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(Re)conceptualizing Curriculum in (Physical) Education: Focused on Wellness and Guided by Wisdom Open Access


Other title
physical education
action research
wisdom traditions
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kilborn, Michelle L.
Supervisor and department
Donald, Dwayne (Secondary Education)
Melnychuk, Nancy (Secondary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Carson, Terrance (Secondary Education)
Smith, David (Secondary Education)
Halas, Joannie (University of Manitoba)
Storey, Kate (Public Health)
Department of Secondary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
It is clear to many researchers that physical education needs significant reform (Bain, 1995; Devis-Devis & Sparkes, 1999; Fernandez-Balboa, 1997; Kirk, 2010; Lawson, 2009; Tinning, 2010). While these calls for curriculum change are warranted, how we problematize the issue of curriculum needs careful consideration. It can be argued that the content of the curriculum is not the main problem for physical education; it is how the curriculum is being lived. As teachers are generally in a position of power within the student-teacher relationship, this group is most important when considering reform in physical education curriculum. Starting with the self, as teachers we must begin to ask ourselves how the very manner of our living affects our students’ health and wellbeing. My research offers a different way of thinking about physical education curriculum that incorporates the concept of currere, existential perspectives and key paradigms of wisdom traditions. I believe that these concepts are the ‘missing pieces’ in establishing a more holistic and wellness-oriented approach to physical education. These philosophical concepts point to the influence that teachers have on the lives of students and how in the very manner of their living, in their being, help students live their own lives of wellness. Additionally, I suggest that who we are as researchers and how we do inquiry are intrinsically linked to the research topic. This study was a mutual exploration of a wellness-oriented physical education program through a wisdom-guided inquiry process that weaves together the method of currere, action research, existentialism and wisdom perspectives. As the teacher and myself were co-researchers in this project, we co-constructed meaning for a common purpose: to gain a better understanding of what it means to teach a wellness-oriented physical education curriculum. Four key ideas are offered to spark further discussion within the field. Based on the inquiry process, to teach in this way it is important that you first start with the self, reconceptualize the notion of curriculum, view teaching as a way of being, and understand children as whole beings.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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