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Touching the didactic contract: a student perspective on intergenerational touch in PE
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences.
School of Health and Education, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden.
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. (SMED, RISPA)
2017 (English)In: Sport, Education and Society, ISSN 1357-3322, E-ISSN 1470-1243Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

A growing anxiety around intergenerational touch in educational settings has both emerged and increased in recent years. Previous research reveals that Physical Education (PE) teachers have become more cautious in their approaches to students and they avoid physical contact or other behaviour that could be regarded as suspicious (Fletcher, 2013; Öhman, 2016; Piper, Garratt, & Taylor, 2013). Some also feel anxious about how physical contact might be perceived by the students. The purpose of this article is to investigate physical contact between teachers and students in PE from a student perspective. This is understood through the didactic contract. For this purpose, focus group interviews using photo elicitation have been conducted with upper secondary school students in Sweden. One of the major findings is that intergenerational touch is purpose bound, that is, physical contact is considered relevant if the teacher has a good intention with using physical contact. The main agreements regarding physical contact as purpose bound are the practical learning and emotional aspects, such as learning new techniques, preventing injury, closeness and encouragement. The didactic contract is in these aspects stable and obvious. The main disagreements are when teachers interfere when the students want to feel capable or when teachers interfere when physical contact is not required in the activity. In these aspects the didactic contract is easily breached. It is also evident that personal preference has an impact on how physical contact is perceived. In conclusion, we can say that physical contact in PE is not a question of appropriate or inappropriate touch in general, but rather an agreement between the people involved about what is expected. Consequently, we should not ban intergenerational touch, but rather focus on teachers’ abilities to deal professionally with the didactic contract regarding physical contact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2017.
Keywords [en]
Intergenerational touch, physical education, student perspective, didactic contract, physical contact
National Category
Social Sciences Pedagogy Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-62117DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2017.1346600OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-62117DiVA, id: diva2:1154489
Projects
“Don’t touch! – Pedagogical consequences of the ‘forbidden’ body in Physical Education”Available from: 2017-11-02 Created: 2017-11-02 Last updated: 2018-11-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Intergenerational touch in PE: a student perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intergenerational touch in PE: a student perspective
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis takes its point of departure in the research field of intergenerational touch in Physical Education (PE). Previous research in the field have mainly been conducted from a teacher’s perspective and has shown that teachers of PE have become more cautious about using physical contact in recent years. The reasons for this more cautious attitude concerning physical contact is above all, the risk f being falsely suspected of sexual harassment. Previous research has, in a general way, also shown that physical contact in PE is a gendered issue with heteronormative points of departure The overall aim of this thesis is to investigate intergenerational touch in PE from a student perspective. More specifically the aims are to investigate physical contact between teachers and students in PE from a student perspective (paper I), and to investigate which discursive resources students draw on to conceptualize physical contact between teacher and student in PE in relation to heteronormativity (paper II). Six focus group interviews using photo elicitation have been conducted with students at an upper secondary school in Sweden. In paper I it is the concept of the didactic contract that is the theoretical starting point. The results show that, generally, the students support physical contact as a pedagogical tool if the physical contact has a good purpose according to the students. An implicit didactic contract is formed when student and teacher agree on when, how or why physical contact is used as a pedagogical tool. In paper II, the theoretical inspiration comes from Foucault and his work with discourses. The results show that the students’ talk is colored by the heteronormative discourse in society. This is especially expressed when young female students talk about male PE teachers. Heteronormativity is taken for granted and is not really challenged. Students generally support physical contact as a pedagogical tool in PE, however it is a very complex issue and puts high demands on PE teachers’ professionalism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2018. p. 55
Series
Örebro Studies in Sport Sciences, ISSN 1654-7535 ; 10
Keywords
Intergenerational touch, Physical Education, PE, student perspective, didactic contract, heteronormativity
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-70140 (URN)
Presentation
2018-09-27, Örebro universitet, Hörsal G, Gymnastikhuset, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-12 Created: 2018-11-12 Last updated: 2018-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Caldeborg, AnnicaÖhman, Marie

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