“Now, I’m Magazine Detective the Whole Time”: Listening and Responding to Young People’s Complex Experiences of Popular Physical Culture

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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Popular physical culture serves as a site, subject and medium for young people’s learning (Sandford & Rich, 2006) and impacts their relationship with physical education, physical activity and the construction of their embodied identities. This paper addresses the potential of scrapbooking as a pedagogical and methodological tool to facilitate physical education researchers and teachers to listen to, and better understand and respond to extend students’ existing knowledge of, and critical engagement with popular physical culture. The data draws from a three year Participatory Action Research project that was undertaken in an urban, secondary school and was designed to engage 41 girls (aged 15–19) in understanding, critiquing and transforming aspects of their lives that influenced their perspectives of their bodies and their physical activity and physical education engagement. In this paper the focus is on the engagement of eleven of these girls in a five week popular physical culture unit. The students’ scrapbooks, audio-recordings of classes, a guided conversation, and field notes constitute the data sources. Findings suggest scrapbooking has the potential to allow researchers access, understand and respond to students’ perspectives on popular physical culture and their lives in a way that other methods may not. Pedagogically, scrapbooking supported students in critically appraising and making meaning of “scraps” of popular physical culture.

Enright was previously with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, and is now with the School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Australia. O’Sullivan is with the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.

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