Incidences of Student Support for and Resistance to a Curricular Innovation in High School Physical Education

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 University of Southampton
  • 2 The Ohio State University
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While there have been frequent calls for reform in secondary physical education, little research has focused on the implementation and assessment of curriculum from the perspective of students. Drawing upon the theoretical frame of student resistance, the purpose of this study was to describe how high school students demonstrated support for and resistance to implementation of a 20- day curricular initiative termed a Cultural Studies unit. This approach consists of an integrated practical and theoretical study of sport and physical activity. Data were collected through student focus group interviews, student journals, nonparticipant observations, and informal conversations. Students responded favorably to the principles of Sport Education and the opportunities to critique issues of social justice. Such content was considered appropriate for physical education. Resistance to some aspects of the unit was both overt and covert. Meticulous and careful planning of content and choice of pedagogy to facilitate delivery is crucial to positioning a Cultural Studies unit in a high school program.

Gary D. Kinchin is with the Research and Graduate School of Education, Univ. of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, S017 2BJ England; Mary O’Sullivan is with the College of Education, 149 Arps Hall, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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