Inclusive Physical Education: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Ontario Secondary School Health and Physical Education Curriculum

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • | 2 School of Rehabilitation Science and Scientist, CanChild, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • | 3 Paediatrics and Scientist, CanChild, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
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Purpose: Education policies require inclusive practices across student learning environments internationally. In Canada, provinces and territories oversee their own curriculum development. This study presents a critical discourse analysis of how inclusive education is addressed within Ontario’s 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum, Grades 9–12. Method: Fairclough and Chouliaraki’s approach to critical discourse analysis, which encompasses structural, linguistic, and interdiscursive analysis, was used to show how language is interwoven within ideologies of physical education to represent inclusivity. Results: Three discourses were identified: (a) the discourse of equity and inclusion, (b) the discourse of opportunity, and (c) the discourse of positive outcomes. The curriculum reflects inclusivity through overt language and intention, holding the possibility for choice and opportunities beyond traditional notions of physical education. Discussion: Concerns included whether ideals presented in the curriculum reflect the realities of “discourse in action.” Transformative discourses within physical education should emerge from the student voice.

Selkirk (selkire@mcmaster.ca) is corresponding author.

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