Turning Phys Ed on its head


Dr Seth Brown is hoping his book will
instigate creative thought processes
in physical education teachers.

A new book could change physical educators’ way of thinking. Or rather that is the hope of Dr Seth Brown author and editor of Issues and Controversies in Physical Education: Policy, Power and Pedagogy.

Dr Brown is a senior lecturer in the College of Education. He has conducted intensive research on many issues in health and physical education.

He says general perceptions on controversial topics such as the obesity epidemic, healthism and young peoples’ disengagement with physical activity are turned upside down by the international perspectives contained in the book.

Issues and Controversies in Physical Education: Policy, Power and Pedagogy also showcases the unique views from New Zealand physical education teacher educators.

“The book helps teaching professionals reflect on, and challenge themselves in, their daily practice in health, physical education, outdoor education, sport and recreation,” says Dr Brown.

The book was launched last month by Associate Professor Ian Culpan in Methven at the Physical Education New Zealand conference; Dr Brown has also been invited to launch the book at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference in November.

Dr Brown believes physical activity should be a pleasure, rather than a chore for increased adherence.

“Physical educators have had to legitimise themselves through science determining why we should do things and the mechanics of it all, rather than the pleasure of participating in physical activity” he says.

This book challenges readers to consider the role and purpose of physical education for today’s youth. “For example, why are schools often the sites of health promotion policy implementations; whose interests are privileged when agendas like obesity-reduction are taken up in schools; and should feelings, desires, aesthetics, emotions and pleasure be part of how we understand the importance of being physically active?”

The book tackles a wide range of issues in physical education, health, sport, recreation and outdoor education from interrogating public health policies to examining the interrelationships between students, teachers and the learning environment and their influence on teaching and learning.”

“It gets right to the heart of the issues in physical education, challenging the readers’ assumptions about teaching and learning.”

He hopes that the book will become part of the reading list for tertiary papers.

“It covers a broad range of teaching perspectives and can be used widely in universities, polytechs and recreation industries, including outdoor education.”

It is divided into three parts; policy, power and pedagogy, and in each part contributors relate their research, or areas of interest, to practical examples of teaching.

Dr Brown believes current and future physical educators will find the book will enhance their understanding of the major issues and controversies in the field of physical education.


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