In the 1990s, New Zealand and Australia rolled out new school physical education curriculums (Ministry of Education, 1999, 2007; Queensland School Curriculum Council, 1999) signaling a significant change in the purpose of physical education in both countries. These uniquely Antipodean1 curriculum documents were underpinned by a socially critical perspective and physical education teacher education (PETE) programs in both countries needed to adapt to prepare teachers who are capable of engaging PE from a socially critical perspective. One way they attempted to do this was to adopt what has variously been labeled critical pedagogy. Critical pedagogies as a label is something of ‘big tent’ (Lather, 1998) and this paper reports on the published attempts to operationalize critical pedagogy and its reported success or otherwise in preparing teachers for the expectations of the socially critical oriented HPE curriculum in both Australian and New Zealand.
Philpot is with the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.