Is physical education relevant? Interpersonal skills, values and hybridity Research Completed


Is physical education relevant? Interpersonal skills, values and hybridity

Lead Author

Katie Fitzpatrick , Clive Pope


The University of Waikato

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The ACHPER Healthy Lifestyles Journal


Katie Fitzpatrick Clive Pope cpope©


Discussion surrounding the relevance of the document Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum has focused on a range of areas. While some writers claim it has the potential to be emancipatory and the inclusion of interpersonal skills and values is important and meaningful, others have levelled criticisms that the document is trying to do too much and has a middle class agenda. This article reports part of the findings of a small study which explored how some Maori and Pasifika students viewed their experiences of physical education in one major urban New Zealand high school. The experiences of these students are related to Besley’s notion of hybridity. Her argument suggests that young people actively negotiate and make critical decisions about what they think is relevant to them. The students believed physical education has provided them with opportunities to develop and practice care for others and to learn and apply interpersonal skills as well as to gain confidence and apply their skills in situations outside the school setting. The study argues the need for curriculum to connect with the wider lives of students and any degree of connection can only occur if students are given a voice in the curriculum implementation process.

Keywords:interpersonal competence, leadership, Maori people, Pacific Islanders, physical education, student attitudes, values



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July 10, 2014

Last Modified

July 16, 2014