus document, and the language details of learning outcomes that indicate how the expectations might be satisfied. Given the complexity and multilevel pathways of message systems/ideologies we question the efficacy of such documents oriented around social justice principles to genuinely deliver more radical agendas which promote social change and encourage a preparedness to engage in social action leading to a betterment of society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Teaching in Physical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Emancipatory politics
  • Hegemony
  • Ideology
  • Social justice

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