Introducing Torres Strait Island dance to the Australian high school physical education curriculum

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Abstract

This study was carried out within the context of a requirement for every Australian Capital Territory Education and Training Directorate (ACT ETD) high school to include Indigenous perspectives across all areas of the curriculum. For the first time ever in the case study school reported in this article, two Torres Strait Island dances were taught to students from Year 7 to Year 9. Traditionally dance within Physical Education (PE) in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has been informed by British and American influences. This paper seeks to problematize the inclusion of Indigenous dance into a Westernized PE curriculum and considers the challenges faced by non-Indigenous Health and Physical Education (HPE) teachers in relation to this, as well as what support is available. It is argued from the findings of this study that it is possible for schools to move beyond traditional PE content and include Indigenous perspectives in a non-tokenistic way. However, it is also argued that such an approach requires Indigenous people to have a central role, and for non-Indigenous teachers to challenge taken for granted mainstream Westernized and racialized teaching practices and discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-318
Number of pages14
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Education
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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education curriculum
dance
physical education
school
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teaching practice
health promotion
inclusion
curriculum
discourse
education
student

Cite this

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abstract = "This study was carried out within the context of a requirement for every Australian Capital Territory Education and Training Directorate (ACT ETD) high school to include Indigenous perspectives across all areas of the curriculum. For the first time ever in the case study school reported in this article, two Torres Strait Island dances were taught to students from Year 7 to Year 9. Traditionally dance within Physical Education (PE) in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has been informed by British and American influences. This paper seeks to problematize the inclusion of Indigenous dance into a Westernized PE curriculum and considers the challenges faced by non-Indigenous Health and Physical Education (HPE) teachers in relation to this, as well as what support is available. It is argued from the findings of this study that it is possible for schools to move beyond traditional PE content and include Indigenous perspectives in a non-tokenistic way. However, it is also argued that such an approach requires Indigenous people to have a central role, and for non-Indigenous teachers to challenge taken for granted mainstream Westernized and racialized teaching practices and discourses.",
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AB - This study was carried out within the context of a requirement for every Australian Capital Territory Education and Training Directorate (ACT ETD) high school to include Indigenous perspectives across all areas of the curriculum. For the first time ever in the case study school reported in this article, two Torres Strait Island dances were taught to students from Year 7 to Year 9. Traditionally dance within Physical Education (PE) in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has been informed by British and American influences. This paper seeks to problematize the inclusion of Indigenous dance into a Westernized PE curriculum and considers the challenges faced by non-Indigenous Health and Physical Education (HPE) teachers in relation to this, as well as what support is available. It is argued from the findings of this study that it is possible for schools to move beyond traditional PE content and include Indigenous perspectives in a non-tokenistic way. However, it is also argued that such an approach requires Indigenous people to have a central role, and for non-Indigenous teachers to challenge taken for granted mainstream Westernized and racialized teaching practices and discourses.

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