Embedding Indigenous content in Australian physical education - Perceived obstacles by health and physical education teachers

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This paper is about teacher perceptions of Indigenous content in physical education (PE). The research question being: What obstacles if any do Health and Physical Education (HPE) teachers experience in including Indigenous mention in PE? Individual and group interviews were used to collect data from executive and classroom HPE teachers as well as Indigenous Education Officers (IEOs) at three government high schools in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Figurational sociology was used to interpret the findings drawing upon the notion of relative power (Elias, 1998) in particular. Busy roles, limited resources and a shortage of time were given as reasons why teachers rarely taught Indigenous content. Those teachers reported that they required professional learning to meet what they considered to be a new requirement (to include Indigenous mention) in their lessons. Teacher perceptions of obstacles meant that the cultural richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was excluded in their teaching. Such an omission thereby limits the cultural and historical knowledge base that underpins the key idea of ‘value movement’ in the Australian Curriculum Health and Physical Education (AC HPE) (ACARA, 2015). Given the nature of the findings this article is relevant to primary, middle and senior years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-137
Number of pages14
JournalLearning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social contexts
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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