Physical education teacher education on the education market - who's defining what physical education teachers need to know?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Artikler / Articles 
Original versionPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy. 2010, 15(3), 227-241
Background: A major consequence of the neo-liberal ideology underpinning recent reforms in higher education in the Western world has been the signiﬁcant increase in the competitiveness of institutions to recruit students in the marketplace of education and to keep them. Accordingly bachelor degrees relating to physical education teacher education (PETE) at Norwegian university colleges are being adapted and developed in order to appeal to today’s market – conscious, educational consumers interested not only in PETE, but also in a physically active lifestyle, sports and outdoor pursuits. Purpose: This study problematizes how the awareness and logic of the marketplace act in the social construction of PETE curricula and content. The paper asks to what degree programs within Norwegian PETE are more a reﬂection of surviving in the education marketplace than of meeting the needs of physical education teachers in the knowledge society? Applying Bernstein’s theoretical framework and terms, I intend to analyze how a regulated market in the national context of higher education forms the conditions for production, reproduction and transformation of PETE knowledge. Participants and setting: Four Norwegian university colleges in the ﬁeld of physical activity (sport sciences, outdoor pursuits and PETE) comprise the ‘purposeful sample’. Research design: The qualitative study applies Bernstein’s conceptual framework for analyses of conditions for production, reproduction and transformation of knowledge to explore how some forms of knowledge become more valued than others, and asks who and what, are deﬁning what is seen as important content knowledge in PETE. Data collection: Data were collected via higher education policy documents, PETE curricula, the university colleges’ information texts on their websites, institutional education policy texts and program guides. Data analysis: By using a content analysis approach, discourses embedded in the texts were analyzed. In the discourse analysis what is said, not said and the discourses’ ‘surrounding texts’ in an education market, regulated by the State, have been related to Bernstein’s concepts of regulative and instructional discourse. Findings: The analysis of the texts unveils how content knowledge in PETE degrees is produced and reproduced among competing interests in the ﬁeld of sport sciences and physical activity. Data in this paper strongly indicate that recruitment and management discourses hold a strong position within the instructional discourse framing professional programs and courses in a variety of ways. The analyzed texts provide examples of how meanings and values in the education market, as raw materials within regulative discourse, underpin the university colleges’ instructional discourse. There is remarkably little evidence of discourses about essential knowledge for quality physical education (PE) teaching and learning, or PE teacher professionalism. Conclusion: Due to the increased competition for institutions to recruit and retain students, this paper problematizes how the logic of the education market contributes to the social construction of PETE curricula and content knowledge. Within the context of deregulated academic autonomy in the Norwegian higher education system, the content in PETE seems legitimated by the local institutions’ strategic moves in the market to recruit students and secure their institutions’ economic growth.
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