UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Moving pleasure in secondary school physical education Train, Peter


There is a dearth of research investigating the emotional experiences of students (Pope, 2005) in secondary school physical education and a “deafening silence” (Booth, 2009) regarding the essential role pleasure may play in physical education. Pringle (2010) underscores the potential educational value of “movement pleasure” and this hermeneutic inquiry responds to his call for educators to better understand the way pleasure is socially constructed and managed in their practices. To further understanding of pleasure I draw upon Epicurean philosophy (a practical way of living Life) and apply it to my practice as a secondary school physical education teacher. I create an alternative open framework through which to view events and the experience of curriculum posing the question, “In what ways might a pursuit of pleasure influence curriculum and pedagogy in secondary school physical education?” Epicurean hermeneutic inquiry is the means used to understand student experiences of secondary school physical education. On a weekly basis students share journal entries of their experiences of physical education subsequently unfolding conversations which inform and lead my practice. I concomitantly write my own field notes during and after each physical education class that I later rewrite after reading the students journals and talking with them about their feelings. While studying and drawing from Epicurean philosophy a way of living curriculum in relation to pleasure and happiness (Eudaimonia) I attempt to deepen my understanding of the emotional experiences students encounter in physical education. For example, in one Grade 9 class, I keep close track of and respond to a conversation with one student who is interested in easing the suffering of students who have negative experiences in physical education. The inquiry highlights the influence an embodied and scholarly pursuit of pleasure has on the way curriculum is lived and the tension that exists between natural desires that young people have to move for pleasure (freedom, joy, exultation, and delight) and the developmental lens through which I, as a physical educator, tend to view movement. It provides an alternative and emergent curricular pathway for educators who are interested in investigating the value of “pleasure based physical education.”

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