'Running in circles': Children's lessons in PE, fitness and fatness

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dc.contributor.advisor Pringle, R en
dc.contributor.advisor Fitzpatrick, K en
dc.contributor.author Powell, Darren en
dc.date.accessioned 2011-02-24T23:52:10Z en
dc.date.issued 2010 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/6446 en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Current concerns about an alleged childhood obesity crisis and children’s physical (in)activity levels have combined to justify fitness lessons as a physical education practice in New Zealand primary schools. Research concerning children’s understandings of fitness lessons, reveals that they construct fitness as primarily related to a quest for an „ideal‟ (skinny or muscular) body. The conflation of fitness with thinness, however, is complex and problematic. In this research I used a visual methods approach to examine six primary school Children’s responses from photo elicitation interviews. I drew on Foucault’s notion of discourse/power and his conceptualisation of govern mentality to examine how six children experienced fitness lessons and constructed notions of fitness, health, self and the body. Results illustrated that the children made few links between fitness lessons and health or fitness lessons and learning. Their responses signified a constant tension between fitness lessons as fun and fitness lessons as overly repetitive and tiring. However, they drew on obesity discourses which link fitness lessons, as a means to lose fat and/or increase muscles. In accepting the obesity discourses as „true‟, the children monitored, judged and moralised bodies and behaviours in dichotomous ways: fit or unfit, skinny or fat, active or lazy. They assumed that fitness lessons increased fitness, and that being fit „improved‟ their corporeal appearance. I coined the term COPE (Corporeal Orientated Physical Education) to highlight how such practices focus exclusively on the body at the expense of critical and holistic learning. I concluded that children’s subjectivities were potentially shaped via fitness lessons in a manner that can result in social stigmatisation, dissatisfaction with bodies, and potentially disordered exercising and eating. In this light, I encourage teachers and researchers to critically reflect on the assumption that physical activity should focus on body size, shape and weight over pleasure, relevance and learning. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99215762314002091 en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title 'Running in circles': Children's lessons in PE, fitness and fatness en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Education en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: the author en
pubs.author-url http://hdl.handle.net/2292/6446 en
pubs.elements-id 206517 en
pubs.org-id Education and Social Work en
pubs.org-id Curriculum and Pedagogy en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2011-02-25 en

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