The changing value of vigorous activity and the paradox of utilising exercise as punishment in physical education
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
- Artikler / Articles 
Original versionPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy. 2017, 22, 490-501. 10.1080/17408989.2016.1268590
Background: Previous research on physical education (PE) teaching practice indicates that an exercise physiology discourse has assumed a dominant position within the field. Research shows that PE teachers are likely to emphasise physical fitness training in their teaching, and PE teachers seem to appreciate pupils who show high levels of physical exertion. Purposes: Our aim is to examine how vigorous activity/exercise is represented in the practice of PE teaching. We will also examine teaching as a discursive practice, and thereby contribute to a critical perspective on PE pedagogy. Research design: This study was conducted in four upper secondary schools in Oslo, Norway. Data material was produced through fieldwork, during which we observed 92 PE lessons. Additionally, we conducted qualitative interviews with the eight teachers who participated in the study. Our methodological framework was discourse analysis. Findings: Our material shows that vigorous activity plays a complex role in PE class: it can be beneficial, but it can also be punitive. The PE teachers we observed drew on an exercise physiology discourse to portray vigorous activity/exercise as beneficial and valuable to the promotion of pupils’ physical fitness and health. However, the teachers also drew on a military discourse when assigning vigorous activity to rebuke a disobedient pupil. The teachers also introduced vigorous activity in the form of additional exercise ‘punishment’, which they assigned to losers in competitive activities. In these instances, the teachers drew on exercise physiology and sports discourses. Thus, we identified how vigorous activity changed value according to context, and discuss how teachers’ use of vigorous activity as punishment can seem paradoxical in a PE setting. Conclusion and recommendation: Our study indicates that, rather than adhering to modern educational practices, PE is rooted in ideas and practices derived from military, sports and exercise physiology discourses. PE teachers inculcated with these discourses have limited ability to discern the paradox of assigning vigorous exercise to their pupils as both a high-value activity and a punishment. PE Teacher Education should therefore problematise how teaching practice is influenced by these discourses, and facilitate discussions on how such discourses constitute PE.
I Brage finner du siste tekst-versjon av artikkelen, og den kan inneholde ubetydelige forskjeller fra forlagets pdf-versjon. Forlagets pdf-versjon finner du på tandfonline.com / In Brage you'll find the final text version of the article, and it may contain insignificant differences from the journal's pdf version. The definitive version is available at tandfonline.com